When you hear the word practice, what do you think about?
Do you hear your parents saying, “Keep practicing” Or your grandparents saying “practice makes perfect?” Or how about one of the many awesome quotes about practicing like, “There is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory.” – unknown author.
What do YOU do when you want to be good at something? Practice right?
What if you wanted to get good at shooting a 3 point basket in basketball? YOU PRACTICE! Kids know this, they spend hours on the court, trying to get a basket from every angle… sometimes they practice alone, sometimes with friends, and even when they are in a game and the last 10 seconds are on the clock and they have the chance to make the winning basket… that’s still practice. We can learn a lot from this simple example. It explains that the more you practice something, the better you get at it, and you need to practice in all types of situations to keep up your skills in such a dynamic changing environment.
This idea of practicing what we want to be good at applies to all areas in life….
How about sitting on the couch…. Do you practice that? And isn’t funny how the more we practice the more we want to do it? Even if it’s a negative behavior, or generally not the best choice for our health (like sitting on the couch).
So practice works in changing our behaviours. The more you do something, the more you WANT to do it… Or the less you do something…the LESS you want to do it.
There are many areas I think we should spend more time practicing, but today let’s focus on one – Practicing Positive Thoughts. It has been shown that positive thoughts lead to positive behaviors.
So how do we practice positive thoughts? I have learned a few tricks from my friend and colleague Dr. Renee Simons, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. She helps clients change their negative or self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors by using self-affirmation cards. We all have the potential to develop negative self-talk. There are many cues in our environment that may make our negative thoughts hard to control. But, it’s time to practice something different. Practice positive self-talk.
Try this right now – write down one thing that you frequently think or say that you may consider negative self-talk.
Now underneath it, try changing that statement into something positive. It may be hard at first, but get creative.
For example, I often hear “I don’t have time to exercise.” Instead you can say “Dedicating time to exercise is important to maintain my strength and fitness, I will try to do 20 minutes, because I know I will feel better after.”
Go for it! Seriously… give it a try. We practice negative self-talk all the time, and it isn’t healthy. To take this practice a step further, try writing down a few of your negative thoughts and create a new positive thought, your personal affirmation card, to replace it. Now here’s the practice part… Every time that thought pops into your head, pull out your card and read your positive affirmation.
This daily practice can help you change your negative thought patterns. Negative thoughts lead to negative actions… so let’s make positive thoughts to create positive actions. It also helps train your mind to stay present rather than staying stuck thinking about the past!
Other fun and helpful ways I manifest positive thoughts include writing down my goals, creating a vision board, celebrating my accomplishments and my personal favourite – day dreaming outside. The outside bit is key J
Remember, you will get good at whatever you’re practicing.
So practice the good stuff!
Beth Hollis | BHSc., MPT, CKTP
Co-Founder, Physiotherapist | email@example.com