Mental Resilience

Aldo

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Some great advice in here already I think a big one for me is the fact that you need to acknowledge negative emotions but not to let them coax you into a depression. Just note them and force yourself up crack on with your day and they pass
 

Nutter

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Really decent thread @Mac_t1lt
It comes down to when shit is at its hardest how do you react? When life deals you a shit hand what sort of bloke are you? These are the things I think p company will expose
 

Nutter

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I’d say P Coy is like one massive hurdle to jump over. A culmination of twenty odd weeks of hard work, gruelling phys and more hard work.
 

Iron

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Fear is contagious, especially from a leader of men. It is essential to conceal your fear, control it and retain a calm and collected air about you. To borrow a line from junior brecon : Grip self- Grip men - Grip Situation.
Keep this thread going. I want to see your take on resillence and mechanisms and approaches for ensuring a healthy mind. I will check back in to this thread in a few days.
 

smudge67

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You can find quite a lot of resources on the British Army website which covers mental resilience.

https://www.army.mod.uk/people/join-well/mental-resilience/

And a great resource I've found is a book called Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins.

However. From my own experience, a book or a power point presentation alone isn't going to help you very much. The brain is a muscle after all and like all muscles without "progressive overload" it won't grow. What I mean by this is that you actually need to get out and put yourself in situations which test your metal resilience. I am not just talking about physical demanding situations either.

Though physical fitness is a core pillar of mental resilience it's not the be-all and end-all. For example, if you are scared of heights, being able to do 80 press-ups in two minutes and run a sub 8 minute mile and half isn't going to help you overcome that fear. The only thing that will help you, is by putting yourself in a situation that allows you to overcome that fear (safely). Take up rock climbing etc. You need to be putting yourself in situations that force you to confront fears and insecurities.
 

smudge67

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Another resource I've found interesting is this article .

It also has an accompanying video.

Develop Mental Toughness With These Strategies​


1. Eat the Whole Elephant

Eating the whole elephant is a strange term that refers to breaking down a big task (like eating an elephant) into much smaller and more manageable chunks. You then focus purely on those short-term goals, rather than considering the overwhelming challenge that you may find daunting.

That means a SEAL might not think at all about getting through all of Hell Week, but rather just getting through the next “evolution.”

Likewise, in the gym this might mean that instead of trying to perform 1 minute of battleropes when you’re exhausted, you instead break this down into six ten second chunks. Ten seconds is nothing, right?

2. Four-by-Four for Four

Four-by-Four for Four is a breathing technique used by SEALs that requires you to breathe in for four seconds, hold for four, breathe out for four seconds, hold for four, and then continue. It’s similar to techniques used in yoga.

By doing this, you are able to focus on something other than what’s going on around you (your breathing) and thereby calm your mind as you might do in nearly any form of meditation.

At the same time though, you’ll also be sending calm signals via your vagal nerve to your autonomic nervous system. This can reduce anxiety and arousal and help you to feel calmer as you take on the next challenge. It can be considered a form of arousal control, and is similar to how you might prevent a panic attack by controlling breathing.

3. Nonreactivity

Nonreactivity is essentially like the mental toughness equivalent of a flow state. It means that you’re going to switch off from your situation and the implications and instead focus purely on the moment. This is a kind of zen state where your body just does what needs to be done, while you maintain a calm focus.

Nonreactivity is a state you might find yourself in naturally when you push yourself beyond your limits, and it can allow you to tap into deep reserves of strength and endurance. Swimmers experience something similar called a “swim coma.” Once you’ve achieved this state once, you’ll find it easier to reach in future.

But you can also improve your chances of experiencing this state by using mindfulness meditation, and even by adopting a stoic philosophy. Stoicism teaches us not to try and create a life of sunshine and rainbows, but to expect that sometimes bad things happen. That is outside our control and what we can control is our reaction to those things.

Your body just does what needs to be done
By learning not to dwell on the negative and to stay focused during intense challenge, we can get through nearly anything.

