Monday, April 25, 2011

SealFit Mental Toughness

Great article from Mark Divine at SealFit

Staying in the Fight- part 3

Keep Positive!

As we discussed in our last edition, the hidden secret with micro-goal setting is that it forces us into the present. Forcing our monkey mind to pay attention to what is happening right now, rather than what it hopes to happen in the future or what happened in the past. Collapse your focus to the near present, such as making it to the next yummy MRE meal or through that miserable evolution and you achieve victory where it is at - right here, right now.

The wandering mind is the devils playground. The nature of the outer, conscious mind (the 12% brain) is to dwell on the negative and obsess about it. Often that which is the obsession becomes the reality. Once you begin to focus on the present, the requirement then is to keep your mind in a Positive State.

We call this Positivity.

Positivity can be likened to an electrical charge. Are you positively charged, or negatively charged? How big of a difference would it make in your life if you learned to keep your mind and body positively charged all the time? My guess is a big difference.

Back to basics. Ensure that the mind is focused on the present and propelling us forward with Positive Self Talk. Positive Self Talk is akin to a battery that positively charges your energy, emotions and the very air around you; so that you attract the positive success you seek. At the basic level, it keeps you feeling good, strong and able to set a "positive example" for your teammates (who draw strength from you and vice versa). There are some nuances:

First, you must learn to pay attention to your energy, whether it is positive or negative. At SEALFIT we use a simple question to draw focus to this: "what dog you are feeding?" This question refers to the two dogs we have in our outer mind vying for feeding: The dog of FEAR and the dog of COURAGE.

Our minds are energized with either courage (positive) or fear (negative) which manifest their influence in our lives in different ways. Our basic emotional "feeling" states can be generalized into these two broad categories. We could actually replace "courage" with "love" but for this discussion courage is a more powerful descriptor.

Fear is the dominant energy in most because the outer monkey mind is generally negative in nature. It is constantly filled with negative programming from numerous sources - friends, family, news, TV, and our own self talk. By paying attention to what dog you are feeding, you will start to notice the patterns.

Next, as soon as you notice negative patterns, you must use a pattern interrupt to immediately stop and re-direct them. At SEALFIT we use Power-statements as pattern interrupts for this purpose. Power statements we use include some classics such as: "Hooyah," "Easy Day," "Get some," and "Aint Nothin but a thing."

These power statements interdict negative thinking and replace it with a powerful and positive mood.

Finally, power statements are not enough to do the job alone. Our bodies must also get in the game. A Power Posture reinforces the power statement. Saying "I am going to crush this" while slouched in a defeated, fetal position just doesn't work! Your subconscious mind will call bull and continue to feed the negative pattern. You need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and mirror the power statement with a power posture.

Often in the middle of a grueling workout, I or one of my coaches will shout power statement, coupled with powerful gestures, when we notice the fear dog nipping at the trainees. Everyone's mental attitude and bodies respond immediately as if jolted by a bolt of positively charged electricity. It is great to watch and be part of.Soon we are all laughing and cranking away at the workout, having left the worst behind us. We have learned to allow positive self-talk and powerful body postures to condition our minds for positive outcomes.

One final comment about Positivity: the mind will easily slip in and out of negative situations based upon external stimuli. You must trick your conscious mind to remain positive by reciting Powerful Mantras. A mantra is simply a short statement that has positive meaning to you. When I was in BUD/s, on long runs I would recite over and over "feeling good, looking good, ought to be in Hollywood!"Corny as heck but it worked...though the Hollywood part remains elusive. The power of positivity cannot be underestimated and I highly recommend you start practicing these techniques now if you are not already.

That's all for today folks. Train hard, stay safe, and have fun! -- Coach Divine

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