30 seconds to Mental Toughness
Playing baseball in high school, all I wanted for Christmas was to go to a baseball camp in Sarasota Florida. As a pitcher, we learned these strengthening exercises that are now the norm. The Major League instructor told us all that when we returned home, we wouldn’t do these exercises. I balked at the notion, bought the 5 lb weights and performed these rotational movements. He was correct however, this lasted just a few weeks…
Mental Toughness is often difficult to evaluate because it involves our response to difficult and/or stressful situations. It means doing those things that we simply don’t want to do, getting out of our comfort zone, and taking care of the little things that it takes to be a champion.
Most of you will dismiss this exercise, won’t see any value, and scoff at the notion that 30-seconds can build your mental strength. Here it is:
At the end of your shower, turn the water on cold for 30 seconds….
We must not fear 30-seconds of a cold shower. If you do a tough mudder, it’ll be much worse. It’s like doing the ice-bucket challenge, but in your shower and for longer, and no-one will film it. The 30-seconds is no different than pushing yourself in a race or workout, or having a pressure situation in a game. You have to push through it and focus. More importantly, you must recognize the type of thoughts that arise and how to control these thoughts.
What’s amazing though is the fear and apprehension to the build up. Trust me, you will not die! Yes, it will be uncomfortable, most likely take your breath away, and involve some physical reactions to the cold water.
The cold water causes you to narrow your focus and it’ll be near impossible to distract yourself from the sensation. You’ll notice immediately what your thoughts attend to and you’ll instantly develop a strategy.
You can count to thirty, sing yourself, spin around, or tell yourself motivating statements.
Either way, you’ll find very quickly what type of thoughts enter your mind and what you do with them. At the end, bask in the thought that you just did what most aren’t willing to do. Carry that motivation into your day.
Of course, you can refuse this 30-second test, no-one will know… except for you.
“Do something everyday for no other reason than you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test.”-William James
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness