What it means to me to have psychological grit

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When you think about what it means to have courage, does determination come to mind? What about discipline, mental strength and tenacity? According to one definition, 'courage' means the 'courage and determination; Strength of character." If you're like most people, a favorite athlete, competitor, or superhero comes to mind when you think about who that represents.

However, does “mental toughness” mean the same thing as “mental toughness,” especially when it comes to physical fitness?

Mental toughness is the ability to stay focused on your goal and persevere while achieving it, despite the obstacles you encounter, says Kellie K. Middleton, MD/MPH, orthopedic surgeon at rthside Hospital of the Orthopedic Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. “That's about having the mental toughness to stay in control and stay committed when the going gets tough. Mental toughness also means bouncing back from setbacks quickly, spotting mistakes, and working on solutions instead of feeling sorry for yourself. It's about learning from mistakes and moving forward instead of stagnating.”

Mental courage, on the other hand, is the sustained effort and tenacity with which one stays on course to achieve a specific goal, she says. “It's about staying focused despite difficulties, distractions and discouragements. Unlike mental toughness, which is concerned with an athlete's response to a difficult situation, mental toughness focuses more on an athlete's actions while enduring them.”

"It's easy to use terms interchangeably, but 'courage' and 'mental toughness' are conceptually different yet related," says Stephen P. Gonzalez, PhD, CMPC, athletics associate director for leadership and mental performance at Corrigan Family Dartmouth- College. "Courage relates to one's passion and perseverance for a goal, while mental toughness...may relate to a person's ability to have the 4Cs: commitment, control, confidence, and a challenging mindset to withstand stressors or pressure."

Here mental health experts and professionals as well as youth athletes discuss how to manage the mental aspects of competition while overcoming physical challenges.

How to master the mental aspects of competition

Athletes need mental toughness to push physical, mental, and emotional boundaries in training and competition, says Dr. Amy Saltzman Author: Still Quiet Place for Athletes: Mindfulness Skills for Achieving Peak Performance and Finding Flow in Sports and in Life. "That mental toughness needs to be balanced with a healthy respect for those boundaries, otherwise athletes risk serious injury or mental health issues."

Relying on mental toughness -- like fatigue or pain -- during a physical challenge can help the athlete overcome limiting thoughts and beliefs like "I can't do this" or "I've already lost." This momentary mental toughness needs to be balanced with rest and recovery or it will lead to injuries, burnout and mental health issues," says Dr. Salzman. Practicing mindfulness is an important practice for athletes, she says. "This can help them learn to tune into their bodies, hearts and minds as they learn to work through the normal aches and pains of training and competing, while also appreciating the more worrisome stinging and stabbing that can indicate serious injury or mental health issues." indicates. ” Knowing the difference is so important!

"Evolved mental play enables an athlete to reach the limit that the brain and body experience during challenging workouts and find a way to push it back," says Gonzalez. “Whenever an athlete experiences fatigue or stress, the mind immediately bursts into thoughts that are usually questioning or counterproductive. Mental toughness will allow one to have the poise and presence to see the thoughts, stay calm, lean in, and try to stay within that boundary to avoid being pushed back.”

Making decisions and sticking to them takes more than determination, says Tom Miller, CPT. “Our cultural ideal is resilience in the face of hardship. It's an "ideal" because not everyone can achieve it. Also, it's all too easy to see resilience under duress as an innate quality.” The majority of people cope well with some circumstances but struggle with others. For example, training a decathlete cannot overlook any of these traits and requires ample time for success. If not, they'll excel at the shot put but fail at the javelin throw and the 1,500-meter dash, he says. "Similarly, if you want to build mental muscle, you need to leverage your strengths and address your shortcomings," Miller suggests.

Here's how teenage athletes practice mental toughness in their daily lives

"I'm constantly putting myself in difficult and stressful situations and I'm constantly evolving both physically and mentally," said Christopher Gielbeda, 17, Senior, Glen Cove HS NY, Wrestler. “I do this so that when I find myself in a difficult situation on the wrestling mat, I have the confidence, courage and mental toughness to know that I am the one who has the competitive advantage and outperforms my opponent will."

"I know that when I go to the gym I might not be the fastest, most athletic or most talented, but I do know that I will do my best to compete as best I can," says Kate Jackson, 17, Senior, basketball player at Highland Park High School, Dallas, TX.

"Discipline is more important than motivation" is a quote I live by," said Chase Magrisi, 18, US Navy ROTC Midshipman, University of South Carolina. “Physical fitness is an important part of the Navy training program and includes three weekly group training sessions in addition to scheduled runs and fitness tests tracked as part of the overall performance measurement. Practicing motivation with rewards can only go so far. Those 5 a.m. report times come fast after long hours in the library, so discipline is an essential part of my mindset to stay fit, keep up with our PT program, and work toward top marks in the Navy and my education.

“Training for the pentathlon multisport challenges me as I prepare for events, but I need to stay positive and keep pushing when elements during competition don't go as planned,” says pentathlete Kira Bardin, 15, of The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, Pentathlon Multisport, U-17 National Champion for USA Pentathlon Multisport. “While being in the lead position for an entire event would be great [which includes horse jumping, epee fencing, running, laser shooting, and swimming] The most exciting results were where I had to persevere and come from behind to win. As we say in my equestrian events, "If you fall off your horse, the most important thing is to get back on as soon as possible." [Athletes] We mustn't wallow in fear of failure, we must use the adrenaline to get going at full speed. The feeling of victory after overcoming obstacles is second to none!”

This is sponsored content. M&F does not endorse the sites or products listed in this article.

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