How to Gain Emotional Strength and Resiliency

Overwhelmed!

Have you ever had a long day or maybe gone through a tough time for a week or more? One where you feel exhausted and want to escape into anything other than what you are experiencing? What do you turn to? Escaping through Netflix, food, sex, video games, or sleep may be choices but the results are only fleeting. You ask yourself how are you going to get through another day at home, work or school without feeling overwhelmed and inwardly you are screaming HELP!

I've seen this when meeting with thousands of people I have had the honor of working with as a therapist. I've also experienced it myself since being overwhelmed and stressed is a human condition that does not pick favorites but instead is an equal opportunity employer. I want to share what I have found to be one of the most effective methods to change this into a long term growth experience instead of using coping skills with a short term escape driven focus as mentioned earlier. It is simple, but not easy, as it does not have the powerful instant gratification that allows us to believe that we are making progress only to feel a crash back down to reality when the short term coping skill runs out of fuel. You have to become a victor instead of an escape artist, and here is how to do it.

Mindset Change

Simply put, the way to find what to change is to identify how your mindset interprets your situation. A problem is that too often in situations of stress you look at the world as one that you have to be REACTIVE to and you behave as such. This mindset is a good way to have depressive thoughts that loudly tell you that you have no control over your circumstances. In clinical terms you are hearing in those thoughts that you do not have self efficacy. Self efficacy is the belief that you will be able to do what you set out to do. When looking at the world through a lens that tells you that you do not have an impact on any outcome you will feel out of control and have difficulty accomplishing tasks due to the underlying belief that nothing you do will matter. This will continue to permeate your life and will keep you stuck. Ugh, just writing this I can feel how powerful that type of energy can be! 

In contrast I want to share a way to work through those times when you feel like nothing will change. With this new software added to your mindset you will be able to increase your emotional strength so that you can be resilient and experience more in your life due to not feeling like you are going to be crushed by the weight of difficult times. The key is to look at the situation you are in as a way to get stronger by identifying how you can have an impact on the situation by looking for ACTIONABLE behavior. A way to do this is to ask yourself "what do I have direct control over"? When you perceive your situation through the lens that you can change what is happening you create self efficacy.

Strength and Resiliency

An example of how I do this in my life is to think of a difficult situation as an opportunity to mentally lift weights so that I can become stronger and more resilient. I take that mental imagery when I am feeling overwhelmed and remind myself that if I choose to look for actions that can get me towards a goal I want while in this difficult time I can increase my mental strength and resiliency. When looking for how to take action make sure you look at the situation as it is without adding a lot of context that does not need to be there but instead focusing on facts alone. This filter allows me to find what is true about the situation and increase my ability to identify what can be done in the situation and succeed with a positive outcome.

What makes sense to you? How can you to develop a mindset that fits your life so that in moments when the short term pleasure of escaping has been your coping skill you can replace it with a choice that will give you growth towards the goals that you have? First you need to find out where to develop this mindset so write down a short or long term goal that you feel stuck in. Now identify the obstacles that you have thought to be in your way. Follow that by looking for only facts about the situation rather than what you have felt about it so you can work with what is tangible. Then think of ways that you can take action! A fun mental imagery of this mindset shift is to change those once thought to be obstacles into a mental obstacle course that allows you to train your brain to be stronger, more resilient and able to adapt to the stressors that you face!

Recovering after a loss

Gut wrenching pain as the last seconds of time tick off the clock and you know that your season is ending in disappointment. How are you going to recover? What are you going to do with the reactions from pundits, fans and even your own team?

When your emotions are raw it is easy to make decisions that don't match up with your goals and values. You react instead of think, and more often than not this makes things worse. How can you recover from this feeling of loss? 

I want to show you how to recover, and in doing so I am looking to do my own recovery with this post. A team that I am connected with through my consulting work had a loss that was likely harder for them to experience than I, however I am still impacted by it as I care deeply for the individuals that I work with. By taking the action of sharing how to recover I will be giving myself the opportunity to do so as well. I will show you an action I take when I recover and how it helps you do the same.

Emotions Lie

Too often emotions are taken at face value. We feel bad so things must be so. I want you to consider another way to internalize this, to look at the situation as an opportunity rather than what the feeling is telling you.

Take for example the feeling of hunger. At times the reason that feeling happens is actually due to thirst and for many the decision is to eat rather than look for what the true reason for the feeling is. Now think back to a time when you thought you knew why you were upset, was it really due to your initial belief? The way to wade through the emotional current and find the truth behind the feeling is to look for the facts. By taking only what the facts say and not adding adjectives to show how "horrible" the situation is there becomes an opportunity to learn and take action rather than wallow and complain.

