5 Steps to Strengthen Your Mental Muscle

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Your mind is like a muscle: If you don’t train it, it will only become weaker. So in the same way you diligently train your body to perform at its best, you need to train your mental muscle so it will perform at its best too.

Did you know that the thoughts you think repeatedly are reflected in your body and your life? Your body hears every word you say in your mind and responds according to your direction, whether it’s negative or positive. Take the time to train your mental muscle so you can achieve the goals you want both inside and outside of the gym.

Here are some simple mental workouts you can start today to strengthen your mind and boost your positivity.

MEDITATE

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation not only reduces stress and improves the immune system, it also helps us to become more present to our mental activity. When we slow down for a few moments a day and observe our thoughts, we can become aware of whether they are positive or negative and we can change them. A daily dose of meditation can help you identify limiting beliefs, which don’t serve you, and select new beliefs that do. Sit comfortably for 5-10 minutes a day. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply and observe your thoughts and beliefs. Track and record what you observe and choose to change what is limiting your potential. The more you practice, the stronger your mental muscle becomes.

CHILL OUT

Choose to kick your stress in the butt, as it doesn’t serve you or your body to worry and get discouraged. Make a list of all the stressors in your life, and choose to accept what you can’t change and change what you can. Let go of your past and focus on the present. Take time every day to rest your mind, just like you take rest days for your muscles. Take a mental break. Do something mentally relaxing. Go for a walk. Watch a positive movie. Take a bath. Laugh with a girlfriend. Listen to soothing music. Spend time in nature.

PERSEVERE

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Cliché, maybe, but one of the ways you can really strengthen your mental muscle is to persevere when things get uncomfortable. Over time, your mind will learn to tolerate more than it could previously and you’ll be able to go the extra mile. Next time you’re on your third or fourth set and you’re ready to quit, tell yourself to push through—do one more set, and grow past your comfort zone. Always listen to your body, but simultaneously know that you have the ability to stretch and push yourself that little bit further.

VISUALIZE

Visualization is when we see, hear, feel and experience the result we want in our mind’s eye. When asked about her recent victory over world champ Ronda Rousey, MMA Fighter Holly Holm said, “I visualize the victory, but I visualize myself being in a really bad situation and coming out of it. There’s 25 minutes in there to not mentally break.” Because our brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s happening in our mind versus the real world, when we visualize what we want to have happen, we can create that experience in reality. Remember, to create the result you want you first have to believe it’s possible and feel it as the truth deep in your spirit. Your mind has to align with your goals in order to bring them to pass.

DECLARE VICTORY

When you say what you want to experience out loud, it not only sends a powerful message to the universe that you are ready and deserving to receive what you declare, it also strengthens your beliefs about what’s possible, and sends a message to your nervous system to respond according to what you believe. For example, if you want to win a fitness competition, declare out loud ‘I am a winner. I have won the competition.’ Get clear about what you want, declare it and expect it to show up as your reality.


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