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November 22, 2021

Jon Gold, M.A | Go 4 Gold

“Managing Anxious Thoughts”

When managing anxious thoughts there are many ways to try and cope, and for the most part the best way is very much so individualized and dependent upon the situation. As a baseball or softball player, as well as any other high performer, because you are human, you too will experience anxious thinking. 

Maybe it sounds like this:

“I need to get a hit”

“I should swing harder”

“Don’t mess this up, don’t strike out” 

Regardless of what exactly these thoughts are, I want to dive into the complex relationship between normalizing these anxious thoughts and learning when and how to put them in the right place. 

One of the examples I will pose is an example of cognitive distancing. You can see the explanation of distancing in this psychology today article from 2015, but essentially it is what it sounds like – creating space between you and the thought(s). 

So let’s say you have the thought of “I need to get a hit” and it gets louder and louder and you start to feel tightness in your chest and your heart starts racing. Here are a few ways to distance from the thought. 

Strategy A of distancing: Give the mind a name.  “Sam is anxious”

Strategy B of distancing: By taking the personalization out of it you might instead state “that’s an anxious thought” or “ I notice the anxious thought.” 

There are many more ways to distance from anxious thoughts, however, I chose these two examples to clearly illustrate the key  components in distancing, acknowledging the anxiousness without having it consume/overwhelm the individual. 

Distancing is a great strategy and an awesome tactic for in the moment competition, however, I don’t necessarily think we can overestimate the power of simply being resilient human beings. 

What if we did just say: “you know what I am anxious and that’s great.” I prescribe these types of statements quite often because it is about being human and accepting things as they are without resistance and or judgement. Call it as it is.  

Author: Jon Gold, M.A is both the founder and lead mental performance coach of Go4Gold Consulting. Jon is trained as a mental health counselor with a background in athletics, and athletic coaching. His practice as a clinician makes him uniquely qualified in developing positive working relationships with his clients. He emphasizes establishing trust in the relationship and sets this as the foundation of the work. In doing so, Jon forms an environment for performers to explore their current circumstances and find out how they can best navigate and break through their own performance barriers. 

For more information or to have your teams or individuals work directly with Jon, please visit:

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