To become mentally stronger, we have three basic options. We have already discussed two of them: We can strengthen our competitive self, remember your competitive behavior and your ability to be a good actor. And we can strengthen our real behavior, become more resilient in everyday’s life.
Today we’re going to discuss the third and most important factor in getting mentally stronger: It’s the interplay between relaxation and stress. “Stress” is everything that uses energy. By “relaxation” we mean everything that gives us energy. This definition already shows that stress does not necessarily mean something bad.
We differentiate again between a physical, a mental and an emotional form:
- Physical stress arises when muscles use energy.
- Mental stress arises when we use energy to concentrate.
- Emotional stress arises when we use our energy for feelings in a negative manner. This would be, for example, fear, anger or excessive demands.
How we recover physically is pretty clear to everyone: We are resting. But how do our minds and emotions recover? We recover mentally if we let our thoughts wander freely, i.e. not thinking concentrated anymore. We recover emotionally when we feel positive feelings. Whenever we satisfy our needs, it means emotional relaxation for us.
Relaxation and Stress Account Model
It is important that our relaxation and stress account is balanced. In the long run, we cannot withdraw more than we deposit. Deposits are relaxation times, withdrawals are periods of stress.
We are talking about the basic requirement to be effective in any area: It is based on the balance between stress and relaxation.
Those who have not learned to recover, cannot achieve top performance in the long run.
Successful coaches and sports scientists have found that the ability to regenerate makes the difference between “normal” professional athletes and the absolute top athletes. Winners can even recover during the competition and they also know how to recover quickly after the competition.
Let us repeat this because it is so important in this context: Mental strength determines whether we can access everything at the crucial moment. For this, we need a strong competitive self. The most important factor in strengthening this competitive ego is the ability to relax! This part of your mental strength training shows you why it is like that.
Many people don’t really know how to differentiate between stress and relaxation. And they don’t know when they need
- How much rest?
- What is the best form of rest for them?
In truth, there is no right and wrong. But there is a relatively ideal balance. A balance that strengthens instead of a way of living that tends to weaken you.
Relaxation or Stress Example
Basically, it’s like breaking an arm. The bone is broken due to a massive dose of stress. So now the bone needs a massive dose of recovery. That is why the arm is plastered in, to give it a long pause. So a long recovery period.
On the other hand, if you take too much care of a healthy arm, your muscles will get weaker. Exactly the same thing happens when we are mentally and emotionally overprotected. That means, to shield ourselves from stress too much.
You can see from this example: We have to find the right balance for us. We have to figure out how to balance our relaxation and stress phases. Once we have found this balance, we can train slowly, endure a little more stress and at the same time recover a little more quickly and more specifically.
But first of all, we should find our balance. Those who are mentally or emotionally stressed, or who have gone through a difficult time may need an extended recovery period. Just as the overstressed, and due to that broken arm, it needs to get placed in plaster. So first of all, absolute rest can be important, but then we should slowly increase the stress phases and reduce the recovery phases in between. Just as in rehab therapy, the arm is slowly brought back to movement after the long period of complete rest.
Linear or wavy change between Relaxation and Stress
If we want to become mentally stronger, we have to learn to endure more and more stress. But these stress phases should always be followed by equally strong waves of recovery.
So if we train to work particularly concentrated, then we should let our mind wander. Just like Goethe did it, after he worked concentrated on poetry. Then he took some leisure time and went around “thoughtlessly” and collected stones. Leisure means relaxation. And without recovery, there is no growth.
Every athlete knows that the muscle grows in the recovery phase. Contrary to the conviction of many people, we do NOT grow mentally in difficult and stressful phases. Our mental strength increases as we recover! Of course, this always means a recovery that follows a stress phase. Just as a muscle naturally grows in the recovery phase only, if it had a lot of stress beforehand.
It is important to start training carefully. Just as we can quickly overwhelm and injure our muscles, the same applies to our mental and emotional muscles. So at first, we shouldn’t expect too much. And above all, we should rest well afterward.
Beware of linear Relaxation or Stress
If you haven’t learned to rest, your stress will become linear. Linear stress leads almost always to helplessness. We feel overwhelmed and can therefore no longer recover. Linear stress means that the demands and hence the stress will never end. It goes on and on like an endless path. All needs for rest, peace, relaxation, freedom, fun … remain unsatisfied. But always overwhelming requirements instead.
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is that there is a compensation. Who knows that he can recover soon, can also make a great effort for a while. He doesn’t have to panic or feel helpless. He will be able to recharge himself again.
For many people, these things happen subconsciously. But they have always been very conscious of top performers. In sports anyway, but also in management, etc. If you think all the time about your work, your stress becomes linear. If you manage to switch off and think about something completely different in your free time… or think very little or even think nothing for example by meditating, you can relax. And due to that, you will become mentally stronger.
