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Self-Talk: What are your thinking patterns?

Negative Thinking Patterns:

Negative thinking can affect your flow and positive mindset. It is important that you are able

to recognize your negative thoughts in order to change your thinking patterns. According to

Burton and Raedeke (2008), there are different types of distorted thinking including

irrational beliefs that may keep you from staying positively focused: 1. The Critic- this is that inner voice in your head that influences your negative thinking

(blames yourself or others, sets impossible standards, negatively compares you to others) 2. Distorted Thinking- catastrophizing (expecting the worst and exaggerating the

consequences), overgeneralization (forming conclusions based solely on one experience),

blaming (holding others responsible for negative events in your life), mustification (life should be lived according to a specific set of rules that all must follow or that things in your life have to be the way you want them to be), polarized thinking (all or nothing) 3. Irrational Beliefs- perfectionism (criticism over learning and improving), fear of failure

(concern about failing overwhelms enthusiasm to succeed), social approval (the need to

prove to others), equity (everything in life should be fair), social comparison (placing too

much importance on largely uncontrollable outcomes)

Positive Thought Patterns:

Positive thinking helps create a flow mindset by boosting confidence and maintaining an

optimistic attitude. In order to develop positive thinking patterns and to increase your


self-talk, you must become familiar with the term "smart talk". The follow strategies are what

Burton and Raedeke (2008) consider as the "smart talk commandments": 1. Be optimistic- make self-talk positive, concentrate on what you can do rather than can't, emphasize your strengths and correct weaknesses 2. Remain realistic and objective- stick to your goals and transform your thinking directly

around your goals 3. Focus on the present, not past or future- forget the "if onlys" and "what ifs" and concentrate on staying in the hear and now 4. Appreciate problems as challenges rather than threats- maintain an optimistic and

competitive outlook 5. View success as replicable and failures as surmountable- believe success is due to ability and effort, attribute failures to factors you can control (effort level, skills development, and

mental preparation) 6. Concentrate on process, not product- focus self-talk on process goals (hard work, mental preparation, skill and strategy development in order to achieve product goals) 7. Concentrate on things you can control- you can control: emotions, thoughts, and behaviors 8. Separate your performance with your self-worth- regardless of your sport performance, you have unique gifts to offer the world


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