While scrolling through Facebook recently, I noticed someone asking now that it was winter, how could she learn to like running on the dreadmill? Someone replied that the first step was to quit calling it a dreadmill because using negative words reinforces negativity. I said, yes, absolutely this.
Renaming the Dreadmill
It’s definitely easy to fall into saying negative things. I realized recently that I was constantly muttering “oh, I hate this” when I was at my boot camp class. I think that’s probably not what I should be saying. Perhaps I can say, “This is hard but I can do it.” Or maybe I should just say, “oh I love this!” People will think I’m crazy if I’m doing burpees but that’s ok.
Do we have to say positive things? No, definitely not but I think our brains and bodies function better when we attempt things with a positive attitude.
Check out this study from Johns Hopkins Medicine. It says that people with a family history of cardiovascular disease who had a positive attitude were less likely to have a cardiac event. The power of positive thinking apparently affects our entire body.
That’s why people use mantras during long runs and races. If you can tell yourself you’re strong, you’ll begin to believe it. If you are running along, saying I’ll never make it, you have to work that much harder to prove yourself wrong.
Practice Being Positive
Don’t wait for the day of the race or a big competition to use your mantras. Just like you train with long runs and practice your fueling, you need to practice your positive thinking. Otherwise you won’t really be up to using mantras and positive thinking when you need it.
I just had a doctor tell me that the best time to practice stress management is when you’re not stressed. If you wait until your body is under fire, you’ll fail at it because the tools you’re going to use aren’t habits by then. So, if you want to prepare for stress management, figure out what that is. If it’s meditation, begin to meditate when things are going well. If you are using some other kind of mindfulness tool, like Tapping, you need to have the routine of it down before you really need it.
Same thing with using words and attitudes to get us through the tough things. It doesn’t really matter if those things are fitness related, family related, or job related. Hard things happen everywhere and we have to be ready to deal with it as best we can.
The best thing to do is reframe the situation. Instead of thinking how hard something is, think about how glad you are to be able to do it.
I’ve taken to trying to smile even when I really have nothing to smile about. I think it helps me feel more upbeat which helps me feel more confident.
If you want to like running on a treadmill, you can’t think of it as something you dread. It has to be something you want to do or you’re never going to enjoy it. That’s why we have to work on renaming the dreadmill.
If you want to lift heavy, you have to say “oh yes I can” when you load the plates for your deadlift. You’ll risk not being able to lift if you’re afraid or certain of defeat.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear how you get yourself through those hard runs or lift that heavy weight. What do you tell yourself to through the tough workouts? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget that there are a list of mantras available on the Becoming Elli website. Feel free to download the list.