'IT ALL BEGINS AND ENDS IN YOUR MIND’
Neurologists found, on behalf of the US Navy, that successful Navy Seal BUDS candidates used four main mental strength mechanisms to help them prepare for the selection process. This is what is known as the 4 Pillars of Mental Toughness as is taught to all new Seal BUDS applicants.
NAVY SEAL PILLAR #1: SETTING GOALS
As opposed to seeing the big picture all the time, Seal candidates were successful if they could laser-focus on short-term goals to complete the challenges they faced at BUDS. They focused on one task at a time and essentially ignored the part of the brain telling them to worry and quit as they proactively approached each stage as a separate entity, to avoid getting overwhelmed by the entirety of the whole event. This segmentation technique and mental strength hack is commonly referred to as ‘Eating the elephant’ – one bite at a time.
NAVY SEAL PILLAR #2: MENTAL VISUALISATION
By visualising a scenario, you are practicing it in your mind. See it, feel it, achieve it. Visualisation techniques may seem very simple yet totally implausible as you may not know if you are doing it right. The trick is to slow things down and feel yourself going through the motions. Analyse your technique and improve on errors in your mind. Imagine doing the task wrong then correcting yourself to prepare for the unpredictability of your challenging tasks. This substantiates the connection between the body and the mind. This will help Seal candidates when it comes to underwater emergency procedures whilst being attacked by the directing staff! Going through the motions of what to do when your respirator is disconnected before the event will help reinforce calmness at that moment of chaos.
NAVY SEAL PILLAR #3: POSITIVE SELF TALK
People tend to talk to themselves at around 800-1600 words a minute which is very fast. Seal candidates use this mental strength hack to their advantage by using positive self-talk anywhere, anytime. Seals will remind themselves that selection is merely a course which many people have passed. It can be done. A constant stream of positive self-talk serves as a persistent nudge to keep going.
NAVY SEAL PILLAR #4: AROUSAL CONTROL
Our bodies release cortisol and endorphins at times of stress. It causes palms to sweat, hearts to pump harder and normal bodily function to cease. The 4x4 breathing technique is taught to Seals to counter these effects. To mimic your heart rate at its normal resting speed, employ the following box method: Inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds followed by a hold for four seconds: 4x4x4x4. It is recommended to repeat for 5 minutes.
NAVY SEAL PILLAR BONUS: THE MENTAL STRENGTH HACK EBOOK
The 4 pillars above have been taken from the Special Forces Mental Strength Hacks ebook where you will be able to get actionable coping mechanisms, fast acting strategies and unique wisdom from the world’s elite. The ebook, with 39 mental strength hacks, has been written for whoever may find these special forces inspired mental strength hacks useful in any stage of life; whether you are a professional in business, an athlete, a student or indeed a potential or current soldier.
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