Sports psychology teaches about a loose mind versus a tight mind. If you have a loose mind you may have a multitude of different thoughts bouncing around in your head. Within these thoughts that are pouring around there are likely a few of them that are negative or toxic thoughts. Often having a loose mind is what causes athletes to have mental blocks or experience “slumps” in sports. Have you ever felt that you had a mental block or slump in life?
Grief And a Loose Mind
Grieving a loved one’s death is the perfect example of a time when your mind is likely to race and run all over. In the beginning it is just wondering how this happened, trying to process the reality of it all and the rush of feelings and regret that can come. After some time has passed and the reality starts to settle in you may be able to go longer periods of time without thinking about it.
In the aftermath of a death of a loved one, your world has changed but you quickly realize that the rest of the world continues on. Houses still need to be cleaned, bills paid and work has to be done. The rest of the world does not stop just because yours has. So how do you cope with going back to work and getting tasks done when your mind becomes loose and wanders back to the grief you are experiencing?
Addressing Grief as a Sports Psychologist
Just like in sports psychology we can look at a loose versus tight mind. When we need to get the job done, we need that tight mind. We must take all of those thoughts floating around and focus it on one thing.
Tips for a Tight Mind
Here are a few tips on keeping a tight mind to allow yourself to get the job done when all you want to do is shut down and overthink.
Identify what toxic thoughts are going on in your mind.
Think about all that you are thinking and feeling and zone in on the negative ones that are holding you back. IE: “I have no hope”. “I can not go on”. “I can not be productive and happy now that “they” are dead.”
Now lock in on the one that is the most dominant in your mind.
IE; “I can not be productive and happy now that “they” are dead.”
Tell yourself the truth about the toxic or negative statement.
Would your family member want you to be unproductive and live a miserable life? The answer to that is almost always absolutely not. They would want you to live fully and happily.
Make your mind tight by only allowing that one thought to repeat in your head.
Every time you feel guilty for working or being happy, repeat. ‘I am honoring my loved one by being happy and productive.’
It is a marathon not a race as they say. Continue to focus on the one thought. Sometimes your loose mind will get away from you, but now that you have some tools you know you can, stop and go back to the positive thought and stay on that until the grief has subsided.
Always remember there is a time to unload all those thoughts and feelings. Get connected with the grief support group. Find others who are willing to talk with you. Make sure to process and deal with your grief. There is hope after loss. You can turn your “rebuilding season” into a championship life with a little sports psych.