Friday, October 14, 2011

Quiet your Negative Self Talk

Timothy Gallwey, in his classic The Inner Game of Tennis spoke of our two minds. He labelled our analytical and often critical mind, “Self 1”. Gallwey labelled the mind that is in our body, our muscle memory as “Self 2”.

Gallwey calls “Self 1” the “teller”, and “Self 2” the “doer”.

Often our body or “Self 2” is well rehearsed, intuitive and experienced, and knows what to do.

However, “Self 1” likes to tell “Self 2” about what to do, what is wrong, and is more often than not, very critical and harsh towards “Self 2”.

This results in inhibitions, self doubts, and confusion that degrades performance.     

Gallwey recommends activities that keep the noisy “Self 1” occupied, so that “Self 2” is left alone to perform at its best.

In tennis, Gallwey recommends closely watching the ball, its stitches, and the way it is spinning.

Another way to quiet “Self 1” is to turn its attention to our breathing. Besides the physical benefits of taking deeper breaths, focusing on breathing has positive effects on our “inner game” of peak performance.

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