picture of Alison Arnold
Tight Mind Monday: Turning Around A Bad Day

Tight Mind Monday: How To Turn Around A Bad Day Quickly

Oct 30, 2017

Tight Mind Monday: Turn A Bad Day Around Fast!

I once did a personal growth workshop with about 50 other people. I was standing up, crying, and talking about some of the negative chatter that was frequently running in my mind — “Am I good enough?” “Are people judging me?” For me, those questions were common. The facilitator was an old seasoned “Obi-Wan Kenobi” figure who interrupted me by saying, “Ali, go over to the mirror and tell me what you see.” One entire wall of this room was mirrored, and as I walked over to it I wondered what crazy thing he might have me do.

“Look in the mirror and tell me what you see”, he said again.

“I see my face all splotchy since I’ve been crying and all the wrinkles by my eyes,” I said.

Look again, and tell me what you see”, he said.

By this time I wanted to say the right answer. I needed to say the right answer! 

“I see a seeker. Someone that is trying to make the world a better place,” I said.

“One more time, look in the mirror and tell me what you see,” Obi-Wan said.

Perplexed I searched for what he was looking for. 

“I see someone who wants to make a difference,” I said.

He looked at me with a steadfast gaze and said, “Ali, when are you going to notice the other 49 people in the room?”

I shifted my gaze ever so slightly and saw the other 49 people at the workshop reflected in the mirror. I turned to him and said the only thing needed in that moment. The only thing that there was to say, and that was “thank you” as I walked back to my seat in the circle.

Sometimes we are so caught up in the self-centered chatter of our own minds that we are unable to be present enough to perform our best. We worry, “Is my coach going to mad at me?” or “Will I get this skill for season?” or “I better hit this one.” We worry to the point that our minds are not even connected to our bodies and we end up making mistakes, creating our worst nightmares.

This is true for coaches as well. What do we miss while our inner committee is going on and on about how slow our athletes are moving, how tired we are, or the fact that they still aren’t making that flippin’ correction?

This week is about noticing when you are stuck in the negative worries of your mind. We will train how to get out of the inside and into the outside.

Let me give you some Tight Mind Tips:

If you notice that your negative chatter is stopping you from being productive, say to yourself stop, and then notice something outside of yourself. You might just focus on the swing of the bars, listen to the rhythm of the skill you are doing echoing on the equipment, sing the song on the radio as loud as you can inside your head, or remember how much you love the people around you. Practice this every time you feel stress, fear, or frustration this week. Get out of the inside and into the outside.

Remember, when you are out of negative chatter you are going to perform better, enjoy your workout more, and who knows, maybe even notice the other 49 people in the room!

Alison Arnold, Ph.D. has been a peak performance consultant to USA Gymnastics since 1997. For more information on Doc Ali and her work, go to www.headgamesworld.com or www.headgameswebcamp.com