LIFE

How To Get Mentally Fit To Cope With The Workplace

The first step is to stop beating yourself up.

25/12/2016 6:39 PM AEDT | Updated 25/12/2016 6:39 PM AEDT
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Change the words of the inner critic that sits on your shoulder whispering negative thoughts.

Fitness experts like to talk about mobility – the ability to move your body through different ranges of motion to suit everyday activity. If you concentrate too much on one aspect of fitness, such as developing strength or endurance, you risk limiting the mobility you have around a joint.

The same concept can be applied to your mind. If you keep repeating unhelpful thinking you strengthen the brain's neural pathways, making it harder to change.

Former elite athlete, Greg Sellar is a mindset and performance trainer. He recently appeared at the Wired for Wonder talk series in Sydney, where he spoke about the concept of mind mobility.

"There's a thing called the inner critic which is the official name for the devil that sits on your shoulder all day saying things such as 'You're so fat,' or 'You'll never get that job,' 'You're such a fraud.' Much of that inner critic comes from parents who might have told a child they are 'useless' at playing soccer and those words have stayed with them through adulthood," Sellar said

Sellar told The Huffington Post Australia we spend a huge amount of time beating ourselves up and saying the most horrible things to ourselves.

Greg Sellar
Greg Sellar at Wired for Wonder.

"It's dialogue you could never bring to say to anyone else, but to ourselves, well, that's OK. It gets us caught in a downward thinking spiral that's difficult to get out of. I know from my own experience because, when I was 21 I told my parents I wanted to move to London and become a fitness trainer. They were not impressed," Sellar said.

"They told me I'd never make a living from being a fitness trainer. If they had their way, I would have worked in the local bank as a teller. I was able to push through negative talk and follow my plans. But for many of us the negative talk is reinforced and carried into business."

Sellar said one reason people have so much trouble with work place culture, is because many of us throw all our negative thinking into the mix. You come into life, seeing life through a range of filters, depending on how your upbringing has been. Then you bring that into your adult life and into any situation you come into.

The best way to silence the negative thinking is to change your mindset. Instead of telling yourself that you are not good at something, such as soccer, tell yourself you just need more practice.

"It should never be about being 'useless' at soccer or your work. It's about saying 'Let's look at the amount of effort you put in.' You have the power to go into any situation asking 'Am I going to be good or bad? Will I fail or succeed?' On the growth mindset side, you need to remember that it has nothing to do with whether you're good at something, it's just that you haven't put enough effort into practice for you to be good at it," Sellar said.

"It's the same with your work – it's not that you don't know it, it's just that you don't know it yet. Gaining greater mind mobility moves us along a critical path."

Sellar has outlined his 4 L's – Legends, Lenders, Likes and Losers.

LOSERS

Underperforming and immobile with phrases such as " I can't" or "It's not possible". A mindset shift needs to take place by finding value in what you do, embracing challenges and finding inspiration in others. When you can adopt a growth mindset, you will have made a commitmet to want change.

Likers

Happy to think small, or not at all; sit on the fence to keep the peace; are generally immobile, admiring from the sidelines. Likers need motivation and the resulting action to gain mobility. We have motivation and action the wrong way around – people wait to be motivated before acting, whereas you should act first and the motivation will follow.

Lenders

Inclined to be in action mode, but can fall off the wagon; experience 'success' in peaks and troughs; form judgments on self and others, but they're less frequent and less harsh. If you think of your unhelpful thinking as a freeway, by being consistent, we're creating new thinking 'off-ramps' to exit the freeway, directing future thoughts and behaviours.

Legends

Recognise thoughts as just that – thoughts; know what they think isn't reality, but only what they feel in that given moment; aware enough to snap out of irrational thinking, gain mobility and get back on track fast. Legends know that they are always going to be works in progress, but are moving towards the point where their mind is free from unhelpful thinking and completely mobile.

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