4 Tips For Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is a great ally for athletes and can help them get through tough situations. Here, we'll give you some simple tips to keep thinking positively.
4 Tips For Positive Thinking

Last update: 26 July, 2020

In sports, positive thinking helps you to give the best version of yourself. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean that you’re negating reality or only thinking that everything is always going to be okay. It means accepting reality the way it is and being able to look optimistically to the future. You’re not overly preoccupied with errors made in the past and not overly worried about the uncertainty of the future.

Many times, the demands of a situation can overwhelm a person, and they can become inundated with negative thoughts. These thoughts can cause emotional discomfort and reduce their performance. The athlete has to be able to intervene to stop this flow of negative thoughts with a more optimistic outlook.

We can’t always control the situations we’re in, but we can control the attitude that we use to deal with difficulties. Having a positive attitude is an ability can that you can train. So in this article, we’ll give you some tips to keep in top shape.

1. Start practicing visualization

Visualization is a psychological technique that consists of creating different visual situations and scenes. This technique can be used to help learn how to confront obstacles and to increase self-confidence.

The athlete, with the help of a psychologist, will imagine different possible situations as realistically as possible. These situations could be positive or negative. For each one of these situations, they have to establish a plan of action on how to resolve this problem in the best way possible.

Boxer concentrating

In the case of negative situations, such as losing a competition or an unexpected injury, the athlete can make a list of positive thoughts to increase their mood. With this sort of preparation through simulations, a person can be prepared to confront unexpected situations.

2. Express gratitude for what you have: positive thinking

One of the more surefire ways to increase your optimism and have positive thoughts is by being thankful.  This means being grateful not only for the material things you have but also for the people around us who love us.

Often we can take for granted all that we have, and sometimes it can take losing what we have for us to realize the immense value that it deserved. A simple exercise to increase gratitude is to write down on a piece of paper ten things that you feel grateful for. These can be material things, qualities you like in yourself, or people around you. This list needs to be posted in a visible place so that you can reflect on it every day.

3. Keep negative thoughts controlled and at bay

On many occasions, the emotional block is derived from negative thoughts and not from the actual situation per se. Because of this, we have to be capable of breaking this negativity buckle and adopting positive thinking.

One of the most employed psychological techniques to control negative thoughts is the thought stop. The objective of this technique is to break the rumination and stop the negativity. Although mastering this technique requires a lot of practice, once it’s achieved, it can produce a substantial increase in a person’s quality of life.

4. Take time to breathe and clear your mind: positive thinking

The burden of a daily routine can impede the ability to take a few moments each day to relax and enjoy the peacefulness. Dedicating time to yourself and learning to disconnect is important for your physical and mental health. 

Breathing and positive thinking

When someone feels overwhelmed, their breathing becomes shorter and more superficial. Because of this, if you’re able to change your respiratory rhythm and make it slower and paused, you can increase your emotional wellbeing.

Other disciplines, such as yoga, and meditation, can also help you to feel better. These exercises not only work on your physical body, but also your mental state, and help you learn to control your breathing and your attention.

The importance of positive thinking in sports

As previously mentioned, there are situations in life that are uncontrollable and unavoidable. However, the mentality that we use to deal with these situations depends on us, and this is where we should concentrate our efforts.

Positive thinking is related to resilience, which is our ability to overcome obstacles and grow through adversity. For this reason, working on this mentality can help us reach greater stability and mental wellbeing.

Besides the tips that we’ve mentioned, changing our thoughts is no easy task. The help of a sports psychologist and internal motivation are essential elements needed to get to work.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Vassilios Papacharisis, Marios Goudas, Steven J. Danish & Yannis Theodorakis (2005) The Effectiveness of Teaching a Life Skills Program in a Sport Context, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 17:3, 247-254, DOI: 10.1080/10413200591010139
  • Kate Hays, Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard & Mark Bawden (2009) The role of confidence in world-class sport performance, Journal of Sports Sciences, 27:11, 1185-1199, DOI: 10.1080/02640410903089798

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.