Guest Post by Mathews McGarry
“Your mind and body are powerful allies. How you think can affect how you feel. And how you feel can affect your thinking.” (WebMD - Mind-Body Wellness)
This statement should be remembered by each one of us and constantly repeated so we always hear its echo. The Mind and the Body are one and they produce a reciprocal effect on one another. Improving your physical condition greatly affects your mental health and even the simplest physical activity can build up your confidence and mental toughness.
“Self-confidence is extremely important in almost every aspect of our lives, yet so many people struggle to find it. Sadly, this can be a vicious circle: people who lack self-confidence can find it difficult to become successful.” -Caroline Smith.
Being confident means having two things -- self-efficacy and self-esteem. Self efficacy is related to a particular segment of our lives (i.e. mastering a certain skill), while self-esteem is connected with the more general feeling of being able to cope with life problems. Confidence is boosted by building competence. Competence, however, carries little relation to confidence, but you become confident the moment you become aware of your competence.
Body and mind affect each other. You tend to look down and round your shoulder when you are depressed. On the other hand, when you feel happy and confident, your body posture is better, your chest gets expanded, and you look more firm and assured. Simply standing with a sturdy posture improves your mind state. The hormone linked to dominance and power -- testosterone -- is released, while stress hormone levels are lowered. So if there is an upcoming situation where the “confident you” needs to shine, start with your posture -- shoulders pulled back, head high, and stance widened.
|Superman exuding confidence in his posture|
When you throw yourself on exercising -- in the gym, at home, outside or wherever -- you must have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and commit to it. Imagine a picture of your future self after six months of regular exercise. You are moving forward, so you need to know towards what point you are actually moving. Set an aim and develop a step-by-step plan. Developing a new routine is not that easy, but you are there to persist and to show yourself that you can do it.
Be creative with your diet. This is a long journey, so you need to make it interesting for yourself. Think about your favorite dishes and start reinventing. Thai, Italian, Mexican, Indian? Grab a cookbook, grab a pot, and heat up the stove. Do some research and find out what kind of food you can consume that you never tasted before. Which nutrients are also on your side? A great supplement to your workout diet is protein powder. Since the early 90s, scientists have been conducting scientific research on the health benefits of protein and reaffirming its utility over and over again.
For developing an unconquerable mindset, you need to master the art of perseverance and learn how to push yourself always a bit further in the gym. Former professional football player, Emmitt Smith, said this:
“Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream."
You are what you think and what you repeatedly do. While training and pushing yourself over the limits, your mind will follow. Constantly give yourself new challenges and conquer them. You will gain confidence by mastering abilities, making yourself impressed by your own achievements and achieving the desired physical fitness.
There are extreme situations when the body can’t go further while the mind wants to. That is a confident mindset and what you want to accomplish. Learn not to give up. Never. Know how to push through inevitable fatigue, because the ability to endure in a fatigued state indicates strong will. When your exercise tires you, the little voice inside you will probably ask you to take a break or, after that, to prolong it. Stay focused on your overall plan and the task at hand.
See pain as your friend. Expect it and embrace it when it comes. Also realize that it is only temporary. Accomplishing even the smallest goal on a daily basis makes you feel like you are growing and self-confident. It positively affects your mental and physical toughness.
Work on your body, do not neglect it. Because it will pay you back. Your overall health will improve, it will make you look better in your own eyes and make you a more confident person. It requires commitment and discipline but eventually adds up to improved quality of life. And that, friends, is truly priceless.
Improve your appearance and see the reflection in the mirror giving you a thumbs up.
For more from Mathews, see his guest post
About the Author
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life at highstylife.com and other health blogs. Follow him on Twitter.