Positive Affirmations, a simple but efficient tool for Athletes
In a precedent article, I provided several suggestions for dealing with negative thoughts and self-sabotage that can arise in athletes.
Today, I would like to focus on one of them in particular, namely positive affirmations, which can also be used for other purposes, in order to give some recommendations on how to create and use them.
Positive affirmations can be used to fill the void when we have chased away negative thoughts (nature does not like emptiness and our mind cannot be without thought except for very short periods, in meditation for example), but also to change our state of mind, deep within us.
Positive affirmations look like this: a golfer who repeats to himself “I am calm and positive with every stroke”, a swimmer who says “I am powerful and fast”, a soccer player who regularly thinks: “I belong to this team ”, a tennis player who focuses on“ I have fun regardless of the competition ”, a runner who repeats to himself “ I stay positive and give everything I have” when the pain gets intense. There are a multitude of positive affirmations, which are personal and meet a specific need at a given time.
How to construct positive affirmations
Here are some suggestions on how to create positive affirmations:
– Identify what your need is: do you lack confidence, do you regularly have negative thoughts, do you need more concentration or more motivation, what quality do you want to bring to your sport experience?
– Use the present tense so that your brain treats it as a present fact and not as a hope you have for a future that might not happen
– Avoid negative phrases such as “I don’t want to crack” or “I’m not tensed” or “stop stressing”. The brain does not “process” the negative form and focuses on the subject of the sentence. If I tell you: Don’t think of a big pink elephant, stop thinking of a big pink elephant, really don’t focus on the big pink elephant! “What do you have in mind right now? A big pink elephant, indeed. So, use the positive phrase corresponding to what you want to see or feel, such as “I stay strong no matter what the situation” or “I am completely calm and relaxed”.
– Use “I” so that your affirmations apply to you personally
– Keep sentences short (a word can sometimes even be enough, such as confidence, relaxation, etc …)
– Use mood words that suggest positive emotions (enthusiastic, excited, …) that can allow you to focus on the state of mind regardless of sensations.
– Make these affirmations permanent by using for example “always” or “whatever” (“I always give my best”, “I perform at my best whatever the weather is”)
– Lastly, and perhaps most important: FEEL those words, those positive affirmations. Repeating statements you don’t believe in is counterproductive. This is why it is important that you choose your words well, in a personal way, by testing whether they resonate with you. Close your eyes and feel the reality of these words deep inside. Feel the power when you repeat to yourself “I am strong”, feel the confidence emanating from you when you repeat to yourself “I remain confident no matter what”, feel the enthusiasm when you repeat to yourself “I have fun in any situation”, feel the relaxation of your body when you repeat to yourself ‘I’m relaxed’.
What to use positive affirmations for:
Positives affirmations can be used for a great variety of objectives such as:
- (Re)build confidence
- Deal with fear and manage stress
- Improve Focus
- Accelerate technical or athletic skills learning
- Deal with pain Increase the resistance threshold during a race
- Better sleep
- Heal and recover from injuries
How to use positives affirmations
You can use positive affirmations in different ways:
- By repeating them aloud or internally
- By repeating them at certain key moments (just before a competition, during an event, when stress rises, etc.) or every day at the same time, as a routine or ritual (in the morning before starting the day, in the evening before going to bed, etc …)
- Using a single statement or a combination of several statements that complement each other.
The most important thing is that these affirmations resonate with you and that you feel an inner transformation by repeating them. Take the time, for each of them, to really feel them and not to skim over them mentally.
I have watched athletes regain tremendous confidence just by repeating positive affirmations to themselves every morning and performing at levels they doubted they could reach.
But you should also know that the effect of these positive affirmations may decrease over time (you get used to these sentences until they no longer have a significant impact) and that this does not necessarily solve everything, some blockages requiring more in-depth work.
If you are motivated to give your best and are ready to do everything to perform to your full potential whatever your sport, mental training support is strongly recommended. Fill out our contact form and a professional mental coach will get back to you very quickly. And don’t hesitate to share this article if you know of any athletes who could benefit from it.