November 2, 2020 by Mackenzie Timbel
As you head into a week full of anticipation and stress, check out these three tips for practicing mental toughness in our challenging world. Mental toughness doesn’t require you to be “tough.” It just requires that you be present with yourself. Wherever your week takes you, the Best Shot team is sending hugs and motivational pep talks. You’ve got this!
Before developing and practicing mental toughness effectively, it is essential that you take a second to be vulnerable. #BreneBrownforlife Take a breath, grab a journal or a quiet spot, and catch up with yourself. What makes your chest feel tight? What kept you awake last night? Is it the stress of your egg retrieval coming up? Election day tomorrow? Rising covid cases? There are a lot of challenging things going on in the greater world right now as well as your own personal narrative. Taking a dedicated moment to identify how you are feeling can go a long way towards developing mental toughness.
This is a fact finding mission in a “no judgement” zone so be careful that you catch yourself when you start to criticize your own coping skills. Eliminate the phrases “I feel this way because I’m not strong enough” or “I feel this way just because I do.” Push yourself to look deeper. You will be surprised to find the beautiful, strong person still glittering underneath the tarnish of the difficult world around them.
Identifying uncontrollables is a healthy process of assessing your situation and processing what you can do next. Mental toughness as a psychological term found its popularity in the sports world and therefore, uncontrollables are best described using a sports analogy. If you are playing in a soccer game, your uncontrollables are your opponent, any injuries to players on your team or the weather. Controllables are your preparation, how much effort you put into the game, and the mental dialogue you have with yourself during the experience. Uncontrollables are things that affect your situation in a meaningful way but that you cannot control. Try to spend as little energy as possible to address them and instead, turn your attention to what you can control. A freeing sensation will occur once you only have to focus on the things you can actually do to help your situation.
Here comes the “tough” part. Lots of challenging things are uncomfortable. But lots of challenges are extremely rewarding to overcome. It is the recognition of the uncomfortable versus the impossible that is the hard part. Knowing when to push through and power on can be tough but after identifying your uncontrollables, it will be more clear what things you can do to solve a problem. This can mean giving up responsibilities, postponing commitments, or focusing solely on something that means a lot to you. It's important to charge the mountains that seem summit-able and find a path around those that aren’t. Mental toughness is the thing that allows you to tell the difference .