Mental fitness is the capacity to respond to life’s challenges with a positive rather than a negative mindset. It’s not about ignoring negative emotions. It’s about recovering faster.
Just like pain warns us to pull our hand away from a hot stove, negative emotions warn us that something needs to be addressed.
However, when we stay in negative emotions, our fight or flight stress response is activated, which makes us more impulsive. Often fights escalate, moods plummet, and mistakes requiring rework happen.
Life’s challenges are like the terrain we walk or climb. Everyday challenges are relatively flat and don’t require much effort. When we encounter these small hills, it’s fairly easy to switch to a positive perspective. But some challenges, like COVID, are so big they are like climbing a mountain. If we haven’t trained and don’t have enough fitness, we’re exhausted and may not make it up the mountain, let alone to the other side.
Just like physical fitness, mental fitness improves with training. Comparison studies reveal high mental fitness lead to: teams perform 31% better, salespeople sell 37% more and people live 10 years longer, are 3 times more creative, and are happier.
A study of 500,000 people from around the world revealed only 3 muscles need to be strengthened to improve mental fitness: the saboteur interceptor muscle, the sage amplifier muscle, and the self-command muscle. The saboteur interceptor muscle helps us recognize when we are in negative emotion, the sage amplifier muscle taps into our strength to see what’s possible and take action from a positive perspective, and the self-command muscle helps us shift from saboteur to sage perspectives.
How has strengthening mental fitness impacted Wendy and Lisa?
Lisa and her family moved themselves over 3 extremely long days just to find they would have no internet for 2 – 3 weeks, Lisa’s computer was dead, and their washing machine was so full of mold they couldn’t stop sneezing. After a short period of ranting while scraping out the mold, Lisa was able to put everything in perspective, find solutions to the problems, and go back to being thrilled about buying her dream house. Because she had empathy for her husband and son, they returned the favor, and there were no fights despite the physical exhaustion and unexpected challenges.
Wendy at times will freeze up when she has to do something big. A part of her brain just wants to stay with what’s pleasant, easy and known, which isn’t an option for an entrepreneur! The stress of the pandemic made it hard for her to find her voice with marketing and outreach. As her mental fitness grew it was like finding the key. She’s on fire now, with so much good stuff to share. Internally she recognizes when resistance and friction are building and knows how to quiet it.
Next episode: Ways of strengthening our self-command muscle and the impact of this
We’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions, please contact us at Connect2Potential or Lisa Brewer Coaching. Wishing you all a wonderful week.
Wendy McManus, ACC, CPCC
Leadership Coach, Connect 2 Potential
Wendy McManus knows that thriving teams are the key to stellar results. As a leadership coach, she draws out the true genius in each of her clients, helping them become more confident, capable leaders of their own thriving teams. Wendy’s clients expand their self-awareness and build more authentic
relationships with their co-workers, leading to stronger business outcomes. She shines a light on their inner dialogue, which empowers each of her clients to gain massive traction toward their most important goals. Wendy brings her extensive experience, including 17 years of success as a leader in
produce marketing, to her work as a Leadership Coach. She is doing the work she was born to do and loving every minute of it!
Learn more at connect2potential.com
Lisa Brewer, PCC, CPCC
Leadership and Life Coach, Lisa Brewer Coaching
Taking on new responsibilities often requires an expanded skill set. Lisa helps smart, ambitious project managers, entrepreneurial service providers, and coaches accelerate though this learning curve. She helps them clarify their vision and develop the plans, skills, and behaviors to achieve their goals. Lisa blends coaching, teaching, and pointing to resources to meet her clients’ specific professional and personal objectives. Over Lisa’s 20-year career she’s held positions from project manager to executive director and worked with Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits to small businesses. As her clients apply their strengths creatively and take courageous actions, their confidence, pride, and joy grows.
Learn more at lisabrewercoaching.com