Healthy Stress is often not a daily consideration to most average routines. I often wonder why this is. If you were to think about your brain as you think about your muscle system. How would you feel about not having ever lifted a mental weight since high school. Treating your mind like this will often lead you to a book or maybe even some formal education. There are some other very raw and innovative methods, that I have learned of that show significant improvements for groups of people!
First check out this link. ( onnit.com/academy/wim-hof )
If you didn’t go to that link I understand. So, to give you the quick summary Wim-Hof has managed to work into controlling something that a lot of us deem subconscious, and that is the internal thermostat your body keeps. (check out the article for more information)
I think that this is probably reaching into a rabbit hole for some of you. However, there were some interesting takes out of this article.
If you are standing and enjoying a shower that is at the perfect temperature. You consciously start to feel your muscles release and relax. If you can bring yourself to reach up and cut that shower all the way to cold! ! ! you WILL freak out! Its not actually your body freaking out, the water coming out of the shower is probably not any colder than I’d say at the worse, 40-50 degrees (F). It is your mind telling you to get out of there, things are changing too rapidly for your nervous system to understand.
Now, if you make your body stand in that water. The body will naturally approach a form of flight or flight. This is all conscious activity, “a mental workout.” You are teaching your brain to bend to your conscious thought, rather than an engrained natural reaction. Some of the Wim-Hof followers go as far as doing this in every single shower, for about a minute.
That is a solid form of mental control over your body. I have not seen any studies on this but I would venture to say, training that mental control would help you in many ways. Fight or flight is a very natural response and sometimes very helpful, at the same time it would be very helpful to turn it off when you please. Say in a situation like an active shooter, where you have to stop and think logically about what actions to take.
Training like this is very hard to safely create naturally.
I was listening to John Spera on an Order of Man Podcast titled, Trial by Fire. He brought out a very interesting topic. He spoke on how to create this training environments that is high stress safely. John is a Firefighter by day, while the firefighting community has a bunch of super cool training tools and enviroments. Im guessing most of these are not a very safe environment to train in. So they limit themselves in the safest way they can until they are still pushing themselves.
He wanted to recreate the stress he would be under in a real world call, while in the safety of a training environment. The day before a workout, John has his workout partners prepare different questions and scenarios. These questions and scenarios are unknown to him. Then while in the gym, he pushes himself as hard as he can with physical exercise, while he is broke down and gasping for air, he pushes his mind to calm down and recite the information he already knows.
This might seem like it would only be useful to the first responder or military career fields. I think this isn’t even close to being true. If you are a person who has test anxiety, training your brain like this could help you ease into those situation or just help with your memory recall under high stress.
Both of these scenarios or training exercises are what I call, Healthy Stress. These aren’t the only forms of healthy stress. Going out of your way to challenge yourself in your work place or in educational field are all forms of healthy stress. The thing with training for mental stress, is that it doesn’t take time out of your day if you are just consciously adding exercises to your routine.. (if you read the article from onnit, the breathing techniques)
Long story short.
Do not ever settle, push your self physically and mentally. Take time to appreciate your accomplishments, and keep pushing.
Bench4x10 (3warm up sets wide&normal grip)
Incline cable flys4x10 (Super set push-ups)
Decline cable flys4x10 (super set plate raises)
Stretch 20-30 min