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Building Mental Health | The Sports Mind Training


How do we Build our Mental Health?

In a previous blog, we have already discussed what is Mental Health.

Lets recap:

What actually is Mental health?

The Vedas (ancient texts) give an easy definition of mental health.

“Mental health, means a mind free from all kinds of physiological diseases in the form of fear, anxiety, stress, strain, worry, anger, jealousy, inferiority complex.”

They suggest that mental health can be maintained by applying the formula of physical health to mental health.

So the question is;  How do we Build our Mental Health?

We all wish to be FIT, mentally fit. What is being mentally FIT?

FIT : FREQUECY, INTENSITY, TIME TO RECOVER

The Vedas (ancient texts) and also modern science advise us that the signs of a healthy body are:

  1. Diseases are less frequent; Frequency is less.
  2. The intensity of the disease also is less.
  3. Time taken to recover is faster.

Extending the same principle, if my mind has got sufficient mental strength, then the number of mental issues I face; like fear, anxiety, stress, strain, worry, anger, jealousy, inferiority complex, do not occur frequently, also their intensity is less and finally if they do occur then the time taken to recover from their impact is faster.

So a healthy mind is one in which the frequency, intensity and the after effect of emotions like fear, anxiety, stress, strain, worry, anger, jealousy, inferiority complex are less.

We all get frustrated sometime but you will find that there are some people, where frustration continues for long periods of time, in some cases years but there are some people, who just bounce back like a rubber ball and continue their life. We have to strive towards not being affected or to bounce back faster.

A healthy life, happy life, requires taking care of two factors, one is adjusting the external condition (the world around me), another is improving my inner resistance to the world around me.

The ancient scriptures focussed upon; How I can improve my inner strength. My psychological resistance. The world around me can throw whatever it has at me, but I should NOT be seriously affected.

So how do we become mentally FIT?

We start by acquiring the skill of using the mind as an instrument. 

My Mind is not an independent and free entity; but the mind is my instrument.

The instrument should never have freedom of its own.

So, let’s take the example of driving a car. The car should not decide the direction of the journey!

The driver determines where the car should go. The driver is in the driver’s seat.

So once the mind is taken as an instrument. I should be the driver and acquire the skills to control and decide what the mind should and should not do.

Lets understand how the human mind complex is designed and how it behaves:

Part A of the human mind complex is referred to as the mind.

  1. The human mind is compared to a pendulum. A pendulum swings back and forth under the action of gravity. The human mind has a propensity that swings it back and forth from the present to the future or from the present to the past.
  2. The human mind is compared to a monkey. Monkeys are known to be restless, fidgety, unceasingly active. The human mind has similar propensities.
  3. All emotions we experience are all coming from the mind. Whether it is fear, anxiety, stress, strain, worry, anger, jealousy, inferiority complex etc. All these emotions are taking place in the mind.

Part B of the human mind complex is referred to as the intellect.

  1. The intellect is the rational aspect of the mind complex. It’s able to distinguish right and wrong.
  2. The intellect is where the vision that a human being wishes to pursue arises.
  3. To pursue the vision created by the intellect, the human being requires will power. The intellect delivers this will power

The Vedas tell us the driver of this mind complex should be it’s rational aspect, called the intellect. The will power generated by the intellect should be used to achieve the vision it has created for it’s life.

So once the mind is treated as an instrument and the intellect takes the decisions, then the journey to mental fitness has started.

However, making the intellect take the decision and allowing the mind to be the instrument is easier said than done.

The problem we face initially is that the mind has a mind of its own. So, it resists what the intellect tells it to do.

In fact from the morning when we wake up till we sleep, there is a fight / a wrestling match going on between the mind and the intellect. Invariably the mind wins.

All of us would have encountered the fight between sleep and waking up. Most human beings complain that they encounter the tussle between waking up and going to school, office etc. and wishing to continue sleeping for a little while more, most days of their life.

While the intellect may have decided to get up at 5 a.m., but once the alarm rings and you are partially awake, you hear this voice inside you saying : lets sleep for a bit more, it’s too early to get up. That is your mind speaking.

As I said mentioned earlier; invariably the mind wins. However, if we have to make ourselves mentally healthy / fit, then we have to work to strengthen the intellect so that the mind listens to it and we are able to achieve our vision in life.

The way to strengthen the intellect is through knowledge alone. Hence till the value of getting up at 5 a.m. and reaching the school or office on time is not strengthened, the mind will find ways to make you reach late. The value has to be made valuable.

Another way is to develop the skill to displace any thought in the mind by any other thought I choose. The mind may entertain thousands of different types of thoughts. I have to learn to use the intellect and introduce a healthy thought, a happy thought, a productive thought and there bye displace the minds thought that suggest that it is Ok to get up late.

A wonderful technique to help quieten the mind and make it listen to the intellect, is to give it an occupation like meditation. The mind as mentioned is swinging back and forth from the past to the future and also jumping around like a monkey. It is restless. Meditations helps quieten the mind.

The mind, has to be an instrument, it should be made capable of dropping all the worry thoughts, fear thoughts, anxiety thoughts etc. These thoughts can be displaced by a mantrā or any positive thought. Once through the practice of meditation, one can learn to displace worrying thought, with positive thoughts. Initially its difficult, however through sustained practice, the worrying thoughts will start dropping and mental strength will increase and thereby your mental fitness would improve.

So we lets start building our mental strength !





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