The 11:45 firebreathers head out the door dragging some heavy sleds.
It's Mental Toughness Thursday and today we return to The Invictus Mindset to look at the 4th Pillar of Mental Toughness: arousal control. This really means controlling your nerves. We all have had the feeling of sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach, sand in the veins, or generally just plan anxious and nervous. Well, there are methods to controlling those feelings. The Invictus Mindset states that, "Controlling your anxiety before major events is a delicate balance; top performers can neither be too excited nor too sedate before entering the competitive arena."
Just like with every other mental toughness technique described in The Invictus Mindset, the 4th Pillar depends upon breath control and meditation.
Controlling your breath by taking long slow exhales initiates the relaxation response. When you're super nervous or anxious, you need to relax just enough to control your stress, and you do this by taking 10 slow breaths.
Another method of arousal control is taking a positive proud posture. Really! How you stand, your posture when you run, row, walk, etc. all affects how you feel. If you take a proud posture, chest-up, shoulders back, and eyes forward, your performance will follow. This is one reason why I insist that you stand tall and open up on your box jumps. It's why Coach Heidi cues you to sit tall at the catch when you row. It's why Coach James cues you to lean forward and keep your eyes up when you run. When you have a proud posture, your mind will follow suit.
The 4th Pillar of Mental Toughness has one other new method, your focus. I don't mean focus with your eyes, but rather focus with your brain. So many times we fixate on the negative. Mentally tough people don't fixate, they focus on the positive. Fixating on the negative is the surest and fastest path to self-destruction. Change your focus to one positive aspect of your task, then another one, then the next one.
Stay focused on the positive, stand with a proud posture and control your breathing. These three methods alone go a long way to developing mental toughness. However, if you combine them with all of The Invictus Mindest techniques I've been reviewing since April, you will be unstoppable. Good luck!
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