Building Mental “Muscles”

SOS Team Jun 8, 2020

No one is completely exempt from the stress and anxiety that comes with living in chaotic times. Your brain often has a background level of worry in daily life, and that stress can become acutely disruptive and harmful for you any time, anywhere. This is especially true as your brain tries to adapt to a “new normal” for work, for school, for grocery shopping - for everything. 

If you’re like most people and your brain hasn’t been trained to deal with disappointment or intense life disruptions, right now you actually have a powerful opportunity ... an opportunity to strengthen your mental “muscles” and develop your mind to become truly resilient. 

When you train your mind, you can create new habits and gain control over your thoughts and emotions. Suddenly, obstacles become opportunities. You’re able to see seemingly bad situations in an entirely new light. The world looks different, and the future is ripe with possibility. Instead of post-traumatic stress - you can have post-traumatic growth.

Retraining Your Brain for Freedom from Fight or Flight

Picture this: you wake up in the morning and open your eyes. Thoughts start streaming in, concerns start streaming in, to-do lists start streaming in. All of a sudden you’re anxious and stressed. And you aren’t even out of bed!

These reactions stem from two regions of your brain. The amygdala controls your fight or flight response. When you’re triggered by fear, your body releases cortisol, the toxic stress hormone. Then there’s the hippocampus, where memories are stored and learning takes place. From there, you can relive fearful or traumatic memories — all related to the thoughts you’re thinking in the present moment. 

This process is detrimental to your mind and body, and it can start as soon as you open your eyes. 

So how do you stop these reactions? You retrain your brain to start releasing new, feel-good biochemicals. This mind development helps you shift the thoughts in your mind and calm a busy brain. Then your mind sends new messages that start running throughout your body and you begin to feel 100% better.

Awakening with Awareness

So how can you change the tapes in your head? Here’s a three-step process I call “Morning Awareness.” It’s about rewiring the brain’s response centers so you can take back control. 

1. Explore. Before you get out of bed, ask yourself — what's going on in my mind? Is it filled with clutter or negativity? If it feels crowded and uncomfortable, recognize that. Allow your thoughts to become clouds blowing away. 

And remember, do NOT start looking at emails first thing in the morning. Consciously set the tone for your day before jumping into your responsibilities. You’ll feel more empowered, more alive, and more productive.

Then, listen to something that inspires you into a positive mind shift. 

2. Listen. Listen to something positive that begins igniting those hormones and biochemicals to shoot new thoughts and positive messages to your brain. 

  • Listen to a podcast. There are hundreds of fantastic options. Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman is incredibly inspiring and features leaders and top CEOs talking about what they’re doing to support people.
  • Listen to an SOS Method next-gen meditation or program. Every single one of the rapid-result programs will also help shift your mindset. SOS Method is backed by scientific research and includes information about different holistic techniques. Try different ones daily; each is a unique sensorial experience. Choose the category that works best for you, whether it’s soothing or energizing. Explore I Am Grateful, Into the Stillness, or Painting Life’s Canvas.
  • Listening to something inspiring first thing in the morning begins to flex your mental “muscles” in a new, positive direction.

3. Engage. Get moving. Get out of bed and get into action. Figure out the priorities for your day. Identify the top three things that will help you move into a more inspired life. Don’t forget to ask for support. Sometimes you need to call a friend to be a sounding board and help motivate you. 

By following these steps, you’ll go from a state that wasn’t supporting you into a state that inspires you. You’ll set yourself up for a successful day - and the more you practice this, the stronger you’ll feel every day. It could take just a few minutes to improve your brain, your body and your life.. 

The Halo Effect - Train Your Brain

There’s an incredible scientific phenomenon called The Halo Effect. Essentially, research says that by doing the single most important thing consistently (such as daily meditation), everything else in your life becomes easier. I highly recommend the book “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results”. 

When you use all the mind development tools in our toolbox, you strengthen your mind muscles. Doors open and new opportunities present themselves. What happens is extraordinary. And remember, you have the power! It’s always accessible within yourself. Your mind and your body are connected - and they’re ready for you to increase your higher intelligence. 

It’s in your DNA to explore, be curious and grow. What better time than now to discover and practice new tools that will help you throughout your life?!

In the words of SOS Method founder Marlise Karlin: “You are so powerful, you have no idea. It has nothing to do with forcefulness. It has everything to do with that magnificent infinite power inside that streams though you all the time when you connect to it.”