I love when people in various areas of life integrate mindfulness into their work. Dr. Jason Selk is the Director of Mental Training for the St. Louis Cardinals, and best-selling author of 10-Minute Toughness and newly released Executive Toughness. He contributes to ABC, CBS, ESPN, and NBC radio and television and has been featured in USA Today, Muscle and Fitness, Men’s Health, Shape, and Self Magazines.
Jason utilizes his in-depth knowledge and experience of working with the world’s finest athletes, coaches and business leaders to help individuals and organizations outperform their competition.
Recently Jason shared with me very practical mindful ways to create mental toughness to increase our happiness and success. He says:
“Everyone wants to be mentally tough, however very few spend any time working on it. Human beings are made up of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Our thoughts control the way we feel and behave. To dramatically increase health, happiness and success, all one needs to do is learn to control what goes on between the ears. Research on mental toughness has shown that those who are in control of the manner in which they think live up to 14 years longer than their less mentally tough counterparts, and they are happier, healthier and more successful in those extra years of life.
Your mind can be strengthened just like a muscle. The mental workout is a concrete and proven process that delivers results in the same way as a physical strengthening plan. That is, if you complete the exercises as instructed on a regular basis, you cannot help but develop mental toughness.
The mental workout is a 5 step process that many of the world’s top athletes and business people credit with taking them to the next level of success. The mental workout is an incredibly powerful tool that will undoubtedly put you in a position to dramatically improve confidence and help you execute at a higher level more consistently.
The 5 step mental workout:
Step 1: Centering Breath; a controlled breath where you breath in for 6 seconds, hold for 2, and then exhale for 7 seconds. The Centering Breath will control your heart rate and allow your mind to work effectively.
Step 2: Identity Statement; essentially a personal mantra that reflects who you are and what you hope to achieve. An example of an identity statement is “I am confident and I thrive on pressure, I am the most focused and successful CEO in the country.”
Step 3: Personal Highlight Reel; The Personal highlight reel is 60 seconds worth of visualization in which you spend 30 seconds remembering 3 things done well in the previous 24 hours and then imagining 3 things you are going to do well in the upcoming day.
Step 4: Identity Statement; Repeat to yourself again your identity statement further driving home your self-image of success
Step 5: Centering Breath: Take another centering breath to remind yourself of the feeling of being calm and in control.
Just as your body responds to consistent strength training, your mind responds to regular mental workouts. Try to take the 1 minute and 40 seconds each day to develop your mental strength and stay in shape for performance. If you should miss a day here or there, don’t panic. One missed appointment with your physical trainer won’t sink your overall physical fitness, and the occasional missed mental workout won’t kill your progression to success. If you do miss a day, simply make the commitment to get back on track the following day.
By making mental workouts a habit, you will set yourself on a trajectory toward developing mental toughness and focus as you have never experienced.”
It’s so important to carve out space for mindful reflection, it’s truly what many successful people do. Give it a shot and allow your experience to be your teacher.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Young man photo available from Shutterstock.
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Last reviewed: 3 Mar 2012