Now that we know the benefits of being mentally tough, as discussed throughout the 8 Factors of Mental Toughness article, let’s look at what we can do to improve our resilience to stress, change and life challenges.
Whilst we would love the power of waving a wand that instantly enhances your mental fitness, unfortunately it’s much like physical fitness. An individual must be passionately committed and adequately supported by people or the right exercises to achieve the end goal.
But there are also some other considerations that will improve your ability to make gains in mental fitness, that being personal attributes and team characteristics. There are 6 interventions that are proven to enhance the mental toughness or fitness of individuals and working groups.
What personal attributes effect Mental Toughness performance improvements?
Your abilities are a critical success factor. That being, what you bring to the task of improving your mental fitness. This includes:
- Your approach: How you approach the task, your motivation and your interests
- Your reward: What will you get if you get involved?
- Your family, colleagues, and friends: How you interact with those around you?
- Your state of mind: What is happening inside your head; are you in a state to rise to the challenge?
What team characteristics effect Mental Toughness performance?
The mental toughness of a team is a thing. The improvements in performance amongst a team that feels in control of their destiny, accountable and committed, goal-oriented and in a growth mind-set are highly desirable attributes for employee or work groups.
The team characteristics that can influence your mental toughness improvements are:
- Democratic, common, goals and objectives
- Effective communications
- Continuous improvement and problem solving (growth mindset)
- Interpersonal skills
- Feeling of success and involvement
Why bother developing Mental Toughness?
Clear links have been made between mental toughness or fitness and emotional intelligence. Mentally tough people enjoy the following 6 attributes:
1 Self Awareness – the ability to recognise own emotions and how they affect thoughts and behaviour.
2 Self-regulation – the ability to recognise own emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
3 Social skill – the ability to deal effectively with a range of people.
4 Empathy – the ability to understand others, especially when making decisions.
5 Self-motivation – being driven to achieve.
6 Enhanced physical health and improved recovery from trauma and illness.
Mental Toughness and the world of education
Mentally tough students can enjoy multiple academic, social and emotional benefits. These students will be:
- Better prepared for what life ‘throws at them’
- Able to cope with difficulties and challenges
- More resilient and able to avoid anxiety
- Better organized and able to plan their life
- Able to adopt positive thinking
- Skilled to consider how they perceive things
- Capable of bouncing back from setbacks
These attributes, if developed by the student, will help to satisfy employers desire for work-ready people (Strycharczyk & Clough, 2015).
Six Interventions supporting the development of Mental Toughness
These interventions all help an individual to develop the capability to deal with stress, pressure and challenge. These are all tools we can start to build into our lives ourselves, or with guidance from a mental health practitioner.
1 Positive thinking – affirmations, think three positives, turning negatives into positives, etc
2 Visualisation – guided imaging, using your head to practice, etc
3 Anxiety control – relaxation techniques, breathing, etc
4 Attentional control – focus, dealing with interruptions
5 Goal setting – SMART, balancing goals, how to deal with big goals, etc
6 The MTQ-Plus Questionnaire + related feedback – people respond to the feedback
Plus+ Biofeedback – monitoring self, guiding selection and adoption of tools and techniques
The importance of continuous learning
At Get Mentally Fit we aim to facilitate educational Programs for people so they can skilfully cultivate an environment of positive psychological development for themselves, their family, their colleagues, and their communities.
‘Mental toughness is more effectively learned rather than taught.’ (Strycharczyk & Clough, 2015).
That’s why our team at Get Mentally Fit work with you on short and long term mental fitness goals, depending upon your situation and priority areas.
This belief is central to the deliberate learning structure that supports Get Mentally Fit’s Programs and Services. More specifically, Kolb’s Learning Styles Model (see diagram above); Appreciative Inquiry Model (see diagram above); and VARK Learning styles, informs our educational approach to the delivery of our specific mental fitness content.
Take the first step – develop Mental Toughness
Get Mentally Fit’s, Principal Psychologist, Emily Johnson is an accredited facilitator of our Programs and Services that implement effectively customised interventions. Having the ability to reliable measure an individual’s personality traits allows us at Get Mentally Fit to skilfully achieve this.
Contact us to enquire into undertaking the pro-active step of identifying and implementing appropriate interventions that can effectively enhance your mental fitness.