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Your Thoughts Are Your Destiny

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Thought stopping is a common technique used in sport psychology to help athletes refocus by eliminating negative thoughts, but have you ever considered using this method throughout your everyday life? I hadn’t. It wasn’t until about three years after I initially learned about this technique that I realized it could help me in other situations, like my social, romantic, and educational aspects of life. It all clicked during a lecture on Cognitive Behavior Therapy in my Psychology of Counseling Class this last spring.

In Cognitive Behavior therapy they break down a persons reactions into a thought process following an activating event. It looks something like this.


First a person must encounter an event to activate a response, hence the term “activating event”. Let’s say for example, you are walking through a school or work common area and a friend passes you without acknowledging you. This is the activating event. Most viciouscirclecbtpeoples’s immediate belief, or thought process, would be; “They must not like me, or they are avoiding me.” Then we react due to our belief and we suffer the consequence  of a change in mood or even a physical behavior in some situations.

In order to change the consequence outcome we must stop the original belief thought process and replace it with a new one. This is the disputing intervention. Let’s go through the scenario again using a disputing intervention. This time we pass our friend in the hallway, and again they don’t acknowledge us. First, notice your instinctual thought. (They must not like me, or they are avoiding me.) This is where the thought stopping technique comes in handy. Acknowledge the thought, and then think of a trigger word or action to cease the thoughts. Simply saying “stop” out loud can work, or try swiping your foot acrossimages-52 the ground as if you are brushing away the negative thoughts.

Now start to develop an effective philosophy. Think logically of other reasons that could have caused your friend to pass by without greeting you. Maybe they are distraught over a situation that happened earlier in the day… Maybe they are extremely busy and while running through their “To-Do List” for the day they didn’t even notice you had passed…Maybe they just simply didn’t realize it was you.

Now take these new thoughts and intertwine them into your perception of yourself, relating it not only to the initial situation but your whole persona. In this situation I would think, “I am a good friend. I am caring, loyal, and go out of my way to do things for others.” Now I can let go of the negative belief and dismiss the incident as a misunderstanding and allow myself to relish in my new positive feeling. Worthy of friendship.

images-54As human beings we take in so many incidences and allow them to serve as evidence for reasons why we should diminish our self-worth. We play them over and over in our heads and damage the image we have of ourselves. These thoughts we recite as we re-play the negative evidence become our beliefs.The more we say something to ourselves the more we believe it. Think of all the things in a day that you employ as evidence to your negative thoughts. We ingrain them into our values as we recite them over and over again. Our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions, our actions become our habits, our habits become our character, and our character becomes our destiny.  But thats the beauty in it, we can control our thoughts, and in turn decide our destiny.

Quote of the Day:

396294_313426528697317_186309574742347_939836_170420469_nWatch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. – Frank Outlaw.

Sh*t talking is effortless

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Excuse my french, but, It doesn’t take effort to “shit talk” about people like your teammates, it’s effortless.Image

When on a sports team you spend countless hours practicing with your teammates every day and can easily pick apart their personalities and tendencies finding things that are imperfect or outright annoying. Blabbing these bothersome habits to other teammates hoping to persuade them to notice the negative side of a player only fuels the irritation and does nothing constructive for yourself or the team. What does take strength is to ignore the imperfect habits of your teammates and find the piece of a person that does benefit your team; the part that makes them standout positively. Challenge yourself to embrace their strength and realize that they are a necessity to your team. Persuade your teammates to notice the positive qualities each player contributes to the team. Refusing to participate in conversations that are negative about specific players or situations makes you a better teammate and a better person. We’ve all had our moments of frustration or anger when we talk negatively about another player, but it’s never too late to make a change; don’t follow the pack, be a leader, benefit your team, don’t take the easy way out. Strive to be the best person for your team, rather than the best person on your team. Take the challenge, refuse to shit talk.

I wrote this while playing collegiate softball. I walked onto a new team with a bad habit of talking behind others backs. It was frustrating, and very unwelcoming. So I took my own challenge, to never talk badly about a teammate. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It kept me out of the drama, and focused on the field. I even had a teammate of mine tell me how inspired she was by my decision. She decided to take the challenge in her own life. I never thought I would have had such an impact on others. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

Quote of the day:

“Ask not what your teammates can do for you, ask what you can do for your teammates.” – Magic Johnson

Shake it off and Stay Positive

Playing tournament softball for 12 years of my life taught me one of my most important life lessons; to shake it off and stay positive. Playing tournament ball throughout my youth allowed me to spend my weekends playing 4-8 softball games. Over the course of a weekend tournament we would win some games and lose some games; I would play well in some games, and not so great in others. But no matter what the outcome of a game or appearance at the plate was, I was forced to shake it off and be prepared for the next game, or outing on the mound. It’s frustrating to go out and swing and miss at the last 9 pitches you’ve been thrown, or hit 4 of the last 5 batters you’ve faced, but getting angry, throwing your helmet, or crying won’t make your day any better for yourself or your team. As hard as that is to hear, it’s true. Do you think your team gets pumped up when you slam your helmet to the ground before running out to play defense? No. You just bring the rest of the team down with you and put the focus on yourself instead of the game. It may take some frustration out for you, but don’t be selfish, this is a team sport, it’s all about your team, not you. You have to learn how to constructively handle your failures. Softball is a game of failure; if you go up to the plate 10 times, get 4 hits and strike out 6 times, you are a damn good hitter. You would be batting 400. Failing is a part of this game, so learn from your failures and make an adjustment. Don’t dwell on the past, you can’t change it anyway. Instead of throwing a fit, try sprinting back to the dugout and screaming your head off for your pitcher or next batter up to the plate. This takes the focus off yourself and puts it back on to your team.  Don’t be selfish, give it all up for your team, always.

Quote of the day:

“Success is the ability to endure one failure after another with out the loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

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