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Friday, 29 March 2019 09:50

Confidence in Sport- Part 7

Written by  Iain Shippey

I have written a series of 6 articles on confidence. They are available in the archives on the website if you missed them or would like to review them.

These initial questions review the major concepts covered in the blogs.

Dig Deep by looking the mirror and asking yourself some honest questions.

  1. Have you lost confidence in your game or aspects of your game?
  2. Who can you talk to about it?
  3. Which aspect of you game can you work on to start rebuilding confidence or to take your game to another level?
  4. Have you taken responsibility for your confidence or are you guilty of blaming others or the situation?
  5. Write out a Litany for yourself.
  6. What key words excite and motivate you? Why not write them out and stick them on some of your kit or in places at home that you will see often?
  7. Where can you stretch your confidence muscle beyond sport? Is there something you can do that takes courage and guts to do?

Affirmations:

The Importance of having affirmations that you declare over your life

I have benefitted from the habit of having positive affirmations that I have declared over my life. In recent years, many people in the field of

Neuroscience have been writing about how affirmations can aid in rewiring our thinking. Australian Psychologist Alison Howarth has stated this clearly. She writes, “Basically, affirmations are any repetitive thought or belief that we tell ourselves. Some are positive and some are negative. And most of us have an abundance of the negative ones!”

Affirmations will change the shape of your brain

Luckily for geeks like me there have been some stunning advances in the study of neuroscience over the past ten years - including brain plasticity and the astounding effects of emotional intelligence. All amazing, and all confirming what us love hippies have believed for years about the huge benefits of meditation, the power of positive affirmations, and how your emotions can affect your physical health.

Brain pathways and molecules of emotions

Neuroscience sounds like a complicated beastie, but there are many ways for us to understand it and apply it to our daily lives. So, for example: thoughts travel along a pathway of neurons. As a thought travels along a pathway of neurons, it repeatedly changes form. Within a neuron, it travels as a tiny electrical charge; and when it gets handed to the next neuron on the path, it travels as a chemical transmitter. These chemical transmitters also have an emotional charge; they’ve been described as molecules of emotion. And, you guessed it, there are negative emotion molecules that make us feel bad, sad and angry (and even sick) while the positive emotion molecules give us a happy dose of endorphins.

Habitual thought patterns and hard wiring

Any thought that we ‘think without thinking’ is a habitual thought pattern: an automatic response to a situation or stimulus. The saying in neuroscience (said originally by neuropsychologist Donald Hebb as far back as 1949) is that “Neurons that fire together, bond together.”This means that a habitual response to a situation gets more and more ingrained as the neurons get more and more bonded together. This works for both the negative and the positive affirmations. Every experience, thought, emotion and physical sensation triggers a neural network of thousands of neurons.

The mind you have today is not the mind you’ll have tomorrow

The great news is that these neural networks are changing all the time. They are not fixed in time and space, they are mutable and ever-evolving. Of course, if you have repeatedly told yourself that you are unlovable, it takes more than a once-off positive affirmation to reshape that neural network. But over time, and with repetitive use of positive affirmations, you are creating new thought patterns that will change the wiring of your brain. It’s called brain plasticity and it can work for you.

One simple practice, daily in front of a mirror, is to say to your reflection “I love you, I really love you.” If saying that is too challenging, change gears and state to your reflection “I am willing to love you.” Saying this will start the process of reshaping your brain so that you can become kinder to yourself.   When you are kinder to yourself, great changes will start to manifest in your life.

Here are some affirmations you could use:

  1. I am an awesome human and some of my outstanding qualities and virtues are……..
  2. I am an amazing person to spend time with, and I add value to my peer group.
  3. I do not let labels define who I am.
  4. I practice intentionally, and every time I train I grow in strength and skill.
  5. My winning attitude is one of my greatest assets.

Write out some of your own affirmations:

1.

2.

3.

 

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