3 Tips to Be Mentally Stronger According to Neuroscience

How often do you get to that point where you’re just mentally finished? Where you’ve been working for a few hours but can no longer continue? 

Well, what if I told you that that’s just not true? 

In fact, it really isn’t. If the deadline was in a few hours, I can guarantee you’d get it done. But when the deadline is next week, how come you can’t even focus for 20 minutes?

You’ve probably heard of the Navy SEAL’s principle, the 40% rule — in that most people feel maxed-out mentally and physically, and thus stop, when they’re only at 40% of their maximum capacity?  

Well, what’s particularly interesting is that this observation is actually completely built upon science.  

According to what neuroscience scientists call “The Central Governor Theory,” your brain will regulate exercise effort in regard to a neurally calculated safe exertion point by the body. 

For example, have you ever seen that an athlete will often kick it into a higher gear right when they’re near the finish line?

They’d given it their all and should have been completely finished. However, they still somehow managed to find the gas to sprint the final 200 meters.  

How is that? 

Well, the mister governor central tends to err too much on the side of being conservative, and thus, your mind and body you will often tell you your tired long before you’ve even gotten anywhere near empty.

Hence, they often say running a marathon is far more mental than physical. 

Although this is not just a problem in sports but in all areas. So, how can we get around it?

Interestingly, it has everything to do with being mentally stronger, and this article is about just that. Here’s how to be mentally stronger: 

1) Train Your Brain

The saying, “Your brain is a muscle,” may be a cliche. However, it’s also completely true.  

Just as you’d increase your endurance on the running track by running for longer, you must do the same for brain stamina. 

Each time you’re beginning to feel tired at work, try to go a lot bit longer, and eventually, you’ll be able to work for longer and longer durations over time.

2) Be Happy

In his book, Endure, author Alex Hutchinson writes,

“Just as emotions trigger a physical response, that physical response can amplify or perhaps even create the corresponding emotion.”

When you feel good, things begin to feel like less of a grind and more of a game. However, when you feel bad, life becomes a complete grind. Hence, the emotional feedback loop works both ways.

So, why not choose to be happy? Among many things, it is great for endurance!

3) Change Your Perception

A couple of researchers at the Canterbury Christ Church University did an interesting study: 

They gave a group of cyclists different doses of caffeine before a series of time trials — however, they didn’t tell them exactly how much. 

The cyclists who believed they had been given a moderate dose rode 1.3 percent faster than average.

Subjects who thought they had been given a higher dosage rode 3.1 percent faster.

And how about those who thought they were given the placebo? On average, they rode 1.4 percent slower.

However, guess the caveat?

They had all been given the placebo! That’s right, there was no chemical effect. Instead, it was all in their head. 

Hence, a handy trick is to perceive there to be less work to be done than there really is. Also, why Shawn Achor has said, “The closer you perceive your success to be, the faster you move toward it”