When I am working out I push my self very hard. I will from time to time call myself names like a High School Football coach would. Other times I will quickly remind myself that what I am doing needs to be a smooth and purposeful action. The difference in the two thoughts of course are either negative or positive reinforcement. In all cases I respond best to the positive affirmations.
When I first started training on rollers I developed my own mantra to help me to not freak out. I told my self “light, fast, loose, relax”. This helped immensely and even now I will from time to time catch my self on the rollers or on the front of a pace line saying this to myself with out realizing I have started it.
When I am in the middle of a particularly difficult or painful climb I will sing to myself in my head. I do this when it is really hard to keep even the possibility of negative thoughts out of my head. I have heard others will recite poetry or even do math problems.
What ever works for you do it and don’t let the stinkin’ thinkin’ in.