Problem- You get negative thoughts, fears, and doubts. How do you change your stinkin thinkin? You don’t. You change your relationship to your thoughts.
I may or may not know you personally, but I do know this- you take your thoughts waaaay too seriously. Here is your cycle,
(1) you are in the middle of a match or before a match
(2) you get a negative thought (what if I lose OR I can’t do it)
(3) you begin to stress out over thought
(4) You perform worse
At what step did you go wrong? You must first know what factors are under your control and which are not. Can you control your thoughts? Yes and No. We do get automatic thoughts in my given situation, You have very little control over automatic thoughts. You have a great deal of control over your conscious thoughts. So you can battle your negative automatic thoughts with positive conscious thoughts. If you chose step 2 for where you went wrong, you are not alone. Psychologists have long waged this war too with Cognitive Therapy. It’s a winnable battle, but quite difficult because your mind is divided against itself. It is not surprising it feels like a tornado going on inside of your mind. Indeed a Civil War is occurring,
The answer is Step 3.
Old School Mentality goes further back than the Vince Lombardi era. Eastern philosophies of Mindfulness date back thousands of years and are receiving more and more scientific support today. Here, you don’t fight your thoughts of “I stink” “I cant win” Instead you accept all your thoughts. Since automatic thoughts are largely outside of your control, you realize this and you don’t take your thoughts too seriously.
There is MUCH scientific support that humans are highly biased and irrational. We are very arbitrary in our decision making and easily led astray by our emotions. We overgeneralize frequently and we can rarely see our own hypocrisy. With all this going for us, why would we ever get too stressed out over our thought?
Get in the habit of accepting all your thoughts as an involuntary reflex like a breeze the passes by your face on a hot summer day. You let it pass and then it is forgotten about and you go about your business. Your homework: take five minutes now and then another five minutes before you go to sleep. Stop what you are doing and let this sink it. This concept of not taking yourself seriously and accepting your thoughts requires some time to sink in, even though it is certainly not a new concept.