When I was racing as a professional triathlete, I quickly learned how to train myself “flip the switch” from the negative defeating mindset to a positive uplifting one. I learned how important it was to have a positive mindset and inner dialogue in order for me to accomplish my goals, dreams, and desires. You want your mind to be an ally and best friend, but I understand that it takes work to entice the mind to be on your side.
In fact, our brains have been hard-wired for the negative due to evolution and the need to survive. Think about it — when we were cavemen, we needed to focus on the danger around us in order to survive. If you were out thinking of happy go lucky flowers and a tiger decided to eat you for lunch, you lost. There is no evolutionary advantage to stopping to smell the roses, so we are programmed to run for our life. This leaves us with a brain that likes to focus on the negative and that negative sticks with us. So, it takes work to train our brains and mind to stay positive and feel good. But we are willing to put in this work! We all find ourselves obsessing about strange and unfavorable situations, but the trick to keeping your head above water is to play mind games to help you stay on track and engaged to lead your best life.
At the end of the day, instead of letting my mind focus on the one thing that is not working in my life, I flip the switch and concentrate on the things that I did well that day. When I was an athlete, I kept a journal — it was not so much a fitness journal, but rather, it was my Way to Go journal filled with self praises. I would pull out my journal and remember all of those positive things on the stressful night before a major race. It would help to combat the nerves, pep me up, and remind me that anything is possible!
One note — I know how hard it can be to switch your mindset and find those positives. Sometimes I had to really dig into what I did well that day, but here are some suggestions if you have had a really bad day:
1) You got up and out of bed!
2) You rushed your teeth!
3) You ate some food that nourished you!
4) You tied your shoes perfectly!
5) You smiled!
6) You shared your love with your pet!
Good luck, and have fun finding and writing down all the good things you did today. I bet you will find that it will only get easier and easier once you start to notice the little positives.
Just a reminder: I am not a neuro-scientist or brain surgeon or even someone that knows what they are talking about. I am an athlete who has used mind games to improve performance and happiness. But if it worked for me, it might just work for you!