Well-Being//

How to Build Resilience by Exercising Your Mind

Imagine your mind is a bicep, and flex!

Mental sweat for resiliency and perseverance

This is the kind of sweat not typically prescribed or easily explained. It is the kind of sweat needed to persevere…the kind of sweat that your mind produces when building willpower. It’s when you’re two weeks into a new training program and you’re finding yourself drifting into excuse-land. This is the sweat that is needed to shake you out of your funk and bring you back on course. It’s also most likely the hardest form of sweat to create.

The kind of sweat we’re talking about is mental sweat — mindsweat if you will. We need to talk about mindsweat just as often as we do physical sweat, because no matter what your goal is, you’re going to need to show up and do the work.

And when you do show up (ready or not), it’s going to take regular sweat each and every time in order to create new brainpower to launch you forward toward your goal. Just like physical sweat, you’re going to need to repeat the work regularly to see the mental gains. Imagine your mind is a bicep —#flexfriday doesn’t happen without training.

Mindsweat may not ooze out of your pores from increased heart rate, blood pressure or dynamic body movement. It may even come in waves of motivation. It doesn’t mean, however, that you aren’t doing the work. You’re sweating more than you realize. Every time counts.

This mental sweat is now your mindsweat. You’ve built it. It’s how you approach difficult tasks time after time. Each time you’ve encountered a tough situation, you’ve toughened up your mind to handle more. Most likely, you learned a lesson or two with each challenge. Your mind, following how muscles react, remembers the tough situation and draws on its’ resiliency. Continue to build up this resiliency, and your mindsweat is stronger.

To make sure you’re getting the most out of the work you’re putting in, here are a few things to remember:

  • Revisit how you made it through a challenging situation.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Recharging is important for building resiliency.
  • Find one quiet moment to reflect. Even 5 minutes is effective.
  • Revisit your original goal. Revise if necessary, but don’t give up.
  • Physical sweat helps build willpower and perseverance. Get moving to release stress and have some “you time.”
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Find opportunities to be proud of your progress.


So, next time you take a moment to work on your goal, reset your mind or bring yourself out of a funk, give yourself a fist-bump for your mindsweat. You’re on your way to feeling recharged, confident and ready to persevere through life’s next challenge.

Originally published at medium.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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