Now you are likely looking at me with eyes that scream "easy to say bro but come on, let's be real here". I get that this is something where it is easy to sit here and type out but hard to apply in reality. I believe the reason for this comes from how difficult it can be to identify why we are upset as well as how hard it is to express the emotion in a healthy way. That is why I want to show you a way to do so, both in an actionable step and also by backing up what I say to do through the creation of this content. 

Accumulate the Facts

When I say to accumulate the facts it is just that, nothing extra. If you are upset about a loss, call it a loss and share what the facts were regarding how that became the end result. This is where I get picky, because so many times I see people attempt this and instinctively add their own judgement of the situation without realizing it. A person may say that it is "hot" when instead I am looking for the specific fact of what the temperature is since "hot" is relative to each person. 

Once you have the facts of what happened you are better equipped to make a decision that can create change in the present and the future. Focus on the facts that you have direct control over as those are the ones you can impact yourself. The contrast here between fact and emotion is that with an emotion you are working with a fluid feeling that may or may not be helpful in your growth as a player. With the facts you will be able to have meaningful information that you can work with and create meaningful change. 

How do you create change? Choose something that you can take action in that will release the emotion, gain understanding from the emotion or allow you to use the emotion and the memory of how it felt as fuel to make sure you train in a way that reduces the chance of you experiencing the emotion again as your outcome will have a higher probability of being a different one.

Choose an Action

So you have your emotion. You just gathered the facts as to why you feel the way you do and with those facts you know what your target is. Now I want you to look for ways to take this moment and create a growth opportunity from that information by writing down what you can change in the now to impact the next time you are in a situation where you want a different result. 

It is that simple. By taking action into something that matters to you, the things that you value and give you drive in your life, you will have a healthy space to put your emotional energy to work for you rather than allowing it to fester in your mind. 

I mentioned that this content is cathartic for me, and the reason is that it is an action that I am taking towards what I love which is sharing what I am good at with others in the hope that anyone who reads this can grow in their own life.  I had the feeling of helplessness when the team I am connected with lost since I could not directly impact a situation the way that I wanted. I could have chosen a passive route and done things to occupy my time with the hope that I would numb the feeling. The problem is that I know better, and I want to practice what I teach, so I took the action of creating this post. I ask of you to find your own way to do the same.

What action will you take? I would love to hear what it is that allows you to use the emotions you have and place them into a healthy space for you! Feel free to share in the comments section below or contact me directly through my contact page if you want to learn how to delve into this topic with me further. 

 

 

How to Develop a Wise Esport Mind

Have you had a time where it was difficult to interact with someone because they were either too emotional or devoid of it altogether?

Maybe it’s not just others that you have seen this in, but yourself as well? This could have happened when you were having a discussion with your significant other, at your job when you tried to show the work you have been doing, or at times when you have been competing in your favorite esport.

You wanted to express your frustration, but the way you did that was through an aggressive tone or body language, which limited the effectiveness of your speech. Or maybe it was that no one could connect with you as they felt you were a computer spitting out information due to no emotion or creativity.

If this resonates with you then continue reading, as I will be showing you that what you just read are examples of both reasonable mind and emotional mind. After those are described I will explain how the Core Mindfulness Skill of Wise Mind can be used to allow both reasonable and emotional mind to be integrated together so that balance occurs. This is a powerful tool that can enhance your gameplay and can also be used for experiences outside of your esport too!

To do this I will first break down emotional mind followed by reasonable mind in order to give context. This will allow you to learn how to notice the times in game where these mindsets can happen so that you can be aware of what can be changed.

This will be followed by an overview of what constitutes wise mind, along with steps for how you can achieve wise mind. Ready to learn how to become as wise as an owl? Ok so maybe not that kind of wisdom, but lets move into the different types of mindset.


 

How to create a wise mind

 

Emotional mind

The names of the two mindsets leave little to be imagined as the emotional mindset is exactly that, one where your emotions dictate your thoughts and subsequently your behavior.

Examples of this are raging at your teammates, taking events such as what others say personally, and other forms of intense responses that are likely followed by an impulsive behavior.

When only using your emotional mind your responses are likely to cause problems for both you and for those involved in that situation. This can even lead to a snowball effect where your emotional response becomes so out of hand that there is little you can do to stop the inevitable destruction.

