What is stamina?
You may have seen the term "mental stamina" in advertisements for supplements or game apps, claiming they can improve and enhance your brainpower. But not many of these sources explain what mental stamina actually means.
Mental stamina is one of the many different ways that you can describe the quality of your thoughts. It refers to how well ?— and how long ?— you can successfully do a particular task or keep up a train of thought.
Stamina's generally defined as the mental and physical ability to continue with a given task even though it may be stressful or take a long time.
Solely focusing on physical stamina involves the ability to push through stresses on the physical body, like how long you can run before you're fatigued.
By contrast, mental stamina involves how your brain and mind overcome stress, like how long can you focus on reading or writing before you grow tired, your concentration wanes, or you lose focus.
What are common ways to increase your mental stamina?
Boosting both your physical and mental stamina can be done, and it starts by building up endurance. Working out daily and gradually increasing the amount of exercise you do, for example, will increase your physical stamina over time.
Building your mental stamina happens much the same way by:
- Engaging in Physical Activity: exercising daily will greatly improve your mental health.
- Eating nutritional meals: consuming nutrient-rich foods gives your body the energy it needs to boost or maintain mental and physical stamina throughout the day.
- Getting quality sleep: keeping a consistent, nightly sleeping routine gives your brain the rest it needs to face daily tasks.
How is mental stamina like mental toughness?
Popular sports have popularized the notion of mental toughness, or having the focus, determination, and emotional control to accomplish difficult feats. These qualities are all achieved by building up endurance, which cultivates mental stamina.
So, one could say that mental toughness is essentially the peak of mental stamina.
Five key ways to boost mental toughness involve:
- Relaxation: meditation and breathing exercises are good ways to relax your body and focus your mind.
- Self-talk: focus on positive, empowering thoughts about yourself, shifting away from self-doubt and worry.
- Imagery: picture yourself succeeding at anything you want to try.
- Goal-setting: create concrete goals that you know you can accomplish, aiming to get a little better at each one every day.
- Concentration: train yourself to ignore distractions and intrusions so they don't steal mental energy.
What is the role of mental stamina at work?
For many people, having a job where they feel capable is the key to good mental health. We've shifted into a service economy where a lot of our work is mental instead of physical. This means that there's an increased need for mental stamina in the workplace.
Technology helps to speed up many processes in the modern office, but this can also increase pressure on employees and tax their mental health. Most steps to modernize an office are taken to increase efficiency and maximize employee output. Having strong mental stamina can help you survive these increased pressures. Everyone has a limit, though, to what they can and can't do, and it's important to know when you've reached yours.
Mental health problems are a serious concern. You should always talk to your doctor or therapist if you notice a change in your mental health.
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Australian Journal of Management: "A review and agenda for examining how technology driven changes at work will impact workplace mental health and employee wellbeing."
? Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America: "Promoting Mental Health and Wellness in Youth Through Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Sleep."
Consulting Psychology Journal: "Stargazing: Everyday Lessons From Coaching Elite Performers."
Neuropsychobiology: "Exercise and mental health: many reasons to move."
Oxford Reference: "mental toughness."