We all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but according to science, so do positive thoughts. Athletes and psychologists alike swear by the importance of keeping a positive frame of mind and exercising something called “mental training.” Typically, this takes the form of self-talks, imagery and goal-setting.
Take it from marathon runner Ali Nolan, who posted an article detailing her mantras that get her through training and the marathon itself. Things like “easy does it, keep it steady” when she’s getting ahead of herself or “run with your heart” during times where she’s ready to give up; Nolan incorporates these inspiring quips into her routine to keep her going when she’s losing a mental battle. Whatever the use, she explains that they’re incredibly helpful when trying to focus her thoughts. Nolan includes a few other "running thoughts" in her article (listed below). Try using one of those - or even make your own! - the next time you find yourself veering off-course.
Regardless of the method, mental training has the potential to build three key points within you: confidence, concentration and motivation. When it comes to success, these three things are invaluable. As Rebecca Caroe writes, “self-belief is one of the biggest contributing factors to success” - whether it’s on race day, at work, or during a workout. Next time you find yourself stressing over work or sport, take time to set a realistic goal for yourself. Small, easy-to-reach goals will cultivate confidence over time, and reduce the amount of time you spend daydreaming. Caroe’s article explains that, “when we start [thinking] about the past or future, we create a stress response, which disables us from using the area of our brain that focuses on the present.” To help ourselves be free from stress and make the most out of our time, it’s vital that concentration on what we can control - rather than what we cannot - is prioritized. Through our efforts at increasing mental stoutness, we find ourselves confident in what we can accomplish, thus leading to happiness and health!
The physical gains of positive thinking are not to be ignored either. How you look at life has the possibility to help you cope with stress, improve your immunity and reduce your risk of heart disease and depression. Research shows that higher stimulation in areas of the brain that trigger negative emotions were paired with weaker immune responses to a flu vaccine. On the flip-side, people who lived optimistically were associated with a stronger immune response. However, like everything else, it’s crucial to remember that positive thinking and mental resilience require moderation. While studies show too much negativity is harmful to your health, so is too much happiness. Researchers say that people who are excessively optimistic have the possibility of overestimating themselves, thus weighing themselves down with more stress than they can handle - the opposite of what they were striving for in the first place!
We wish you the best for the last stretch of Summer holidays and hope to see you for your autumn tune-up soon!
Nolan, Ali. "Running Thoughts." Runner's World. N.p., 17 July 2015. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.
Caroe, Rebecca. "The Importance of Mental Training • Rowperfect UK."Rowperfect UK. N.p., 21 May 2015. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.
Cherry, Kendra. "The Benefits of Positive Thinking (For Body & Mind)."About.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.