Now the emotional mind is not only where poor responses are created. One of the positives is that it is where your creative mind exists, which allows for you to make plays in game that leave others in awe as they never saw your action coming!

Because of the influence that your emotional mind has, it is important to learn how to use it in a healthy way by creating balance with your addition of your other half, which I will discuss next.


 

Reasonable mind

With a reasonable mind you are not making rash decisions. Instead everything you do is calculated so as to choose the option that makes the most sense based on the data you have collected.

This is very helpful when dealing with situations as you will be able to come up with whatever the “best” option would be. It is important to have this as a part of your life, as without this ability you wouldn’t be able to make many of the decisions that you do everyday.

The reason why this cannot be an effective way to handle everything in life (sorry Vulcans) is because emotions do exist, and they have the power to influence the way we interpret information which then affects our choices. It also would leave you without any creativity, as you would not be able to think outside what makes the most logical sense.

The part of reasonable mind that can be problematic is when you think what you are doing and how you are playing is the "right way". This creates inaccurate information that you are then living by as you only have one side of the coin.

When you only use reasonable mind and do not acknowledge the emotional mind at all you will have difficulty in your gameplay, as well as other areas of your life such as limited creativity and potential difficulty in your relationship with others.

To counter this, lets learn how to build a wise mind by taking the best from both emotional and reasonable mind and creating wise mind.


 

Wise mind

Now that both emotional mind and reasonable mind have been explained it is time for you to see how wise mind is the best of both worlds, and how it will help you to increase your gameplay in your esport.

As you may have noticed, both emotional mind and reasonable mind have aspects of them that are positive. Wise mind is the combination of those positives into one mindset. With both of them working together you will be able to gain insight into what you are experiencing and why.

I will warn you now, it is not an easy task to gain wise mind. While it is nice to have skills that immediately solve a problem, often times we are only treating the problem itself and not its source.

Wise mind is more than an individual problem solver as it is a way to view all of your experiences in a healthy and consistent way so that you can find the most effective solution.

Take for example when someone rages at you. Your emotional mind would want to rage back and your reasonable mind would be confused as you would not see the reason for the rage happening since you have been playing well despite your team not doing well as a whole.

By learning how to use your wise mind you would be able to see reasons for the raging behavior beyond the ways that it affects you. For instance that teammate is likely to be having a bad game himself and deciding to take it out on you, or could be in a promotion series and they are angry that it will affect their promotion, maybe it was a bad day at work/school.

These things can be deduced through the use of wise mind by allowing both the understanding of emotions and the use of data to come to more rounded conclusion to the experiences that you are having.

So you are probably saying that is all well and good, but how do I get to this wise mind? Here are six ways you can work towards this.

 

6 skills to reach wise mind

Building mastery over your mind through the use of wise mind is best done with the use of these six skills.

Observe

Describe

Participate

Non-Judgmentally

One-Mindfully

Effectively

Those six skills that are linked for you have been developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD for working with unhealthy behaviors, and you can find more of her work here.

As mentioned earlier, developing these skills to work towards a wise mind is something that will take time. The reason being is that one of the best ways to develop your wise mind through these skills is to use the experiences that you have everyday. The reason being is that you need that experience to be the canvas you paint your wise mind on.

 

Now apply it!

So remember, the next time you find yourself in either emotional or reasonable mind, remember that in order to have the best outcome you need to combine the healthy parts of each to form wise mind. This will allow you to keep at bay the unhealthy responses to the unwanted outcome in your esport.

You now have the knowledge of what it takes to develop a wise mind along with the tools needed to get you on your way, so start using these skills when playing your esport, and in your everyday life!

Are there ways that you can use wise mind to enhance your gameplay and even your life? Let me know on Twitter or tell your story in the comment section below!


 

References

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy/Core Mindfulness Skills. (2006, June 24). Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. Retrieved 23:27, August 23, 2015 from https://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php?title=Dialectical_Behavioral_Therapy/Core_Mindfulness_Skills&oldid=499188.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy/Core Mindfulness Skills/Wise Mind/Experiencing Integration and Intuition. (2013, December 27). Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. Retrieved 23:28, August 23, 2015 fromhttps://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php?title=Dialectical_Behavioral_Therapy/Core_Mindfulness_Skills/Wise_Mind/Experiencing_Integration_and_Intuition&oldid=2596531.

Linehan, Marsha M. (1993). Cognitive behavioural Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Guilford Publications. ISBN: 0898621836.

Linehan, Marsha M. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Guilford Publications. ISBN: 0898620341.