Thursday, September 22, 2011

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-statements can be programmed deeply into your mind if you repeat them several times while in a relaxed state. You might also want to combine them with a visualization process so you picture yourself achieving your goal as you reinforce it verbally with affirmations. You can also say them to yourself as you go about the day. Try saying them as you look into the mirror upon first rising in the morning and before retiring to bed. Commuting to and from school is a great time to recite affirmations, or while walking, or waiting in line at the grocery store.

One powerful way to take in positive information is to hear it from your own voice: Record a tape where you give instructions to take ten deep breaths, then repeat each of your affirmations slowly three times. You can also read any quotations from other writers that you find particularly inspirational. Then play the tape before bedtime. Your subconscious mind will likely work with this information during sleep. Also, type up your affirmations on cards and place them in strategic places around the house.

Notice the type of language you use in your conversations with People. As you talk about, say, your upcoming game, do you characterize it as a hard to win, or practicing being long and tiresome? Or do you describe it as an exciting. Try incorporating helpful affirmations into your conversations with people and notice how they tend to respond with positive statements. You can also ask others to give you affirmations (e.g. remind you that you are a capable, energetic athlete).

Now, try mentally programming your goals and make them come alive by turning them into positive self-statements. Take each one of your goals and phrase it as an affirmation. Here is an example:

Goal: To become a great shooter:
"My accuracy and rage is getting better and better each moment."
"Every day I am moving closer to my scoring goal."

Finally, you can notice how your affirmations are modeled in the environment. If, for instance, you want to shoot like Ray Allen, watch footage of his games and practice routines. Then give yourself permission to play and shoot purely like Ray Allen.

Affirmations should not be used alone to cover up a deep emotional conflict. They are best employed in conjunction with a variety of other methods. If you are feeling particularly sad or depressed, honor your feelings and take them as warning signs that something inside needs to be addressed. First take immediate steps to explore your mental state, and deal directly with the problem. You could perhaps talk to a friend, see a sports psychologist, or write out your thoughts in a journal. Once you are feeling better, then use affirmations to reinforce a foundation of inner strength that can allow you to move forward.

Remember, affirmations are essential tools to help you focus on personal strengths. Every great performance is given by an athlete who has conditioned the mind to see the possibility of achieving that performance.

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