How to Be Mentally Tough Like a Navy Seal
BUDS is the most physically and mentally draining training regimen in the military; during Hell Week of BUDS, students are allowed less than four hours of sleep for the whole week. The course is designed to break down even the most mentally resilient individuals.
Emotional Resiliency & Mental Toughness
Rather, it is mental toughness and resiliency. In his book, Lars Draeger outlines the traits all SEALS possess that makes them mentally tough enough to endure physical pain and fatigue day in and day out.
This pillar should come as no surprise as successful people regularly set goals to achieve. They break down their goals into micro goals, short-term goals, mid-term goals, and long-term goals. Instead of thinking of completing the six month training course as one goal, those who graduated BUDS broke down the six months into weekly goals, daily goals, hourly goals, and even goals by the minute. However, the student will break it down further by getting through one set of exercise at a time.
Setting extremely short-term and specific yet simple goals allows the mind to focus on one thing at a time without distraction. Mental practice or visualization has been used by Olympic athletes and world class musicians for quite some time to supplement, augment, and improve their craft.
1. Do the things you fear--a lot.
In BUDS, those who excel used mental imagery to get through the tough six months. During the second phase of BUDS training, one of the training exercises required the students to wear scuba gear to perform a variety of emergency procedures and corrective actions to resolve problems with the scuba equipment.
But all this must be executed while the student is underwater. This exercise is one of the most difficult graded exercises out of the entire six months of BUDS. Navy psychologists discovered that those who did well and passed the exercise the first time used mental imagery to prepare them for the exercise.
They imagine themselves going through the various corrective actions and they imagine doing it while being attacked. This is a way to train the mind to prepare for the exercise. This constant visualization serves to prepare the mind for what is to come.
When the mind perseveres, the body usually follows. You have conversations with yourself many times a day, often unaware that you are doing it.
Those who graduate from BUDS block all negative self-talk out and only use the concept of positive self-talk to constantly motivate themselves to keep going.
Many SEALS remind themselves constantly that many men before them have completed the course and so can they.
They remind themselves that should be able to pass no problem because they are more physically fit than their predecessors. They remind themselves to go on and not quit, no matter what.
Having positive self-talk often serves as a constant reminder to hang in there and persevere. Controlling your mental state is extremely important to being mentally resilient.
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SEALS are able to control their physiological and psychological response when aroused by outside stimuli such as danger. When our bodies feel overwhelmed or in danger, it releases chemicals known as cortisol and endorphin. It is these chemicals that cause our palms to sweat, our minds to race, our hearts to pound, and our bodily functions to malfunction.
But SEALS learn to control this natural response to arousal so that they are poised even under the most stressful of circumstances. You begin by inhaling deeply for 4 seconds and follow with four seconds of steady exhaling. Draeger stated that this must be done for a minimum of 1 minute to be effective in controlling arousal.
Of course, this is not the only method for lowering stress but it is the one that is mentioned in the book.
The book offers excellent insights into what makes a SEAL, and how you can apply some of that training to your everyday life, no matter what your goals are. Netflix enthusiast, horrible speller, jiujitsu hobbyist, weekend drinker, and occasional poker player.
Favorite quote is "[o]ut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. Emotion Management.
Navy SEAL Mental Training System
Related Posts. What Is Behavioral Health? About the author. Tri Netflix enthusiast, horrible speller, jiujitsu hobbyist, weekend drinker, and occasional poker player.
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