Three Ways to Build Mental Resilience

Always feel anxious about things not going to plan? Use these three tips to help build mental resilience in the face of adversity

It’s Ok to feel scared of new challenges, but let go and be open to learning

In the 1980’s, research psychologist Suzanne Kobasa and Salvatore Maddi followed a group of managers over the course of 12 years to better understand and define the notion of ‘hardiness.’

The study found that some managers suffered burnout and a decline in health while others fared much better despite facing the same challenges. So, what was the secret of those managers who fared well?

“Those who thrived maintained three key beliefs that helped them turn adversity into an advantage: commitment, control and challenge attitudes.”

American Psychological Association

Focus on what you can control

Over the last few years of the pandemic, we’ve all had to adapt to huge changes outside of our control. For many people, this has been deeply unsettling but an equal number of people have proved resilient, pivoting their lives and business to reflect a new reality.

‘Whether it is training for an event, a work or relationship situation, focus on what you do have control over,’ explains Girls Run the World founder, Rachael Woolston. ‘A training plan gives you structure, and steps to follow so it’s broken down into bite sized chunks.

‘I also recommend writing a race strategy journal, detailing how you will approach race day to help stop you stressing about variables such as the weather, which you have no control over.’

Commitment and Consistency

Achieving goals requires work. The ‘if only’ mindset does not result in action.

Start where you are and commit to the journey that will progress you towards your goal.

‘Whether you want to run your first 5km, podium at an Ironman or achieve a work/life target, set tangible steps to reach that goal and stay consistent and committed,’ says Rachael.

And don’t be afraid of sharing your goal with others who can support you and be open to opportunities and experiences along the way.

Be OK with it going wrong

The key is to turn stressful situations into opportunities for new learning. By reframing negative thoughts, we can learn to view obstacles as challenges and develop a flexible mindset which allows for a greater level of adaptability.

Flip ‘I feel nervous’ into ‘I feel excited.’

Think of some of your worst race-day moments or those times in training when everything just went wrong; getting a puncture, losing your goggles, wearing the wrong kit.

All of these things have taught you something and contributed to an important learning curve that contribute to a change in your experience the next time around.

And it’s not just about turning the hard things we face into challenges. Another way to develop this sense of hardiness is to set yourself audacious goals to work towards them. 

Is there anything more rewarding or satisfying than finally achieving that goal you’ve set yourself after putting in the work? It’s why that finish line feeling of invincibility is just so good!

If you want to challenge yourself with a new running or triathlon goal, our digital training platform has plans, premium content and resources to really put you in control of your training journey.

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