Five Ways to Soar Above The Yips

(Read in less than :03)“There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

I learned a new term this week. “The yips,” an expression used primarily in sports, most often in baseball or golf. Oddly enough, no one really knows how the word came about. An attack of the yips can make a super-star completely unable to do something that may have been easy and smooth in the past. Yips are mysterious, seem to appear from out of nowhere and are extremely difficult to overcome. A bad case has devastated the careers of many high performing athletes. Moreover, they are entirely mental and there is no drug known to cure them.

Yips? We just used to call them hang-ups

Or mental blocks. Or brain freezes. Weird and powerful, they can be paralyzing. Writers often sit down and stare at a blinking cursor, unable to compose a coherent thought. Whatever we call them, they are detrimental to our well-being. It takes effort, focus and patience to yank them out of our thinking like the brain weeds they are.

Toxic thoughts, the yips,  are so much a part of the human condition that the subject has been explored exhaustively. There are many techniques used to eradicate this plague, but research reveals many common ideas that seem to pop up. Here are just a few.

Helpful hints for defrosting brain freeze

“If you want to solve a problem, stop participating in it.”~ Jonathan Mead

  1. Change the channel. Think of your life as a movie or television program. We become what we think about most. Fixating on a problem makes it grow bigger and bigger in our mind. Press the pause button, mute those thoughts and redirect your thinking to something completely unrelated for a while.
  2. Blow off some steam. Go for a walk or do some hard physical work. Get sweaty or dirty and really focus on the task at hand. Exercise releases endorphins, some one of the natural feel-good chemicals that our brains produce. Physical exertion can be great medicine.
  3. Take a hot bath or a cold shower. Either way, focus on our physical self can redirect and clean up our thinking. Great insights and creative solutions often happen in the shower. Lather up and give it a shot.
  4. Get into nature. In His infinite wisdom, God put mankind in a garden. Shinrinyoku means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s. It has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
  5. Ask for help. There is strong evidence that social connectivity is a high predictor of longevity, well-being and better health. Humans need community. You don’t have to tackle it all on your own.

Our mind contains our problems but also the solutions to those problems. It is well worth the time and effort to spend time on channeling our thoughts in a positive direction. Is this information helpful? I’d love to hear from you! See you Monday, have an amazing weekend!


  • Patricia A. Johnson

    I guess you could say I have the “yips”. My husband of 15yrs has decided to have an affair with someone at his office. That is unacceptable to me so at 60 I am trying to find not only my why but my way. I am going through Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly online course plus reading Martha Beck “The Joy Diet” and going to counseling . But I still feel lost and unsure of a direction. I just didn’t think I would be here at this time in my life but now that I am I want to make the best of the rest of my life. There is so many books and classes its overwhelming. I want to show up and be brave. I know this happened for a reason it was a wake up call to start living your true life. But what is my true life and how do I find it? I know you have lots of readers and followers and can’t focus on one lost soul but if you have a starting point you suggest I would so be grateful.
    Blessed Be

    • Betty Streff

      I’ll hop on my laptop in the morning so I can write more faster. I think you’ve taken many very positive steps already and I applaud you!! More tomorrow.

  • Helen

    I’very never heard that word before, other than a description of how a small dog barks. But I love how you call them “brain weeds”, and I certainly understand and relate to that! I think I will do all five of the suggestions today alone, considering how tangled brain garden is right now. Time for some serious weeding! Love your blog!

    • Betty Streff

      You made my day Helen! brain weeds are tough critters to get rid of! I live for comments so I know I’m connecting. Thank you thank you.

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