A positive mindset comes naturally to some people and not so much for others. Positivity, especially when you have been a tennis player takes perseverance and practice and is extremely important. It was not easy to have, because unless you win a tournament every week (which is not realistic), you are losing every single week. Sometimes I had the tendency to judge a win or loss only by its result and lose focus on the journey and process. When I practiced a positive mindset more; and it doesn’t happen overnight as every situation is different, I started to feel a positive impact on my body as there was less stress on my mind - it genuinely made me feel more calm. Fortunately for me, if you are able to channel a positive mindset in the high stress situation that is professional sport, you can transfer it in everyday life. That being said, anyone can do it, it just takes time, a conscious effort, and practice.
In life, things will never always go your way, from both a big and small perspective. Every day there is more than likely to be at least one minor thing that will get you down, even if it is just for a moment, and throughout life there is likely to be numerous negative “life-experiences” that will take a larger toll on your mental wellbeing.
So what can you do to help yourself transition to a more positive mindset?
- If you have a tendency to be negative, you have to first be able to self-reflect and recognise your own patterns and then WANT to change and improve them.
- “Catch Yourself”: When you find yourself going down a negative path in your mind, you need to recognise this in the moment. This is much easier said than done, but if you are very day consciously reminding yourself to be positive, you will gradually notice more and more.
- “Reframe your Thoughts and make them positive”: When you have successfully “caught yourself” be sure to reframe those negative thoughts into positive ones. Sometimes if you find your thoughts to be extremely negative you need to counteract that with what might seem ridiculously extreme positive thoughts. But honestly, you may need to play with it and to try different ways to ultimately find what works best for you, and find the best balance for you.
- Practice in ‘insignificant moments’: by ‘insignificant moments’ I mean small daily experiences such as when you spill a drink, when there is traffic, or when you are feeling “hangry” (haha). This is so when something significant happens, you already know how best to move yourself into a positive mindset - when you are a positive person in general, it is also easier to handle things which maybe don't go your way or as you expected them to come or be better prepared for high-stress situations.
- Gratitude Journal-writing:
This is not for everyone, but I want to give another resource that may work well for you and try if you wish. There are proven benefits to spending a few minutes every day writing down some things that you are grateful for or a positive event you have experienced. You can think about it as a cookie jar, and that you are filling up the cookie jar with positive thoughts, and in those more difficult moments you can put your hand in for a treat. Research by Emmons in 2003 >> also showed that people who practiced self-gratitude felt more energized, healthier and slept better.
- Meditation Well-being:
I started to delve into how to start meditating in Start Your Journey with Meditation >>, and if you don’t already, it is a great stand-alone thing to do but also goes hand-in-hand to aid your journey to a positive mind.
According to the 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology >>, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and on average 66 days for a new habit to become natural and automatic behavior. So, as cliche as it sounds, it really is practice makes perfect, and takes time and effort to transition into a positive mindset, but it is definitely worth it. I genuinely believe that a positive mindset naturally creates positive things for you because of the energy you attract in both people and situations.
In German we have a saying: “Du siehst den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht” which is literally translated as: “you can't see the forest because of all the trees” and means that you can't see the big picture in situations, because you are too focused on the small details and blocking your mind. So don’t let those trees get in the way and enjoy the view ;) Let me know what you think and how it goes, I love hearing about each of your own journeys.