Now that we have covered mental journaling, we can now combine the two techniques to create an effective intervention strategy by applying thought restructuring techniques to create a change not only with thoughts but also with feelings and behavior.
Review your journal weekly to look for any patterns of thought or performance related issues. For example, in my journal, I may notice that in the past week the weather has been very hot and humid and my running/walking performance has been suffering. I have also noticed that most of my recorded comments have been rather negative such as “I am feeling very slow, sluggish, and tired today and I am not having much fun”; “I am really having a rough time with my runs/walks and it is hard to stay motivated”. My feelings associated with these thoughts may be frustration, irritation, and depression. My behavior associated with my thoughts and feelings could result in deciding “it is not worth it anymore and I quit”. However, it is important to gain perspective on the situation. This can be accomplished by first realizing that heat and humidity can effect almost any athlete’s performance. Secondly, training in the heat (if done properly) can actually help to acclimate a person to hot and humid conditions resulting in the possibility of better performance on race day. As a result, my feelings may be become more content with my running/walking performance and I continue with my training as scheduled.
By recording this type of information and reviewing it weekly, in a very tangible way, the athlete is able to see how they are thinking and feeling in order to create intervention strategies that can be used to promote effective change.
*Mark Jagos LMSW, is a licensed clinical social worker, sports performance counselor, and personal consultant who has participated in numerous marathons and local races and counsels athletes in mental training for sports and exercise. To schedule an appointment please call 810-624-7631.