4. Cognitive Behavioural Threapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a topic I’ve gone into in depth in the past, so I won’t beat a dead horse here. What this means though, is becoming more aware of your own thoughts and beliefs, such that you can begin to replace the negative and unuseful ones with more suitable alternatives – using a process called “cognitive restructuring.”

In short, you need to try to find what thoughts are actually motivating you to quit, and then to assess whether they’re at all logical.

For instance, we often listen to our body telling us to stop training because we’re worried that we’re going to injure ourselves. But as David Goggins points out, our brain often starts telling us we’re done when we’re really only about 40% spent! You can definitely walk another 100 meters with those kettlebells without injury then.

Likewise, I’ve done some personal reflection and found that often the reason I don’t want to be productive or workout in the evenings is because I’m trying to preserve my sleepy state AND to communicate to others that I’m done. This isn’t me consciously shirking my responsibility, but rather an unconscious motivation to embrace the tiredness.

Our brain starts telling us we’re done when we’re really only about 40% spent
Simply knowing that this is what is going on, now allows me to push through that feeling and train anyway. If I exercise, I’ll feel awake and better. And that’s a GOOD thing!

There’s no point getting disheartened when things go wrong. No point giving up when the going gets tough. So why do you do it? Time to do some soul searching!
 

Chelonian

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You need to be putting yourself in situations that force you to confront fears and insecurities.
Very true. Many 'fears' are more often just unfamiliarity with a particular environment. As an example, anyone can easily and confidently walk along a scaffold plank when it is laid on the ground. Put that same scaffold plank sixty feet into the sky and our brains register the potential risk and physiologically try to protect us. Evolution, eh?

Walk and then run along that high plank a few times and there's a massive confidence boost which carries over into other supposedly impossible challenges.

I'm not suggesting climbing all over a building site at night... it's just an example, obvs. 🙂
 

Nutter

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Very true. Many 'fears' are more often just unfamiliarity with a particular environment. As an example, anyone can easily and confidently walk along a scaffold plank when it is laid on the ground. Put that same scaffold plank sixty feet into the sky and our brains register the potential risk and physiologically try to protect us. Evolution, eh?

Walk and then run along that high plank a few times and there's a massive confidence boost which carries over into other supposedly impossible challenges.

I'm not suggesting climbing all over a building site at night... it's just an example, obvs. 🙂

I suppose a big one for baby Paras is actually parachuting? I assume it’s just a case of responding to a command, not overthinking and just committing?
 

Big_Shep

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Very true. Many 'fears' are more often just unfamiliarity with a particular environment. As an example, anyone can easily and confidently walk along a scaffold plank when it is laid on the ground. Put that same scaffold plank sixty feet into the sky and our brains register the potential risk and physiologically try to protect us. Evolution, eh?

Walk and then run along that high plank a few times and there's a massive confidence boost which carries over into other supposedly impossible challenges.

I'm not suggesting climbing all over a building site at night... it's just an example, obvs. 🙂

I remember reading once that perceiving threat is actually hard wired into us by evolution. Out on the Savannah you might mistake a bush blowing in the wind to be a lion and you run away, if it turns out to be nothing but a bush happy days. If the same thing happens in reserve and you think it’s just a bush blowing in the wind when in fact it’s a hungry lion and you don’t react.. guess who’s genes are going to get passed on. What I’m saying is fear is very important and hardwired into us

Shep
 

Chelonian

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I suppose a big one for baby Paras is actually parachuting? I assume it’s just a case of responding to a command, not overthinking and just committing?
Just a personal opinion but don't get too hung up (see what I did there?) about parachuting. it's just a method of delivery. It's what the boots on the ground do that counts.
The sixteen-year-old female care assistant who looked after my old pa in a nursing home did a charity tandem jump.

Arguably it takes more bottle to refuse to jump than it does to step out of the door. Once qualified the consequences of refusing are serious.
 

