11 Powerful Mind Muscles You Need To Train For A Strong And Happy Mind
Your brain is plastic.
It doesn’t mean it’s made of plastic. What I mean is that it can change throughout your entire life.
Neuroplasticity is how we learn new things and train our brain to think or act in a way. Whenever you learn something new, the brain forms new connections between neurons (the brain cells).
Each time you practice or revisit your learnings, the connection becomes stronger as it becomes part of your thought process. The information then transfers into your subconscious mind which works even when you’re sleeping.
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” — Earl Nightingale
Like we practice skills and train our muscles, we must constantly train our brain to perform at an optimal level.
1. Stress Tolerance
Keeping calm under pressure is a skill which can be developed. Most people can’t handle stress and when they face high-stress situations, they burn out and make poor decisions.
If you develop stress tolerance, you not only stay relaxed under such situations, you can use the stress for high performance.
Not all stress is bad. The good stress, called as eustress is often acute. It helps you grow and achieve life satisfaction. Distress, on the other hand, makes you worry or anxious. Chronic distress can lead to a wide range of health problems.
Another difference between eustress and distress is how we perceive the stressor. With eustress, we associate the cause of stress to be helpful. Distress makes us feel terrible, and it leads to burn out.
Yerkes and Dodson created a curve and stated that we need the right amount of arousal for optimal performance.
The amount of arousal depends on an individual so you must find your own balance. Try to stay within your range and if you have to go outside your comfort zone, use your superpower of stress tolerance followed by a period of recovery. Don’t fear stress. Visit the discomfort zone and face stress when it can help you grow.
To increase your stress tolerance, perform High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), take cold showers, speak in front of public or take challenges outside your comfort zone.
2. Mental Stability
We are emotional creatures. One nasty comment from a stranger can easily ruin our day. This is where mental stability comes into place.
Everyone has a threshold after which their mood turns down. But, like any other mental skill, mental stability can also be trained.
To increase your mental stability, notice how you react to negative events or thoughts. Keep a mood log if you have to and notice how you allow outside events to ruin your mood.
I know it is hard to stay sane especially when people who are closest to us upset us. It is normal to have a few expectations from close relationships. But, each time you get upset, remember it is your problem that you set the expectations in the first place.
Besides, people are too busy to think about the consequences of what they do or say to you. They often don’t even realize how some actions or words can harm us. In an ideal world, everyone should behave in the best way with each other but we are not perfect. We all make mistakes. Some people realize it and some don’t and it’s okay if they don’t. There is no need to hold grudges.
Maybe someone was going through tough times when they misbehaved with you. Give people the benefit of doubt for your own peace of mind. Be empathetic and look things from their perspective. Most things won’t matter in the long term. You always forgive yourself in the end, so why not forgive others? We all are humans, after all. Be kind, forgive, and move on.
Stop blaming other people and take full responsibility for your expectations. If they don’t meet your expectations, lower them down. And if they do better than expected, be grateful.
The same goes for life. When life is good, be grateful and when it throws unexpected challenges at you, respond with kindness and take it as an opportunity to train your mind. All your life, you’re either at peace or you’re training your mind to be strong. Both are necessary and good for you.
There are plenty of reasons why our mood worsens, but the principle remains the same. Identify the cause, adjust your reaction, and choose to look at the brighter side.
Stop judging yourself, other people or your life situation. Choose love and kindness. Love life as it is. Love yourself as you are. Love others as they are.
"Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket."
3. Passionate Work
Life’s drama steals many people’s vision from them. But the drama is not the enemy, it’s rather your friend. It’s a test you must pass to prove how strongly committed you are. If it were easy, everyone would get what they visualize — like magic.
Law of attraction says you get what you focus on. While it can be true, I don’t agree with it 100%. It’s not a law. We hear the law of attraction success stories only from the people who succeed. Nobody knows how many failed while using the law of attraction.
So, instead of thinking of it as a law, think of it as a principle. It’s a tool. It can be true if you work hard enough to reach your vision. Focus on your number one goal and give your 100% to it.
Practice excellence. Give 10x efforts. Keep commitments. Be on time. Do what you said you’re going to do. Focus.
Remind yourself what success means to you. Set daily intentions and take regular actions even if the steps are small. And most importantly, enjoy your journey by celebrating small wins.
Don’t chase vision as a means to happiness. Escape the rat race. Happiness is now. Reaching your vision will only amplify your sense of fulfillment. Make your journey the reward and you will never waste a day of your life.
Trust that everything is happening for you.
Trust that everything will be okay.
Trust in your ability to figure things out.
Trust in the higher version of yourself. You’re much more capable than you think you are. You can develop any skill you want. You can improve no matter where you are in life.
Trust alone is not enough though. In his book, Good To Great, Jim Collins explains the Stockdale paradox, and it goes like this:
“You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. And at the same time… You must confront the brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
Be brutally honest with yourself and do whatever it takes to turn your dreams into reality. Work on your strengths, fix your weakness (if you need to), and make the sacrifices you need to make.
Take bold steps and keep moving forward to build self-efficacy. Silence the naysayers (including your stupid mind). Learn skills and get feedback. Never stop growing.
Fear is the enemy of trust. Fear keeps you in a prison and stops you from following your heart. Don’t let that happen. Trust.
The beautiful thing about following your heart is that whether you succeed or you fail, you always become...