By Oskar Andermo updated on 08/01/2013
In this smartphone coaching series, learn how your iPhone paired with simple success principles can help you create a better life. This is Part 3 in the series. To start at the beginning, click here.
Health is the foundation of living a good life. Last week we covered ways to improve our physical health. This post is about the other part of being healthy—the mental aspect.
Everyone agrees that you have to exercise regularly in order to be physically healthy. What not many people know is that you also need to train mentally regularly to reach optimal health. What does it mean to train mentally? To train mentally means to exercise your mind to feel and function better.
Most people forget about this and may believe they can't do anything about the thoughts and images going around in their head. If you don’t train this aspect of yourself, external things you can't control, such as negative news, colleagues, commercials, etc. may hijack your mind.
What method should I use?
Same as in the physical world, there are thousands of methods to train your brain. Some are better than others. Like we said in the last post: “The best method is the one that you actually do.” I have experimented with several different ways to train my brain. There are two methods I like more than others, both of which have been scientifically tested and have shown good results.
1) Mindfulness: Buddhist Meditations
Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn has released several scientific papers on the topic of mindfulness, and it has proven to be a powerful method to feel and function better. I recommend you start practicing mindfulness today as it can have a very positive impact in your life. I am personally involved in several businesses, and sometimes there is just too much in me head. To then stop and meditate between 5-15 minutes in the middle of the day is a great way to empty my brain, and it makes me feel really relaxed and more able to focus.
I use an application called The Mindfulness App ($1.99), and I love it! You have meditations that start from 3 minutes up to 30 minutes, which is perfect as you can easily fit them into your busy schedule. If I only have a short break, I do the 3 minute one, if I have time for a longer break, I do the 15- or 30-minute version. Another thing I like to do is set reminders to help me remember to meditate.
2) Mental Training
The second method I can really recommend is integrated mental training developed by Swedish psychology professor Lars-Eric Uneståhl. He developed this method during the 1960s and 1970s by studying and applying his techniques in sports. At the time, people started to realize you could train really hard physically and still have a very good day or very bad day performance-wise. To become an excellent athlete involved more than just physical training—you had to be strong mentally. Later, in the 1980s and 1990s, he started to teach how to apply the same principles he developed in sports to people's personal lives.
The main way you train in mental training is with self-hypnosis tracks on your iPhone, where you eventually learn to take yourself to an alternative state of mind (in between awake and asleep) where you are more open to suggestions. Once you have learned this, there are so many practical applications. The limitations to what you can achieve will just be your fantasy.
Currenlty, there is no iPhone application for mental training. Either you take the complete course, which includes DVDs, books, and CDs with the mental training tracks. The course may be expensive, but it will be well worth it as the things you will achieve will sky rocket (with the bonus that you will feel awesome while doing it). If you are interested in the complete course, you can find more information here: www.mtsweden.com. If you are not ready to invest in the whole course, you can buy the Introduction to Mental Training ($9.99) by Unestahl/Gordin from the iTunes store. Put the mental training tracks on your iPhone so you can bring it with you.
In order to feel and function better, we need to train physically and mentally. Find a method that you like and will use for a long period of your life. To get strong mentally, the same principal applies as physical training: you need to train continuously for a long period, ideally the rest of your life. Try to pick a method that has been tested scientifically. The two methods I prefer and recommend are: mindfulness and mental training. Download The Mindfulness App and an Introduction to Mental Training. Put them on you iPhone and start to train regularly.