Big_Shep

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Just keeping this rolling. You can challenge negative thoughts with logical answers.

• There is always a different way to look at it.
• Thoughts are not facts,
they are just thoughts (opinions).
• This means that thoughts can be wrong.

Shep
 

Woody

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Just keeping this rolling. You can challenge negative thoughts with logical answers.

• There is always a different way to look at it.
• Thoughts are not facts,
they are just thoughts (opinions).
• This means that thoughts can be wrong.

Shep

I really like this outlook, and it's something I try to do not just with training etc but with everyday life. I always try to find the positives or lessons in any negative things that happen to me, and use them/build on them for the future. Usually you can identify why it's happened, figure out why it's made you feel like that, and alter how you think about it next time. It means (for me at least) that I don't dwell on things and let them hang over me.
 

Big_Shep

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I really like this outlook, and it's something I try to do not just with training etc but with everyday life. I always try to find the positives or lessons in any negative things that happen to me, and use them/build on them for the future. Usually you can identify why it's happened, figure out why it's made you feel like that, and alter how you think about it next time. It means (for me at least) that I don't dwell on things and let them hang over me.
It’s an important topic as it relates to operational effectiveness.
Mental toughness and emotional control are two sides of the same coin I think. As soon as I notice that I am having negative thoughts I try to answer them with logical answers.

Negative- This hurts, I can’t do it.
Positive - Of course it hurts it’s supposed to, the reward is worth it.

Negative - I’m going to fail
Positive - As long as I give 100% and keep going, I won’t fail


Shep
 

Chelonian

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Stoicism can assist with general mental resilience. For those unaware it’s an ancient philosophy which promotes mental robustness and the importance of preparation. Arguably it also underscores how 'controlled aggression' might be effectively deployed.

It’s not about sitting on a rush mat while chanting and attempting to levitate. Although if that’s how you roll, go ahead.

I'm not promoting this philosophy; merely flagging it up as a a possibly helpful resource for some.

Anyhow, I stumbled across this brief overview of stoicism on Ali Abdaal’s YouTube channel. He's a former (taken a year out) junior doctor whose channel focuses on academia, tech and other stuff:

 

Tony_m

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Something you need to work on and something I wasn’t great at for a long time was being able to shake off and not dwell on something going wrong. If you fuck up, it’s done. No point dwelling and unless you are trying to learn why you failed so not to do it again then you are burning energy. Learn to dust off and not carry failures around.
 

Scraps

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I think too many are too quick to turn something normal i.e being sad or down into something like depression. Too many labels floating about I think
I agree with this 99% Nugget yes but would also add that while those labels are absolutely overused and abused by a lot of people, they didn't just spring into existence for the sheer craic of it.

It's important to self manage your nut as much as you are able in order to be as mentally healthy as you need to be. Not just in the forces but in life. Part of that management is being able and honest with yourself to admit that you might need help once in a while. You may legitimately be under some sort of mental duress. Unfortunately, in the past there has been a culture of pressure to seem ok 24/7 in the army. This is thankfully beginning to change lads but at least 50% of the issue is being able to admit to yourself when the shit hits the fan in your nut that you need to speak out.

Tony, Iron and myself are (with Admins kind permission) hoping to build on this kind of thing in here and (at least for me personally) telling my own mental health story and how I ultimately triumphed from it.

"A mind without purpose or will walk in dark places," as a sci fi writer once wrote.
 

Scraps

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• There is always a different way to look at it.
• Thoughts are not facts,
they are just thoughts (opinions).
• This means that thoughts can be wrong.

Shep
Don't know how I managed to miss this post. Absolute first rate gold from Shep right there. Especially the whole "thoughts are not facts and can be changed". That is absolutely mega as not only does it show how how a lot of people lock themselves in and chain themselves down with simple perspective but also that the way out is just to look at it from a different angle.

Top notch stuff 👏👏👏
 

Fisherman

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I feel like I have a bit of a mental block to training in some respects and I really need to brush off past experiences
 
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