Be sure to check out our previous post on gratitude!
Today’s post is brought to you by the sport of rowing. If you’ve read The Boys in the Boat, you probably have a general idea of how rowing works. For those who don’t, think of the movie The Social Network. Amid all the computer speak is a scene where the Winklevoss twins are racing head to head with another boat at the Henley. That’s rowing.
But what does rowing have to do with mental health and this blog?
Good question! To get to that point, there are a couple more things that you need to understand about rowing. The first is that the rowers face backwards, so every boat has a coxswain who faces towards. The coxswain also steers the boat and yells at the crew to motivate them. The second thing you need to know is that during the fall season, crews compete in 5k head races. This means that competing boats start on the course 10-15 seconds apart and final time determines the winner. In some head races, a boat may pass many other boats on the course. In other races, a boat may never even see another boat on the course.
5k head races are challenging because it can be hard for a crew to stay motivated and competitive if they don’t even see the boats that they are racing against. Also, 5k races are long and can take around 20 minutes of hard rowing, depending on the river conditions and the skill of the crew. In order to stay motivated and competitive during 5k’s, my team does what we call a Silent 10 Mental Reset.
This means that at the halfway point of a race, a coxswain will tell the crew to reset so they can row the race over again. Then, the coxswain will be silent for 10 strokes in order for the crew to collect and focus in. After these 10 strokes, the coxswain can go back to making calls and motivating the crew. The idea is that within the stress and chaos of a race, the crew takes a moment to collect themselves. Instead of letting up, a mental reset allows them to refocus so that they can push harder through the second half of the race.
The Power of a Mental Reset
Okay, so the idea of a mental reset is great if you’re racing a 5k in a boat with 8 other people. But how about when you’re going through another day at work? When you’re running errands? Bickering with friends and family members? At your wits end?
Same concept as a race, do a mental reset.
Imagine that you walked into work to find a stressful situation or you realized that an error was made, which you have to correct. At that moment, you’re probably going to be frustrated. Instead of saying something rude or reacting negatively, you can close your eyes and count to 10 really slowly. Over that 10, think about resetting your emotions, leveling your head, and focusing in on a solution to the problem.
Similarly, if you come home grouchy only to find a tornado of screaming kids waiting for you, that is the moment to pause and reset. As you count to 10, think about dropping the grouchiness from your day in order to start with a clean slate for family time.
Whatever you may be doing, there is rarely a bad time to stop and collect yourself. A good mental reset can help prevent you from acting out of anger and saying something you may regret. It can also allow you to leave negative emotions behind as you put bad parts of the day behind you.
Have you done a mental reset today? Tell us all about it in the comments below!