This particular article doesn’t relate to physical fitness, but more so to mental fitness. Pardon the cliche but mental fitness is a state of mind. Have you ever found yourself as the Mayor of “Hurtsville” and in the predicament of saying something along the lines of “just keep going, put one foot in front of the other, and just keep going” or words to that effect.
Once in this mental state of mind large quantities of energy are being expended to fuel thoughts, and to take your mind off the pain and the discomfort. People who can achieve this mindset of not giving up and just having good old-fashioned perseverance and guts are normally the top achievers in life. No matter how hard the struggle gets these people never take the easier option and just keep going, they never give in.
What keeps you going!
What keeps you going and focused? Is it a passion for not losing or not giving up, is it a particular motivation, perseverance and stubbornness, or just good old-fashioned ticker. The key to developing success in the competitive arena is the athlete’s ability to be mentally disciplined or to have the necessary mental toughness to block out all distractions. Mental toughness is thinking in the right or correct frame of mind and it takes discipline and the ability for the person to recognise when their “emotional level” is higher than their ability to focus and relax.
The basic principle is that the athlete must think positive at all times! The objective is to focus on the positive and banish all negative thoughts from your mind. To be strong physically as well as mentally doesn’t occur as a matter of good fortune. You must train your mind in certain ways, most of which can be done subconsciously (Without you being aware of it). A few techniques to increase your mental discipline are as follows;
1. Control of your body and its feelings/thoughts are critical,
2. When feeling anxious or nervous: Slow down your breathing, Deep breaths and Slow Exhales,
3. Eyes need to focus on one thing and then slowly and deliberately move to another.
4. Consciously relax, tighten & release any body parts that feel tense.
5. Continually reinforce positive thoughts, even when you are afraid or doubtful. Discard all negativity from your mind!
Visual Imagery and anxiety
Imagery and visualisation are other key ingredients for success in training and competition. Visualisation with the use of your imagination is thinking and seeing yourself perform positively and successfully in all situations, whether it is in training, competition or just everyday life. Anxiety causes you to speed up your behaviour. When you feel tense and anxious make an effort to slow down your behaviour.
Anxiety increases when a persons self talk is negative and self-defeating. A good example of a person who talks negative says things like, “Why am I doing this” or “I can’t do it” or “I can’t make it” (there is no such word as can’t! You either wont or you don’t want to). When doing it tough always remember to maintain positive self talk. In conclusion, If ever your faced with an extra ordinary or demanding task, don’t take the easy way out and give up, anyone can do that.
In my opinion the worst thing that a person can live with is regret. If you know within yourself that you couldn’t have gone any further, tried any harder and are convinced that you have given your all, you will have no regrets or negative thoughts as you know that you have done your best. My favourite saying of all time is this poem called Don’t Quit. It is written by an unknown author and would be relevant to most of us at some stage throughout our lives.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer, with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure turns about
When he/she might have won had he/she stuck it out
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
– Author unknown