What is Mental Fitness?
The mind’s ability to shift from a negative response to a positive one when you are presented with a challenge or stressor.
Imagine if you were able to face any problem with a calm, collected, and positive frame of thinking when a problem arose. What if stress and anxiety weren’t your first response to conflict? How would this change your life? You would probably be far happier and more successful in whatever you were working towards.
I know this sounds too good to be true, but there are massive studies that have shown that happiness and productivity go hand in hand. By working on your neuroplasticity, you can train your brain to intercept habitual responses with more positive and productive ones.
How do you work on your Mental Fitness?
I personally work within the Positive Intelligence framework of developing Mental Fitness. It is a 6-week program that was developed by life coach and author Shirzad Chamine. It’s an intensive based program that builds self-awareness and self-management, specifically around your mindset. You are ultimately aiming to have a 3:1 quotient of positive thoughts to negative thoughts!
This is done in three chunks:
- Build your Self-Command – First, you need to learn to override your Negative Nelly’s. You work on building a muscle that allows you to quiet the negative and survival-driven side of your brain and elicit help from the positive side that can think critically and creatively. This is done through repetitions of short exercises that involve the senses. These exercises are performed throughout the day and are eventually used while in a high-stress state.
Some of these exercises include:
- Focusing on the temperature of the air entering and leaving your nose for 30 seconds.
- Intensely focusing on an item and noticing it’s shape, color, outline, and texture. This takes about 30 seconds.
- Rubbing your thumb and index finger together and feeling every ridge. Then rubbing your fingers against your other palm and taking note of the sensations.
2. Identifying and Challenging your Saboteurs – These are the “villains” in your mind that hijack your thoughts and behaviors especially when there is a stressor or challenge in life. They are default mechanisms, usually developed as survival skills during childhood, and when you are grown they have become permanent fixtures in your mind. These saboteurs cause all of your stress, anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, restlessness, and unhappiness. They sabotage your performance, well-being, and relationships. You can identify your saboteurs by taking this quiz: Saboteurs Quiz
The saboteurs include:
- The Judge – Chamine, recognized that the most prolific offender is “The Judge.” The Judge is constantly lowering the confidence and worth of yourself and everyone around you. The judge is present in everyone.
- The Controller – Needs to control everyone and everything.
- The Restless – Always in search of something more and always on to the next thing with little satisfaction.
- The Pleaser – Other people’s opinions and needs are placed before a pleaser’s own.
- The Hyper-rational – To avoid emotions they use intellect to solve everything, even though humans are emotional and often not rational.
- The Avoider – Head is always in the sand or they try to put a positive spin on absolutely everything.
- The Victim – Garners sympathy or attention from lingering on negative emotions.
- The Hyper Achiever – Happiness and success is based purely on achievements and respect from others.
- The Stickler – Everything is black and white, right or wrong. There is no room for the in-between.
- The Hyper-Vigilant – Always predicting what is about to go wrong. Optimism is difficult.
Once you have identified your top Saboteurs, you can then practice naming them when they are present (learn how they usually speak, how they make you feel) and you learn to question them instead of letting what they say be true as an automatic.
3. Identify your Sage – Once you learn who and when a saboteur is speaking you are able to implement your Sage to counteract and help find the gifts and opportunities in any situation. When you practice coming from your Sage mind you feel less stress and perform better in work, relationships, and life.
- Empathize – See yourself as a child and act accordingly to how you would treat the child.
- Explore – Be a detective and ask what motivates the feelings and actions that you are observing.
- Innovate – Acknowledge the pain and discomfort then move on. Use the phrase “Yes….and”
- Navigate – Look forward and begin to write a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Activate – Be proactive in overcoming your saboteurs, practice throughout the day activating the sage side of your brain.
This can be done by:
- Retroactively looking at negative experiences and listing the gifts that were directly or indirectly caused because of the experience.
- Looking at a current situation and determining positive outcomes that could come from the current situation.
Are you ready to work on your Mental Fitness?
This program was a game-changer for me and I believe it can be a life-changing tool for everyone. How incredible would it be if Mental Fitness was taught taught to everyone as a child, as a way to build them for success and the ability to navigate life through its peaks and valleys?!
You can join me in this 6-week intensive program and experience the shift that comes with growing your positive intelligence. You will have access to community support, guided practices, daily challenges, and an in-depth program (online) that is video and audiobook guided. Contact me to find out when the next program is starting.