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Ditching The Mental Junk

Basketball is Psychology XX


There are thousands of diets: vegan, keto, low-fat, low-carb, paleo, raw food, weight watchers, vegetarian, fruitarian, pescetarian, intermittent fasting, juice detoxes, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, non-GMO, and countless others. Some are putting butter in coffee when a few years ago, everyone avoided butter at all costs. Fruits used to be the clear choice for a healthy snack, now they are “too high in sugar”.

Needless to say, it’s confusing.

If it’s that confusing on what it takes to be healthy physically, how much more confusing is it to understand what it takes to be healthy mentally.

We can hop on a scale or go through a workout to see if our physical health is doing well. With mental health, it’s a lot harder to measure.

As basketball players, we see trainers for strength and skill several times a week, we see doctors and dentists on a regular basis. But we only see someone for our mental health when there’s a problem. And even when there is a problem, only 15-25% seek that help.

Working on our mental health is not just for the 1 in 4 people dealing with a mental illness, we can all become mentally healthier.

Just like getting physically healthy, getting mentally healthy takes a lot of time and a lot of work.

One thing remains undisputed in the realm of health debates: ditch the junk food.

It’s pretty hard to ever get into great physical shape if all you eat is krispy kreme, pizza hut, and Big Macs.


6 Junk Thoughts Mentally Healthy Basketball Players Ditch

It’s important to understand that mental health is the foundation for mental strength. The healthier you are mentally, the stronger you can become. By ditching these unhealthy or “junk” thoughts, you will become mentally healthier and mentally stronger.

1. Wasting time feeling sorry for themselves

Maybe you aren’t getting the playing time or the results you want, but feeling sorry for yourself is not productive. Thinking like this is self-destructive, it exaggerates the problem, and overlooks the good.

Instead, practice gratitude. You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can always change your attitude.

“While feeling sorry for yourself is thinking I deserve better, gratitude is about thinking I have more than I deserve.” -- Amy Morin

2. Giving away their power

Basketball players love to say things like, “My coach took away my confidence”, or “My coach always picks on me”. If you are highly sensitive to coaching, you are probably giving away your power.

The problem with this is it causes you to lose sight of your goals, and you stop taking ownership for your life. You have to decide that one person’s opinions or actions does not regulate yours.

“When no one else has the power to control how you feel, you’ll experience empowerment.” -- Amy Morin

3. Focusing on things they can’t control

There is no such thing as a good referee. Ask both teams at the end of every game and each one claims the refs must have been paid off. Referees are not going to reverse the call because you whined so hard about it, you’re just wasting mental energy.

Instead, develop a balanced sense of control. Understand things like referees making bad calls are part of the game. While the other team is wasting their time complaining, you can be a play ahead simply by focusing on what you can control.

“When you stop trying to control every aspect of your life, you’ll have more time and energy to devote to things you can control.” -- Amy Morin

4. Dwelling on the past

The most sure way to miss your next shot is to dwell on the last shot you missed. Adjust and move on. You can’t focus on the future when you’re stuck in the past.

When you dwell on the past you don’t make good decisions about the future, and you conjure up negative emotions that can leave you feeling depressed. Shift your thinking towards the future.

5. Resenting other people’s success

It’s easier than it’s ever been to look successful and look happy, especially because we only post the highlights on instagram. We post the offers we did get on twitter, not the rejections.

You have to be content instead of being jealous. You have your own unique set of talents, skills, and life experiences. Be content with what you have while you work for everything you want.

The more time you spend playing the sheriff of who deserves what, the less time you’ll have to be productive.

“The more time you spend focusing on someone else’s achievements, the less time you have to work on your own goals. Create your own definition of success” -- Amy Morin

6. Giving up after the first failure

Every bad game, every difficult practice, and every losing season comes with a temptation to quit.

Thinking failure is the end is destructive. The healthiest way to think about failure is that it’s just the beginning of a long journey to success. Learn and keep trying. You might have failed, but you are not a failure.

“Attributing failure to lack of ability leads to learned helplessness. Change the way you think about failure.” -- Amy Morin


This blog post was inspired by the book, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” written by Psychologist Amy Morin.


Julie Fournier

CEO Basketball is Psychology



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