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Mental Conditioning: Overcoming Challenges Essay

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2022

Today’s world has become so replete with mental challenges that it is now a full-scale part of practically everyone’s life. The ability to respond to the mental issues in a calm and well-considered manner, also known as stress resistance, has now even become one of the “must have” soft skills employers are looking for in their applicants. As a result, psychologists from all over the world did their best to define some qualitative ways of boosting stress management among individuals so that the issues would not be so detrimental for them over a certain preparation process. In the course of the research, they have reached a conclusion that the effect produced by so-called mental conditioning is similar to that of physical training. Thus, the more frequently one boosts his or her mindfulness and mental balance, the more successful is the overall outcome (Van Haitsma et al., 2019). Considering the following comparison, it might be outlined that mental conditioning, although frequently applied to the specific daily operations related to sports and work culture, plays a significant role in each daily life stage.

Having no extensive expertise in some sporting endeavors, mental conditioning has become an integral part of my daily planning and academic studies. To begin with, I would like to analyze the notion’s influence on my academic performance and overall motivation to study. There is a common belief that students often exaggerate the level of stress they experience on a daily basis, as we do not have any significant financial or emotional responsibility required to sustain oneself or the whole family. However, such an approach should be regarded as a considerable misconception in terms of the mental conditioning assessment. Although young people are not expected to work for a living, their level of mental readiness to face the outside world is also smaller due to a genuine lack of personal experience. Thus, the mental health levels of an individual should be assessed on the average data suitable for a particular age group instead of comparing it to the ones of adults.

At the stage of obtaining high school education and studying at colleges, students are expected to perform a variety of different academic tasks, which one might find grueling. Furthermore, the stress levels are increased by the amount of peer pressure and uncertainty about further education or employment. Feeling extremely exhausted by all the aforementioned factors, my mental health was completely burned out, and I was not able to perform even the easiest everyday chores. After a few years of such a challenging mental state, I was drowning in the amount of self-pity and loathe for my inefficiency and anxiety I felt before doing anything.

For this reason, I decided to develop a set of skills I might practice in order to feel better about myself and my academic performance. Since I had lost all my concentration, I decided to find a working time-management model able to help me gain control over my time. Among all the possible options, I defined the Pomodoro technique to be the most successful one due to its mental impact. Having to work in sprints of 25-30 minutes gives me the idea that I deserve a 10-minute rest afterward without feeling any guilt of doing nothing when I have deadlines to meet. Moreover, during the working sprints, I feel proud of myself for boosting my productivity.

Another important thing that helped me get through some difficult times was establishing the right affirmations, which encouraged me to find the purpose in my academics. In fact, I tried to remember all the reasons I studied in the first place, prior to the burnout. Some of these reasons included self-fulfillment, obtaining a dream college scholarship, and securing my financial future. As a result, I started to feel mentally prepared for some challenges on the way, as I was given the major token of the process – a purpose.

After I realized that I was able to manage my academic performance and mental adjustment to the process, I made an attempt to evaluate my whole life and priorities on the matter of mental conditioning and preparedness. The issues I experienced in my academic life eventually took its toll on my overall satisfaction with life, making it unbearable. Since education was one of the major things I was expected to excel, the slightest discrepancies in the field made me feel worthless as a whole. For this reason, I decided to dig a bit deeper in terms of my mental state and things I feel uncomfortable about. After some contemplation process, I realized that the biggest issue with my mental health was my inability to hear my inner voice. In fact, so many stressors and the ongoing white noise disrupted my connection with the subconscious, blocking the opportunity to follow its guts.

Having done some exhaustive psychology research on the subject, I reached the conclusion that meditation was one of the most efficient ways to deal with stress and inner imbalance. In fact, researchers claim mediation to have some benefits in both the ability to become aware of the human body and one’s relationship with it and the opportunity to observe one’s life from outside (Millière et al., 2018). I decided to give meditation a try in order to learn how to let my body relax from all the pressure I relive every single day.

Starting with 10 minutes of meditation a day, this procedure seemed impossible for me, as every time I tried to focus on my breath, my mind was drowning in all the issues I had to deal with instead of relaxation. I even experienced a strange feeling of guilt for letting myself press a pause. However, after a month of practice, meditation was the only thing able to help me organize my thoughts and move on with my targets for the day. Moreover, after each meditation session, I now have a better perspective on my life in general. As a result, mental conditioning has become an essential part of my daily routine, as I am now able to modify my thinking processes in accordance with my life purposes and measurable goals.

Taking everything into consideration, one might conclude that taking care of mental health is one of the most crucial aspects of human life in the 21st century. Just like any habit, stress resistance can be achieved through constant practice and psychological exercises. Thus, looking back at my life a few years ago, and the way I am feeling today, I might say that paying attention to my mental conditioning has increased my ability to react calmly to everything happening around me.

References

Millière, R., Carhart-Harris, R. L., Roseman, L., Trautwein, F. M., & Berkovich-Ohana, A. (2018). Psychedelics, meditation, and self-consciousness. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1475.

Van Haitsma, T. A., Gonzalez, S. P., Swider, N. S., De Laura, A. C., Costa, D., Salinas, T., & Mc Gough, S. (2019). An examination of short-term mental conditioning or mindfulness training on physiological, psychological, and performance outcomes during a cycling task. International Journal of Sports Science, 9(2), 35-46.

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