Growing Your Mental Strength
Strength isn't just physical. Most people go to the gym to build their physical strength and well being. However, the gym is a place to build your MENTAL strength as well.
Your mind is one of your strongest muscles, and that goes for you heavy lifters too. Your mind needs a workout every now and then too, and the gym is a great place to do that. Let's say you're working toward a goal to up your Bench Press by 30 pounds. That's not just going to happen after one workout right? Especially if you're someone who has gone to the gym regularly over the course of your life. To add that 30 pounds to your Bench Press, you need to plan out what the best way to do that is. Some trainers will have different ways to get you there, and it's different for each body type as well. Regardless, you're going to need a plan.
Within your plan, you'll have a certain number of workouts per week, what types of exercises you'll need to help strengthen the muscles used in bench pressing (and others, you want to keep balance), how many reps or what the weight looks like in each workout. Then you actually have to do the reps, the workouts, and it takes some serious time. Our point here is, a lot of planning and a serious thought process goes behind making progress, not to mention the time involved to get there. In that time, things may come up to make you change your workout schedule, or what time of day you're working out, and there's 1000 other variables.
What this process builds mentally is your ability to think about the future. It builds your mental fortitude and perseverance because as we established earlier, adding 30 pounds to your bench isn't just going to happen overnight. It builds your ability to focus on one thing at a time, which helps your focus at work or at home as well.
Outside of the gym, here are a few ways to continue to grow your MENTAL STRENGTH:
Focus on one thing at a time. As people, we often try to multi-task because we believe if we multi-task, we will get more done. We go on a run and listen to a podcast and think about our schedule for the day all at once, or we sit at our desk and try to juggle six projects. Often times, multi-tasking makes us worst at each of the tasks we are trying to accomplish, and it usually ends up taking us longer to do. Take the time during your next morning run (or walk, easy on the knees right?) to take in your surroundings. Peek at the front yards of some of your neighbors, or look at the trees in the park to see if there are any baby birds. You get the point, take time and be present.
Take a break to be mindful (aka a "Mindfulness break"). We often get caught up in a day-to-day routine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but when we don't take time for ourselves, our minds can take a beating. Take some time to decompress without technology. It doesn't have to be a a day every week or anything substantial, just give yourself 2-3 minutes every day and decompress, check in on how you're feeling (there are some apps to help you too if you aren't sure how to get started).
Take care of yourself. Find out what best helps you recharge, find your ideal "self-care" regimen. Maybe that's time away from the kids at the store by yourself or going on a drive. Maybe it's some time at the gym, on the golf course, or with a good book. Whatever it is, take time for yourself at least every week.
Your mind can be your strongest muscle, and the gym is one of many ways that your mind can grow. Whether or not you're an avid gym-goer, your mind needs just as much of a workout. Take time and take care of your mind too.