Mindset: Prep & Recovery

How you see and make sense of your life (worldview) has conscious and subconscious sway over your wellbeing and performance. Another name for this is psychological framework, and your psychological framework consists of the collection of mindsets that serve as the lenses through which your brain filters information that drive behavior. To put it simply, a mindset is just a set of beliefs that drive behavior.

Having a deliberate mindset practice prepares you to more reliably focus your attention on your desired outcomes in spite of the competing sense data that will compete for your attention, especially when you feel more challenged and under pressure (physically, cognitively, and/or emotionally). Examples of competing sense data are fatigue, butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, cold hands and feet, ruminating on what could go wrong or did go wrong, external sensory overload, external tunnel vision, and/or paralysis by analysis.

Prepping Your Mindset:


  • Deliberately perform 30 to 90 seconds of breath practice
    • For example: (Box breathing) 4x–Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds


  • 4x: Recite 4 different affirmations followed by one breath cycle

For Example:

  1. Recite: I am capable of creatively living and pursuing my dreams. (Then, Breathe–inhale for 2, exhale for 4)
  2. Recite: I am supported and loved. (Then, Breathe–inhale for 2, exhale for 4)
  3. Recite: I am courageous, hold my ground, and take action. (Then, Breathe–inhale for 2, exhale for 4)
  4. Recite: I am clear headed and strategic. (Then, Breathe–inhale for 2, exhale for 4)

Recovering your Mindset (during or after a performance situation):


  • Deliberately perform 1 to 5 breaths (make the exhale longer than the inhale)


  • Tell yourself what’s going well or what went well, and remind yourself that you are committed and grateful for this learning opportunity.

Take Note: The key ingredients for prepping and recovering your mindset are breathing and pre-planned self-talk. The main difference between the content used in preparation in contrast to recovery is that the preparatory process is meant to be longer, more comprehensive, and up-regulating. This is analogous to a warmup prior to a physical workout. Whereas, the recovery mindset process is meant to be shorter (especially if being performed intermittently), down-regulating and positively reflective.

Leave a Comment

Keep reading for insights on learning, performance, and growth.

Get Performance Psychology Insights Sent Weekly

Join the E2E Insights Newsletter for the latest on personal/professional learning, growth, and development from Jared Cohen.