We all have our bad days, weeks, months, or even years. These negative thoughts and emotions can catch up to us and take a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. As humans, we are basically hard wired to focus on the negative instead of the positive. In psychology, this is deemed the “negativity bias.” In order to overcome this bias, it is helpful to write down or at least think about all of the positive things happening as opposed to the negative. Easier said than done, right? Believe me, I know. While this can be a difficult challenge, by writing down or focusing on at least three positive things per day to outweigh one negative one, you can greatly improve your mental health.
Last year, I decided to make a document on my laptop entitled “happiness.” This was originally intended for me to write about anything good that happened in my life to remind myself that life really is filled with amazing things. Needless to say, as with most resolutions, I failed to keep up with this document, only writing in it once every few months if at all. Recently, however, I have been struggling to maintain a positive mindset and have really only been focusing on the negative things that have been happening in my life, especially when related to my sport.
I run track and field, and over the past few years have felt a decreasing love for the sport. This past indoor track season, I finally decided that I should see the sports psychologist here. I am currently taking a course called “Introduction to Sports Psychology,” which definitely inspired my visit as well. In learning about the various forms of help designed specifically for athletes, I was curious to see how I could benefit from speaking with a sports psychologist myself. In my most recent visit to the sports psychologist, I talked about how I have been feeling much better over the past couple months having taken time off from track due to a stress fracture. Now that I am getting back into running, I would like to keep up my optimism and positivity towards the sport.
One of the main suggestions the sports psychologist gave me (upon finding out I already am a big journal girl) was to write down at least three things that made me happy throughout the day, ideally at least one relating to track, as well as why I was putting it down as a happy thing. I found this ironic, since I had actually started doing something similar to this in creating my “happiness” document over a year ago. After the meeting, I feel more inclined to open that document and stick to writing the happy things that occur about my day down. I have found it extremely helpful in reflecting on my day and “hunting out” the good things, as the sports psychologist said. When you are actively searching for the good instead of subconsciously focusing on the bad, it changes your whole outlook on life and shines light into what can be a dark world.