• Psychology of Movement
    Is your mind an obstacle?
  • Is your mind an obstacle?
  • At Psychology of Movement, we often talk about the mind becoming an obstacle rather than a resource.

    When your mind is an obstacle this may be because:

    You have limiting beliefs about who you are and what you can do (e.g. “I am not good enough”)

    Emotions come up and drive you away from your exercise goals (e.g. “My lack of progress is frustrating there’s no point in trying”)

    You buy into self-defeating thoughts (e.g. “I can’t do this”)

    As you try to embed exercise into your life, unfortunately your mind can throw up pesky hurdles.

    The reality is, it is likely you will encounter limiting beliefs, difficult emotions and self-defeating thoughts. These are all a part of being human. But know that you don’t need to blindly follow them and let them drive your behaviour.

    Instead you can…make your mind a resource

    All of these processes (limiting beliefs, difficult emotions, self-defeating thoughts) can actually work for you as a resource.

    Here is where ‘What’s The Function?’ can be useful:

    A belief cropping up e.g. ‘I am not an exerciser’ can be viewed as a fork in the road. An opportunity to follow that belief and consolidate it. Or it can be an opportunity to do something different. See it like an opportunity to give yourself a nudge in the right direction.

    A difficult emotion e.g. frustration, sadness can actually give you information. Listen to your emotions. Don’t avoid them or buy into them. Ask “what is this telling me about what I value?” For example, if you feel frustrated with your progress and want to give up then be curious and ask yourself what this emotion tells you about what you value? Does it mean you value your health and you are frustrated because you are finding the changes you are trying to make hard? And if so – what actions could you take to live that value?

    The presence of self-defeating thoughts can in fact suggest you are doing the right thing and making progress. If you have the thought of ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I don’t belong in the gym’ in fact can suggest you are doing the right thing and making progress. These thoughts are coming up because you are making a change. You are challenging the status quo!

    Therefore, the very processes that serve as barriers can become resources. Next time you have a limiting belief, difficult emotion or self-defeating thought, ask yourself ‘What’s The Function’ and consider how you can flip the experience to make these mind obstacles work for you as a resource.

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