3 Ways To Sharpen Your Mental Skills

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When it comes to sports or elite performance at any age, mental skills are required to perform at an optimal level.

Here are some suggestions to help strengthen your mental skills:

  1. Use relaxation and breathing exercises- When there is a lot of pressure on you to perform and you get nervous or anxious, your muscles tense up which can make it difficult to perform.  Taking a deep breath allows up to relax to relieve that muscle tension and can help you perform better so remind yourself to “take a few deep breaths!”
  2. Be confident- when you believe in yourself it will help to improve performance.  Make sure to create your own confidence and do not rely on others to make you feel confident.  Confidence needs to remain stable regardless of success or failure.  Confidence should come from within.
  3. Positive self-talk- one of the best ways to build confidence is by using positive self-talk.  Stress or feeling nervous is often caused by how we think about a situation.  Therefore, the more positive your thoughts are, the more positive you will feel and the more positive you will perform.  Come up with a few positive phrases that you can repeat in your mind to hopefully eliminate any negative thoughts that you may have.  You are in control of your thoughts so if you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, try to quickly change it to positive self-talk instead.  

Of course, there are many more useful mental skills that you can utilize to help improve your performance, but these 3 are a good place to start.  Master these three mental skills and it will make a big difference in how well you perform!

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Kimberly Wagner, Psy.D. PSY 25460
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