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Building Those Mental Muscles ....

Mental strength isn't often reflected in what you do. It's usually seen in what you don't do. Probably sure that most of us will recognise that we DO DO one or more of the following, if we are honest with ourselves .... 

I certainly find that I can often waste energy justifying why I did NOT do something, when it could have just been so easy to just give it a go. The next challenge is then to give it a REAL go .... not like a kid saying they will try broccoli by touching so lightly on their tongue that science is yet to establish a physical connection!

So here, we go .... recognise any of these?

1. They don't waste time feeling sorry for themselves

2. They don't give away their power

3. They don't shy away from change

4. They don't focus on things they can't control

5. They don't worry about pleasing everyone

6. They don't fear taking calculated risks

7. They don't dwell on the past

8. They don't make the same mistakes over and over

9. They don't resent other people's success

10. They don't give up after the first failure

11. They don't fear alone time

12. They don't feel the world owes them anything

13. They don't expect immediate results

So, all of that is well and good but what can you do about it? The changing of habits, routines and the introduction of new ones is a HUGE challenge in itself, so don't read this thinking "I can't do this today!" .... just look at doing a little bit everyday .... #OnePercentMore

Here are some ideas and thoughts I have researched for you that appear to get results. It appears there are three areas to look into:

Strengthening the Mind, Improving your Concentration and Calming your Mind.

Hey, the internet says they are true .... prove it right, prove it wrong …. either way is fine by me .... as long as you give it a go.

Building Those Mental Muscles .... 1

Strengthening Your Mind

Read everything - Recent studies show that people who enjoy reading novels are more easily able to empathise with others, a sign of a strong and well-rounded mind. If you want to work on increasing your mental strength, read a variety of things that you enjoy.

Try to learn something new every week - Ever get the feeling that each day looks a lot the same? As we get older, our mental pathways are more and more defined. Where each summer day seemed to last forever when we were kids, the weeks peel off more quickly as you age. Mental strength requires that you continue building new neural pathways by learning new things.

Socialize more - "Book smarts" are important, but it's also important to understand how things play out in the real world. Social intelligence and wit are important parts of all-around mental health and well-being. If you can't carry on a conversation, work on your social skills along with your mental health building skills.

Challenge yourself - Try things that you're not sure you'll be able to pull off. Decide that you're not only going to learn guitar, but that you're going to learn to shred a fast solo note-for-note. Decide that you're not only going to play chess, but that you're going to study openings and learn to play like a grandmaster. Keep working on a task until you're at the difficult setting.

Exercise your mind regularly - Just as you can't build muscle by eating cake for three weeks straight before you start lifting at the gym, you can't gain mental strength by goofing off and then focusing only every now and then. Being consistent with brain exercise is more important than the intensity of the workout.

Building Those Mental Muscles .... 3

Improving Concentration

Do one thing at a time - Splitting your attention among multiple tasks makes the quality of thought that you're giving to each task less. A recent social and psychological study revealed that chronic multi-tasking in a variety of interactive media makes us poorer students, workers, and less efficient learners.

Take frequent short breaks - Recent studies show that as short a break as five minutes every hour results in more efficiency than a single long break in the middle of a workday. Let your brain rest and refresh, to give yourself the best chance of staying mentally strong throughout a difficult task.

Get rid of distractions - For lots of people, the chatter of the radio in the background, or the noise of the television is part of almost every minute. If you have a lot of white noise and static in your life, try replacing it with soft relaxing music. Let yourself focus on doing one thing only, instead of trying to entertain yourself while you work.

Be here now - It may sound overly simple, but one excellent way of focusing your attention back to a task when you find your mind wandering is to remind yourself, "Be here now." Don't think about what you're eating for lunch, or what you're doing later tonight, or what's going to happen this weekend. Just be here now and do what you're doing.

Building Those Mental Muscles .... 5

Calming Your Mind

Be optimistic - Go into each task you perform assuming that you will succeed. Having the right attitude will ensure that your mind is focused in the right places, staying clear of the negative thoughts that can drag you down. Emotional support and strength start within.

Let go of petty thoughts - To stay calm and positive, try to let go of petty ego-driven thoughts and concerns, and focus on what's most important. Is what you're wearing important? Is where you're going for dinner? Is what you're going to do this weekend critical to your well-being and mental health? Probably not.

Assume the best intentions of others - Don't go looking for something to make you angry or frustrated. Take things at face value and don't over-think your interactions. Your boss probably isn't singling you out and picking on you irrationally. Your friends probably aren't spreading rumors about you behind your back. Stay strong and be confident. You've got this.

MeditateTaking a bit of time in your day to slow down and focus your thoughts can help you build a strong and calm mind. Meditation doesn't have to be a strange or mystical experience, either. Just find a quiet place and sit for 15-45 minutes each day. That's it.

Do physical exercise as well as mental exercise - Exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which help to calm and strengthen your brain. Getting 30 minutes of exercise a few days a week will help you to stay calmer and more mentally strong. Additionally, one form of exercise that helps the mind relax and can greatly improve mental toughness, is yoga.

Building Those Mental Muscles .... 7

Okhane is about sharing your experiences. The things that work and the the things that don't. We want to help you, help yourself and those around you to improve the quality of your life through health & wellbeing. Get talking; get sharing; if something works for you, tell someone else, tell us so we can share with others.

You can positively affect one persons life today .... please do it. That is single thought that started Okhane 8 years ago. It's a difficult challenging world out there and we need to start working a little better together & being a little kinder to ourselves and those around us.

Okhane means "to get out there" .... let's not live behind closed doors.

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