We all know physical exercise is encouraged for healthy living, but what about mental exercise?
In recent research, scientists have dived into the study of Neuroplasticity which is our ability as humans to rewire our brains. Much like the muscles in your legs or biceps, your brain’s mental capabilities can be strengthened too.
Today I want to share some of the mindset exercises I regularly incorporate into my life. These have helped me overcome obstacles, adapt to new situations/opportunities and challenge negative thoughts that do not serve me.
With a bit of effort, I’m confident these techniques will help you strengthen your mental too!
Challenge your limiting thoughts
Recently I’ve been waking up at 6am 4 day’s a week to exercise at the gym. When I first started, everything in me wanted to stay in bed and sleep. My brain immediately began making excuses for why I couldn’t go and I almost listened – Until I did this exercise that is.
When a negative or limited thought creeps in, ask yourself, “But what does my life look if I don’t do (insert action or task)”.
For example, when my mind started insisting I stay home and sleep instead of working out I thought to myself “What does my life look like without me working out?” – then answer honestly. For me this would mean I feel weaker, I feel unable to keep up with my son during long physical games and I feel unhappy with my overall physical endurance.
When I hear myself answering the question honestly it becomes a no brainer what the right decision is. I deserve a life where I feel HAPPY and if me accomplishing this one task helps me get there then that’s what I’ll do.
This exercise is so simple and can be applied to anything you find difficult to accomplish. The key is to be brutally honest with yourself to weigh out the pros and cons of your decisions. When your “why” becomes strengthened and encouraged, you begin to rewire your thought patterns.
Once this happens consistently, your thoughts suddenly begin to shift from “I don’t want to do this” to “I don’t feel great if I don’t.”
Lean in to discomfort
According to Medical News Today, “Muscle size increases when a person continually challenges the muscles to deal with higher levels of resistance or weight. This process is known as muscle hypertrophy.”
To strengthen the brain we must also do the same. When we’re talking about our mind, “resistance or weight” can be in the form of uncomfortable or challenging opportunities. Venturing outside of your comfort zone builds resistance to “scary” or unfamiliar situations which only fortifies your mind in the long run.
So challenge yourself by leaning into those things you normally wouldn’t do. Apply for the things you don’t feel “qualified” for. It’ll only make you stronger in the end.
Learn and learn some more
The last way I like to strengthen my brain power is by learning new skills and information. For me personally, this looks like new entrepreneurial strategies but that’s not the only way! Pick up a new instrument, learn a new language, learn to file your own taxes – whatever you do let it be new.
Learning a new skill forces your brain to work. In order to be successful at new things it requires mental effort and this is exactly the kind of thing we’re looking for. When we aren’t consistently introducing new information our brains can become complacent.
Think of it like working a mundane job that requires very little effort. Eventually it just becomes habitual and your body learns to perform without thought. While mental breaks are beneficial every so often, the last thing we want is for our brain to be in vacay mode everyday. In order for our mindset to perform optimally on all levels it needs to stay working.
It also doesn’t hurt that learning new skills can help improve your memory according to a study in 2014.
Overall, the important thing to remember is your mind builds stronger with consistency. Give it your best effort daily and results will surely follow.
Til next time,
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