Working out is a measure of more than just your physical strength. When you approach a workout, you are testing more than just how fast you can move or how much you can lift. You are actively showing yourself how strong you are and how much your body can do for you. Working out is like being a scientist in a lab, testing your strength as a means to show yourself how capable you are, and the confidence gained from those tests can be easily translated into the rest of your life. A hard workout can make you feel like a champion, it can give you the confidence to tackle that tough board meeting, that hard assignment for work, or even parent with more patience.
Here’s my Top 3 Tips for Increasing Your Mental Resilience through Fitness:
1. Honor your body. Increasing your strength and your body’s capability to do work begins with accepting where your body’s current capacity to do work. Listening to your body and where it is at as a means to increase your strength means you will have gains in your workouts faster, but it also means you will have more success in your workouts. That successful feeling will entice you to continue to work out and have you feeling good about the work you are doing.
2. Let go of expectations. Oftentimes we begin a workout expecting the outcome to look or feel a certain way. Anything short of that standard can feel like a failure. With how busy our schedules are and how difficult it can be to make time for ourselves, any time you give to yourself to take care of your health and wellbeing is a victory. Focus on the current work you are doing, not what happened before or what is coming up. Give that work your absolute best for today. Even if the workout did not go as you anticipated, remember to give yourself credit for showing up.
3. Check your internal critic. Take notice of your internal monologue and what you tell yourself during your workout. Be kind to yourself. Working out is supposed to be hard. It is supposed to be challenging, it is designed to push your limits and leave you breathless. Acknowledge that, but if you notice any voice in your head criticizing you, tell that negative voice to sit down and be quiet. Never discount the work you are doing, the way you are showing up for yourself, or the strength you are gaining.