We know today that we must take care of the body for it to be healthy. No one would ever question whether it’s necessary to brush our teeth every day.We just do it on a daily basis, because we don’t want our teeth to get sick.
Same with our overall health. We don’t just wait to get sick, we proactively cultivate health by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and working out regularly.
Physical health seems like something we have down (for the most part).
Where most of us are having trouble, however, is with our emotional and mental health. We underestimate to which degree our mental health directly affects our physical health. Tight muscles, headaches, backpain, high blood pressure and diarrhea are just the tip of the iceberg.
And in sports we often forget how our mental stability affects our physical performance….
Studies have shown: Stress is the number one contributor for our bodies to get sick.
It is also the number one reason why we mess up a squat snatch and over-pace ourselves in a workout. The injury risk is also higher when we are emotionally tense. Stress and emotional tension will limit our capacity to fully perform. Especially when we’re in a competitive setting where the pressure is high.
How can we cultivate sustainable emotional and mental health in a world that’s all about 12h workshifts, speed and overload?
Here are three key elements that might seem apparent to all of us, yet remain unaddressed more often than not:
Jim Rohn once said: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.
The people we spend time with most will impact how we feel, how we think and ultimately how we act.
Choose wisely. Choose people that support you in your dreams. Even if it’s not important to them because they’re not that much into sports or competitions. If they care about you, they will give support simply because it is important to YOU.
Stay away from people who try to sabotage your emotional equilibrium and success in CrossFit by either negating your achievements or entitlement to be the best version of you. It has more to do with them than you with you.
Find other friends. There will be people that won’t do that to you.
A supportive environment will help you to reduce stress in order to achieve high performance in any aspect of your life.
Unforgiveness is a withhold of love. We are armed, we are tough, we are stressed. Forgiveness is not something we do for someone else. Being mad at someone for a longer period of time is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.
We forgive to free ourselves from emotional and mental pain. Is it really worth jeopardizing your performance in a competition or your training session?
Whenever it’s hard for you to let go of judgement ask yourself: Do I prefer to be right or happy?
Because you’re right- they wronged you. It’s not about invalidating anybody’s pain. But it is about validating our capacity to move beyond it.
Accept what happened. Forgive yourself. Learn from it.Move on.
Meditation is the purification of the mind just as much as taking a shower takes the dirt off of our body.
We would never leave the house with dirt on our body. But we routinely leave the house with yesterday’s stress on our mind.
We get up in the morning and immediately check our phone, we go to facebook and absorb the agenda of other people (negative or positive), we skip breakfast, rush out of the door, havn’t spent a second with ourselves and wonder why we feel emotionally and mentally numb in so many areas of our lives.
At the end of a 12h work shift, we feel exhausted and at the same time wonder why we got so little done??
We also feel like we are wasting time with meaningless things. We are depressed. Because it’s true.
We then try to feel better about ourselves by making a lot of money, earning a higher degree, driving a more expensive car, buying the most trendy clothes or posting a selfie on Instagram.
Marianne Williamson appropriately describes this type of behaviour as “temporary relief of minor existential pain”.
What this has to do with CrossFit is that how you do anything is how you do everything.
If you’re not in touch with yourself, you’re not in touch with yourself period.
This also entails that you won’t know when enough is enough. You will over-train, neglect technique and the signs your body is giving you. Your internal chatter will also influence how much you can concentrate on an important lift.
They say “It’s all in your head” and that’s pretty much the worst place it could be in that case.
5-10 minutes of Meditation in the morning are enough to set the right tone.
You are what you think. Not what you think you are. Make sure you get your head right before anything else.