Training Your Thoughts Is important to Your Success

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
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Training is important for your horse, for your riding and for your mind. That’s right, if you don’t train your mind, it can be like a wild horse - running all over the place. The most successful riders and trainers know the value of training your mind. Thoughts exist in our heads, right? They are just thoughts in our mind, but we don't treat them that way. We treat them like they're real things out in the world and they're true. We treat them as if they were valid and deserving of the attention, we give them. But every thought you have is, well, just a thought. Once you acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t real things you need to believe, you've got some choices to make. The most important choice is what to do with your thoughts. Yes, you can decide what to do with them! Here are six habits to practice so you can start cultivating the next time you have an unwanted thought:

1. Positive affirmations! Talk to your thoughts and tell them who’s the boss. Say, “you’re just a thought. Bye!” Or “That's just a thought.” This is especially helpful for intrusive thoughts and negative self-talk. It might take some practice and feel weird, but if you think about it, the way we legitimize our every thought is what's weird. Try telling yourself things like "I'm alive and healthy", or "today is going to be a fantastic day” or “today’s ride will be one of my very best”! 
You’ll be shocked at how powerful this technique is at generating positive energy.

2. When it comes to the negative thoughts, something else you can say to them is “Cancel.” As soon as a thought occurs that you don’t want to entertain, literally cancel it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started the thought, or you’re already finished; what matters is that you cancel it.

3. If your thought is about something bad happening, the moment you notice it, flip it and rephrase it as something positive. Stay away from the words no or not, as your brain has difficulty processing them and visually depicting them. For example, let’s say you're afraid of going off course and your brain is saying, “I’m going to go off course and it is going to be a disaster. I’m going to make a complete fool of myself.” 

The Power to Win

Change that thought to “I’m going knock ride focused and easily stay on course and it is going to be awesome”. If you’d like extra points, be specific about your performance and how you feel before and after it, as well.

4. As soon as you notice your thoughts, shift your focus to a neutral anchor point in your experience and rest your attention there. Your feet, for instance. Maybe your breath. Maybe your hands. The goal is to move your attention quickly. The extra points for this one are for self-compassion. Remember that having negative thoughts is normal, and tell yourself you’re doing the best you can. Maybe even give yourself a hug! 

5. As soon as you notice your thoughts, describe 5 things you see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This also helps to move your attention and focus it on your present, sensory experience, thereby distracting it from . . . what was distracting.

6. Pretend you're a fly on the wall and narrate what's occurring, speaking about yourself using your own name or in the third person. This is called self-distancing, and it helps shift from seeing your situation as a threat to seeing it as a challenge. Plus, it's a wonderful way to instantly remove yourself from the emotion of the moment. For example: Laura has been ruminating about her ride for a while. How long is Laura going to be at this? When is Laura going to get back to practicing and learning her course? Or, Laura, get a grip on yourself and focus on your riding rather than this nonsense. You can do this.
With time and practice, your self-talk will become less critical of yourself and more accepting of yourself. You may also lose your ability to be critical of the environment around you. When you're in a generally positive frame of mind, you're better able to deal with everyday stress in a more productive manner. This ability could contribute to the well-documented health advantages of optimistic thinking and a lot more success in your riding and showing. 

If you are skeptical, I urge you try these practices for a month and watch your success unfold! 

About the Author - Laura King 

Lifelong equestrian, Laura Boynton King has a very unique role in the horse world.  Using Hypnosis and (NLP) Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Laura has helped thousands of equestrians achieve their goals. Whether it’s overcoming a riding fear or reaching the podium at the Olympics, Laura is the go-to person for achieving your personal best.  She is the author of “The Power to Win” book and the author and coach of the life changing online course Laura’s passion for helping others comes from her own personal journey. 

Laura uses certified hypnosis, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and life coaching to help athletes and individuals create positive and lasting change. After years of private practice seeing up to 50 clients a week, this founder and president of Summit Dynamics, LLC, consulting service, is ready to sharing her expertise earned through over 100 certifications in hypnosis. 

As an accomplished equestrian and expert on self-improvement and positive behavior modification, Laura has helped thousands of riders. She has published seven books on hypnosis and NLP, appeared on the Rachel Ray Show, and in countless magazines articles, and has recorded over 150 self-hypnosis MP3s on topics such as stress management and achieving peak performance. Laura’s two newest Online Courses are also available online, “Emotional Intelligence for Coaches and Trainers” and “Mindset for the Ideal Weight”. Learn more at the or