Mental And Emotional Tuffness
Earl W. Fee is the author of How to be a Champion from 9 to 90.
The book is about Body,Mind & Spirit Training.
To be a successful athlete you must develop mental and emotional toughness. Mental toughness involves positive thinking and good concentration under fire.
Emotional toughness involves positive feelings such as low anxiety, good motivation, calmness, courage, optimism, happiness, determined, confidence. It follows: if you have positive thoughts you will have mental and emotional toughness. So it has a lot to do with having the correct attitude and not over reacting in any situation. If you feel negative—act positive.
In my opinion the best methods for developing mental and emotional
toughness in order of importance are:
Consistent, diligent intense physical training. Ideally there is stress and discomfort and proper recovery otherwise there is no improvement.
Frequent races over many years starting initially with low key races and leading up to high key, local, national, and perhaps even world class races. Experiencing and overcoming the pre-race jitters, which we all feel to some extent will build mental and emotional toughness better than anything I know, apart from the above. (Direct your thoughts to performing at your very best and de-emphasize winning to reduce stress. Think of your past successful performances, your strategy and not of what you think your competitors can do. Go for your personal best.)
Day to day experiences, i.e., emotional challenges successfully met and overcome. In these experiences there is no physical pain or emotional pain otherwise the experience is too intense for improvement. . But there has to be some discomfort or the pressure is not intense enough for improvement. Giving speeches in front of large groups can be a typical valuable experience. In all cases there must be adequate recovery after.
Manufactured experiences where there is intense thinking and concentration such as: learning a foreign language, memory work, taking a technical course (mathematics, astronomy, and computer), playing chess and other mind games.
There are some basic principles in developing mental and emotional toughness.
Many of these ideas below are from Dr. James Loehr from “Toughness Training
For Life,” A. Dutton Books 1993 (Ref. 1).
“Toughness training is periodic exposure to progressively increasing cycles of physical and or emotional stress alternating with regular periods of recovery” 1. But as mentioned above there has to be some discomfort or the stress is not intense enough to achieve improvement.
The body and mind are intimately connected. Affect one and you affect the other. A positive (or negative) bodily action translates into a corresponding positive (or negative) feeling and inside your body. In other words to feel confident start acting confident on the outside. Improve your walk and stature, look determined like you mean business, take on an aggressive look. When you encounter adversity act “As If”, i.e., as if you possessed the quality you are lacking.
Physical toughening leads to mental and emotional toughening. Toughen one of the above three and the other two are made stronger.
The more mental stress experiences overcome successfully the better you are equipped to handle stress.
Pressure and stress come from within. You put it on yourself. Your interpretation and attitude are all important. To reduce stress think positive thoughts. Visualize positive actions. And act “as if.”
How to be a Champion from 9 to 90 by Earl W. Fee
Web Site www.feetnessforlife.com
by Earl W. Fee © 2003