In order to strengthen your mind and build mental toughness, you need to work it the same way you would work your muscles in the gym. This mental workout helps you refocus and visualise success in tough times, and it only takes 100 seconds of your day to complete.
Picture: Kreg Steppe/Flickr
Jason Selk is a performance coach that has worked with Olympians and professional athletes in almost every sport there is. During his time with Major League Baseball's St Louis Cardinals, Selk's job was to train the team mentally. Over at Inc, Selk explains the mental exercise he had them do helped them earn two World Series championships, and you can easily do it on your own:
- Start with a centering breath. Breathe in for six seconds. Hold that breath for two seconds, and then breathe out for seven seconds. Controlling your breathing this way is a stress reliever, and reduces your state of arousal.
- Recite a personalised identity statement to yourself in five seconds. A good identity statement is one that emphasises one of your positive qualities and pinpoints something you want to become, like "I am confident and passionate. I'm consistently excellent every day as a leader, executive and mother," or "I care more about my clients and I will outwork the competition. I am a million-dollar salesman."
- Visualise your own personal highlight reel for 60 seconds — seeing in your mind three things you've done well in the past 24 hours and mentally rehearsing three important things you need to do today.
- Repeat your identity statement to yourself for five seconds.
- Finish with another centering breath cycle — breathing in for six seconds, holding for two and then exhaling for seven. Your mind is now ready to focus and perform.
When you find yourself in tough times, use this exercise to conquer your mental state. With enough time and practise, you can train yourself to do this type of quick meditation automatically, increasing your mental toughness. You are capable of getting through the hard times, and you are capable of doing what needs to be done, but you have to believe it first.