State of Mind
In the last blog, we discussed that the messages you are sending to yourself (mind and body) are important. When it comes to what you say to yourself, it's not about being positive or negative, but rather thinking about the impact of your self-talk.
This is really critical in moments of low confidence or self-doubt. You may have heard that positive affirmations (positive self-statements such as "I am confident" "I can perform well" "You've got this") are a good strategy in this situation. Turns out that this might not be the best approach when you are already not in the best frame of mind (good quick read on two research studies that showed the negative effects of positive affirmations). In fact, using these positive affirmations could actually make you feel worse or at the very least distract you by keeping you focused on how you don't feel the way you should or want to.
Here's a better strategy...find the evidence! Instead of trying to convince yourself to feel a way that you really don't, dispute those negative or self-defeating thoughts by finding evidence to the contrary. Why should you believe that you should feel confident and are capable of accomplishing whatever you have set out to do? For example, have you done it before? Did you have a good week of practice? Any feedback from coaches, teammates, others important to you? Have you accomplished, mastered, or made an improvement on something else recently? Did you prepare effectively? Find some evidence and you will have an easier time of buying in to shifting to a more positive frame of mind.
Want to make this strategy really work for you? Keep an "evidence" log. Every day, few days, week, after performances, etc. jot down some specific accomplishments, things that went well, great moments, etc. This way you will have them to look back on the next time you aren't feeling confident or are doubting your capabilities!