Building Mental Toughness in Sports: Foundation of Mental Wellness
Mental toughness is a word used a lot in the world of athletics. I myself have written a book on it. It is something many athletes want, coaches and parents talk about. It is a word that can have different meanings for different people, and since a lot of the time it isn't well defined it is hard to really point to what someone needs to do or can do to develop it.
Mental toughness is needed in moments, but it isn't the thing really to look to have all the time, it should be reserved for the times when things are tough, when you have to dig a little bit deeper. At the core of high performance is mental wellness. Without mental wellness you can't sustain mental toughness. Simply by being "mentally tough", doesn't equal the ability to sustain peak performance. It is through mental wellness where this occurs.
Mental wellness is what you do day in and day out to help be well. Things such as sleep, meditation, eating right, time in nature, laughter, detaching from social media or technology in general. If you look at mental wellness, much like physical wellness, you see it is small choices done every day that helps to build this foundation. When athletes train their body it is for strength and wellness. When they think about what to eat it is the same thing. Now there will be moments when they need to be physically tough, but that is not what they are doing day in and day out, they wouldn't be able to sustain it.
To help with this, it is good to write out a mental wellness checklist. Things that you know you need to do day in and day out to create this foundation of mental wellness, so in the moments when you need to be "tough" you have a strong foundation to stand on and can. Here is an example. It may seem simple, but that is point. Being proactive and setting yourself up on a daily basis, comes down to small, seemingly insignificant moments and choices.
Mental wellness checklist
Drink 80 ounces of water
Meditate 20 minutes
Morning routine to get my day going right
Set intentions in morning for day
Self reflection at night time
Read 15 pages from a book
30 Minute walk each day
Think about the foundation you need to have the mental wellness you desire so you can have the mental toughness you need in those critical times.
To your success,
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Kate Allgood Masters Sport Psychology (with distinction) Masters General Psychology (with distinction) Sports Hypnosis Certification Mindfulness Certification
TAIS Assessment Certified