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Mastery through Mindfulness

Professional Triathlete, Holly Benner, discusses a couple ways to help you achieve a more mentally tough mindset.
Holly Benner participating in a Swim/Run Race Image provided by Holly Benner

In this current age of “visualization”, “mindfulness”, and “meditative contemplation”, mental toughness is trendy. It can help in business, personal relationships, and most importantly for us - sports. An individual's ability to cope with difficult situations and overcome obstacles can allow them to be more consistent, more confident, push harder, and ultimately, succeed.  Athletes may have physical limits, which are adapted from hard/consistent training, but mental toughness is what determines how close to those limits you are able to push… and most of us never truly get close. So what can you do?

Find resistance:  Doing things you don’t want to do is a great way to build mental toughness.  How do you do it? Repetition.  The more you practice the more you’ll train your mind to accomplish your goal.  If you think you’re going to have trouble running after the bike and you’re dreading it, run off the bike every time you ride. Some psychologists refer to this as “opposite action.” Doing the thing you don’t want to do in order to manage emotions and achieve behaviorally based break-throughs.  

Understand yourself:  Before you can unlock your potential mentally you have to start being honest with yourself. For example, have you defined your “why?” This is a more difficult question to answer than you may think. Are you training for you or for the Fear of Other People’s Opinions (FOPO)? Take your time to slow down and really look at yourself. If you need guidance, reach out to a professional. Know yourself and understand how thoughts influence emotions which influence behavior. To many, this awareness is a super power. 

The mental aspect of sport needs to be trained just like the physical, so keep at it!

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