“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful”— John Wooden
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself,” you are often told. And while it can be hard to avoid self-pity entirely, mentally strong athletes choose to exchange self-pity for gratitude.
Whether you choose to write a few sentences in a gratitude journal, or simply take a moment to silently acknowledge all that you have, giving thanks can transform your basketball mental game.
Practicing gratitude can benefit your mind, body, and spirit in a number of ways. It can lower your stress levels, improve sleep, strengthen relationships with friends and family, and even increase your basketball mental toughness.
Research has confirmed a direct correlation between gratitude and well-being. Athletes who regularly express gratitude feel healthier than their counterparts; a correlation that is mediated by psychological health and an attitude to seek help for health concerns.
Practicing gratitude gives you an insight into what is most important in your life. A consistent gratitude practice has also been shown to increase appreciation of one’s life. This appreciation allows you to gain perspective on negative events that occur during a competition.
Imagine an athlete who can put a bad performance into perspective, and then reflect on why the game did not go the way they wanted. This athlete has a mental edge over every competitor they face.
Gratitude practice even help you to make strides towards recovery. It is thought that the consistent practice of gratitude gives athletes perspective on the negative events that they have experienced and allows them to guard against any injury.
It’s no secret that stress can make you sick, particularly when you can’t cope with it. It’s one of the leading causes of performance degradation. Gratitude, it turns out, can help you better manage stress.
Research suggests that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping athlete cope with problems, especially stress.
Another research on sports psychology for basketball shows that athlete who regular practice gratitude feel more happier – they are more optimistic about the future, they feel better about their game and they even do almost 1.5 hours more exercise a week.
Cultivating a consistent attitude of gratitude benefits you mentally, physically, and socially. Grateful athletes take better care of their bodies and they tolerate aches and pains easier. They sleep 10% more and feel more confident and focused.
All that translates into better performance in competition.
Finally, Gratitude is one of the key basketball psychology skills to improve your mental game. We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have.
Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life and your game.
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