Mental toughness and mindfulness is redirecting your mentality and perspective. It’s how you respond when the “going gets tough” and certainly is a frame of mind that is flexed, trained, and built over time. “Mental toughness is what you do when you start to feel uncomfortable. It’s definitely a trainable skill,” according to Justin Ross, Sports Psychologist.
Our mind creates all emotional thoughts that drive our experience in life. Our emotional thoughts can be organized with optimism or pessimism: on the pavement or trail, in the heated boardroom discussion or mid-argument in a relationship. Stepping back and noticing our emotions – the practice of mindfulness – allows us to lessen the impact those emotions have on our physical well-being.
Research indicates that mind-body therapies have the ability to lessen our relationship to and the experience of pain. According to Harvard Medical Health, methods such as deep breathing, meditation, guided imagery, yoga, and positive thought are valid training to strengthen the mind-body connection.
Barbara Frederickson, a pioneer of positive psychology, formulated that the more positive thoughts a person has the greater their resilience (like the final 4 miles of a marathon!) Through her research, she found that there is a seemingly perfect ratio of “positive to negative thought.” As humans, negative thought is bound to pop up. “There’s no way I can make it at this pace,” for example. For every negative thought, a healthy and resilient mind has three positive thoughts.
Bouncing back from negativity is a key skill. It helps us surpass the natural discomfort of training and racing.