3 ways to eliminate Negative Self Talk

Running a 4 minute mile is impossible! Or at least it was once considered to be. Then in 1954 Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3:59. Over the next 2 years, 50 other runners broke the barrier. Was it because of a new revolutionary strategy or the latest Nike running shoes? No, it was because people believed it could be done.

In order to be successful you need to be confident but no matter how much you believe in yourself, or mentally tough you are at some point you’re going to doubt your ability. So how do we combat our negative thoughts? The first step in eliminating negative self talk is to become aware of when we are having these thoughts. Next try one of these methods:

1- Thought stoppage: Once you become aware that you are being a negative Nancy, use a trigger to stop the thought such as “STOP”. Use imagery and imagine a big red stop sign. This can also be a physical trigger such as snapping one’s fingers as to “snap” your way out of it!

Countering: Build a case against your negative self talk. Similar to a job interview turn your negatives into strengths! For example: If you’re not as strong as your competitor, are there other strengths you possess such as speed or agility you can use to defeat him?

You can also do something about it! If you feel not as smart, fast, or strong as you need to be, are things within your control you can do to change your situation? If you improved your diet, sleep, work ethic or preparation would you feel more confident? Would you perform better? If the answer is yes, then get to work!

Reframing- This process creates alternate ways of looking at the world. Perhaps the reason you are having negative thoughts is because you are focused on the outcome or things outside of your control. Remember, pressure is a privilege that not everyone gets to feel. You are in a really cool spot! Instead of saying, “I have to do this” use a positive mental attitude and say, “I get to do this.” Instead of saying, “I’m nervous” reframe your thoughts and say,“ I feel excited and I’m ready!”

Every athlete hears two competing voices. One is a negative critic and the other is a positive coach. Which voice we listen to is a matter of choice. When negative thoughts enter your head ask yourself this question, “Am I thinking in a way that gives me the best chance of success? Then feed the positive dog!


The above post was found and inspired using:

Williams, J. M. & Krane, V. (2015). Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (7th Ed.)

Coach Nelson serves as a high school football coach who is pursuing his doctorate in Sport and Performance Psychology. He has worked for division 1 athletic departments, professional sport franchises, a Fortune 100 company and has won numerous awards for his Leadership abilities.

His mission is to positively influence the world through Love, Effort, Attitude and Discipline (#LEAD). To learn more about the LEAD Philosophy follow him on Twitter Levi Nelson or reach out via email at rln10@zips.uakron.edu He’d love to learn about or help you in your journey!