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Believe I Am

Help! I’m having negative thoughts!

Well then it is time to do some gardening (of the mind). It is time to find those weeds (negative thoughts), identify them, pull them and get them out of your beautiful garden. Have you ever known a garden that doesn’t have weeds? Its only those gardens that have a hard working gardener, one who daily monitors and fertilizes her garden who can keep the weeds at bay. 

Here’s a new spin on “positive psychology”. We say allow negative thoughts; Hear them, bring awareness to them, vocalize them, share them and then forget them. Dont hide them, dont internalize them, dont try to plant flowers on top of them. Bring them up from the deep dark soil by finding their roots. What I mean is; do not be afraid of them. Firstly check if they have a message for you, and see if you can make use of them. Is there a hidden warning? Is this negative thought an intuitive nudge to protect you or get you ready for a big event? - eg. are you prepared enough? are you organized? are you rested enough? If your negative chatter isn't serving any function but is just running rampant and sabotaging your goals well then its time to SORT IT OUT!

Free yourself 

If you are stuck in a funk, or find yourself in a negative space, here is a good exercise: 

Time yourself for 5minutes- write down all of your destructive, negative thoughts. Wallow. Let them in. Let them take over. Hear them. Recognize them. Write them down. When the 5 minutes is up, Stop. Breathe. Now look back at what your wrote. See if there is another perspective. What would you say to your friend if she said those things about herself? Now on another page- REPAIR. Write out the other perspective, find the optimistic spin on your pessimistic thought. Now, mentally (or physically) rip up the negative list & dump it in a dumpster.   (Thanks to Dr. Samantha O'Connell, Phd for the exercise) Follow Lo's Map to Believing to keep you on track:

Call on your Sisters

Gather the troops! If you can’t find the root of that weed yourself, call on your sisterhood to help you out.Next time you are on a run with your buddies, share your concerns or worries. This type of venting and social support, relieves stress and anxiety. Your close friends might have another perspective on your “negative” thought/situation, and help you find its hidden root (cause). Sometimes the world biggest problems can be solved on a run. 

Coaches Role

Another person to share your fears or negativity, is your coach (if you have one). I know a couple of AMAZING athletes who definitely adopt this type of behavior. If you were to listen to the amount of complaining and pessimism they carry on with before workouts or races, you would never believe they could be such high-achieving athletes. You'll have to find a coach willing enough to listen to B-S. These athletes externalize their negativity and don't pretend everything is always rosy in their garden (no garden is permanently free of weeds). They then get on with their work at being the best athletes they can be. Good coaches can recognize this type of personality and give the BS space to air and evaporate! Forcing an athlete like this to “only have positive thoughts” would be destructive.

Sports Psychologists

If you have a big ugly weed that you cannot face tending alone, well maybe it would be worth talking to a professional sports psychologist. They can provide a safe place to share your darkest secret, expose it, cut it up, and get it out of your otherwise beautiful garden. When all else fails- Call on the professionals!

Lighten your load. Try your best to pull those weeds as they arise, but if there too many and they start to run rampant, get help from your friends. If the weeds are still too out of control and hard to dig up and move out, get the help of a professional.

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious
- Carl Jung.

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Written by Róisín McGettigan — April 14, 2012

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