3 Ways You Can Practice Your Mental Gymnastics


I work with people to develop their Mental Toughness. It’s not always easy. It takes dedicated practice and effort. But it is so worth it.

You have a choice.

You can step out of your comfort zone and experience learning and growth.

But first, you have to move through the discomfort of your danger zone.

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Mental Toughness is more than resilience alone. Individuals need not only to be able to bounce back after adversity strikes, they need to be able to be exposed to change and challenges and demonstrate their ability to thrive irrespective of the prevailing circumstances.

Mental Toughness can be broken down into the 4Cs of Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence.

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So how can you practice your mental gymnastics and focus on some of the elements of these 4Cs?

1) Follow the 80/20 rule.

Heard of Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 rule? We see this rule exist in so many different places. Originally The Pareto Principle referred to the observation that 80% of Italy’s wealth belonged to only 20% of the population. It can be applied to so may different situations. For example you might observe that a teacher spends 80% of their time with 20% of their students.

Recently, a leader I was coaching had a bit of an issue wrangling the idea of keeping her personal authenticty and developing her relationships with others and enhancing her interpersonal confidence. We worked on this model of the 80/20 rule. Why not consider your opportunity to stay 80% true to your authentic style and flex 20% of your style to recognise the needs of the person you are communicating with. You could then manage and enhance the relationship and build confidence in these interactions. You could flex this confidence muscle and practice your gymnastics every day when communicating.

2) Practice the PUSH

You may have heard of a gratitude diary – that is writing down three things you are grateful for in a diary at the end of the day. Well maybe you could add one more item to this diary entry. What has been your PUSH for the day?

What is the one thing you did that day that pushed you outside your comfort zone. It can be something small, like ordering a different type of coffee. Or it could be something big, like doing a presentation to your leadership team. But whether big or small, did you Push yourself, or challenge yourself in some way that day.

What if you practiced this every day so that you got better at pushing yourself out of your comfort zone so that when a challenge presented itself, you were not as worried to step into the danger zone.

3) If You Name It, You Can Tame It.

Often we are confused and upset and don’t have a clear understanding of why. But if we can name the emotion we are experiencing, we can tame it a whole lot better.

If you are not good with labelling your emotions, try a mood meter.

Just by asking whether the emotion has high or low energy and whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, you get a better understanding of what you are feeling.

• Recognise the emotion - “If you name it you can tame it”

• Understand the emotion – what generated it. What am I thinking that has lead to me generating this emotion

• Manage the emotion.

• Express the emotion – how can you do this in a productive way.

So go on, consider how you could practice your mental gymnastics every day to focus on the habits that could develop your Mental Toughness.

Want to know more about developing your Mental Toughness? Contact Michelle on 0412047590 or via email michelle@bakjacconsulting.com

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.