It is so important to understand that we need breaks. They make us stronger and more successful. And ultimately, we also get more done when we take periodically breaks.
Common Brainfxxx About Stress
Many people think that they will get stronger if they are exposed to high stress for a particularly long time. We have to clear up this mistake. That’s why this part of your mental strength training is so important. The truth is the exact opposite: Those who expose themselves to excessive stress for too long become weaker.
The reason is easy to understand: If we have too much stress and do not recover, our stress becomes linear. At some point, we feel overwhelmed and helpless. Helplessness is an expression of great weakness. So we’re literally getting weaker due to linear stress. Severe helplessness often results in depression or burnout.
So it is completely negligent and wrong to talk about increased mental strength without emphasizing the importance of recovery. We need
- Free time
- A wave-like life plan
- An interplay between stress and relaxation.
Without stress, life would be bland and we would become weaker. Without relaxation, life would be linear stress and we would become weaker, too.
By the way, hardly anything is as relaxing as laughing. To enjoy some fun, you can meet up with friends and family. Or stroll through nature. Because everything we enjoy creates waves of emotional relaxation.
To become emotionally stronger, we have to venture into the fire. But we also have to jump out of the fire fast enough, before we burn. Those who never take the risk of jumping into the fire will never develop emotional strength. But if you stay in the fire for too long – so you don’t recover – you will literally burn yourself.
We need the important message that relaxation gives us. Recovery shows us: “Everything is still okay. The effort didn’t overwhelm you. You still have fun in life. It goes on. You can do it. You can stand in the fire without burning. ”
Many people use their breaks to smoke a cigarette. They have recognized the need for recovery. And they have linked recreation and other needs to cigarette smoking. And the smoker actually recovers. If you don’t believe this, you only have to watch a smoker once.
Unfortunately, he not only recovers, but he also damages himself at the same time. And in the long run, the damage is greater than the recovery effect. We have to learn to relax without harming ourselves at the same time. This includes things like
- free time on your own,
- healthy eating in peace,
- a siesta at noon,
- listening to music,
- watching art,
- breathing exercises,
- all kinds of relaxation …
Maybe we can’t do it seamlessly. Soccerball players run out after a stressful game. This means that they continue to move and do not immediately go into the resting phase. But after such a transition period, they must be able to find complete rest. Players who cannot do this will sooner or later stop performing on their top-level or even injure themselves.
Soccerball players who are looking for relaxation at parties and who spend the nights in some establishments can not recover properly. Like the smoker, they chose the wrong strategy of rest. On the one hand, they recover through the freedom of a smoking break. But on the other hand, they do considerable damage. The bottom line is that they don’t really recover. Obviously they didn’t really learn to relax.
We need a wave-like life plan: The alternation between stress and relaxation. If we succeed, we can slowly increase the stress phases. At least, if we learn to recover better and better. Linear stress leads to excessive demands. Linear recovery leads to an underload.
If either of them lasts in our lives for a long time, then we should carefully approach a wave-like life plan to alter between relaxation and stress. Those who have too much stress need a longer recovery period. Those who have too little stress must slowly start to expose themselves to stress.
Now you are much more familiar with the mechanisms. You can now assess for yourself what relaxation and stress balance you should impose on yourself. And how important it is to have some fun. Having some fun simply “senselessly” means relaxation.
Having this internalized and feeling how your mental strength grows means also relaxation. But for now, slowly increasing stress phases is the appropriate training for most people. They want to avoid this stress spontaneously, but they never become mentally strong. But you know better by now. What applies to the muscle also applies to your mental strength. What applies to mental strength also applies to financial strength, to building wealth, and that is the path to abundance.
Your Thinking Time For Week 7
About relaxation and stress:
Do your thinking time in a mind storming manner. That means you write a list of ideas for each question. For 1 week, think every day about the following questions and find for each of them at least one new answer or a new example per day. Write the answers down in your journal.
- Please assess yourself: Do you need more relaxation or stress?
- Please note the extremely important distinction between wave-shaped and linear stress in your gratitude journal.
- Do you know people who only recover linearly and who therefore become weaker and weaker in the long run?
- How can you better find a wavy balance?
- How can you recover better? We’ll discuss that in one of the next parts of this training. But of course, it is always better to develop good ideas ourselves. You only will have this training for another 2 weeks …
- When did you find a healthy and strengthening balance? How and when exactly? Please draw important insights from this for your future. And record such important successes in your gratitude journal. They are important successes and important insights.
- Record five things you are grateful for.
On the 7th day analyze your training plan:
- What did serve you the best, more relaxation or stress?
- What part of it did make you weaker?
- How can you optimize your relaxation and stress balance?
- How can you utilize this optimized balance systematically?
- What action will you take, to ensure to remain in balance between relaxation and stress?
Vital and happy regards