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Strength
Psychology
Instruction Manual

By Mike Gillette

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Table Of Contents
Mike Gillettes Personal Story of Strength 5

The Mindset of Mental Toughness 13

Exercise One: Mindfulness 26

Exercise Two: Concentration 27

Exercise Three: Relaxation 28

Exercise Four: Visualization 29

Exercise Five: Autogenic Practice 30

Exercise Six: Progressive Muscle Relaxation: 31

Affirmations & Goal Setting Principles 33

Other Products From Mike Gillette 35

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Personal Story of Strength.... Mike Gillette

I live an unusual life. Its been an amazing


life. Ive dreamed big, worked hard and
done my best to make strong decisions.
Decisions that have helped me get to
those dreams. But the truth is I never
expected to have this life. As a kid, I was
a million miles from the person I am today.
I was small, weak and seemingly afraid of
everything. My story is one of weakness
transformed into strength and second
changes. This is my story.

I was the result of an unintended


pregnancy. My parents married. That
marriage was unhappy. My parents split up
when I was three years old. At that point it
was just my mother and I. We were poor.
For four years we had no car. The glasses
in the cupboard in the kitchen were the beer glasses my mother had stolen from
bars that she frequented. The jelly for my morning toast came from those little
plastic containers that she would shove into her purse.

And there were men. Men I might see just once and others who would come
back. My mother pursued bad relationships. Her talent for bad relationships was
such that when I was six, we moved across the country to get away from one of

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these guys. All of her stuff and all of my stuff had to fit into one single suitcase.
But when we got to New Mexico, he found us.

Six months later, we moved again. Same suitcase. This time we were lucky. He
didnt follow us. My mothers next relationship nearly killed her. She met a man
who beat her. Badly. How badly? Growing up, I saw my mother get punched,
kicked and shoved. One night she was thrown down a flight of stairs.

I was seven years old when they got together. I was eight the night of the first
really bad beating. We left that next day. But then, we went back. We left other
times, after other beatings, but we always went back. We would always leave in a
hurry, so I learned to keep my most cherished possessions in a small box under
my bed so I could grab them quickly.

Growing up, I was often left alone. The adults left for work early in the morning.
So by age eight I was in charge of getting myself up, fed, dressed and
scrounging up the two quarters I would need to ride the city bus. The bus stop
was a mile away. So on a good day, I only walked two miles to school and back.
But if I couldnt find enough quarters, Id have to walk twice that far to get home.
Even in winter.

One night when I was still eight, I woke up around 10:30 pm and discovered that
I was home alone. My mother and step-father had snuck out after I had gone to
sleep. I didnt know what to do. I was scared. So I went looking for them. It was
winter and there was snow on the ground. I walked from our apartment building
on the edge of town, some four miles to the downtown bar district of Iowa City.
Thats where they were.

In these days we were still poor. The kind of poor where I had to answer the
telephone because we were often behind with rent and they didnt want to talk

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to the landlord. There were days when
I was hungry all day. And there was
alcohol. Every morning, beer cans and
bottles were strewn all over the house.
Drugs too. There were days when I
would wake up and have to walk around
random adults whod be passed-out on
the floor.

If youve ever watched that TV show


Cops and noticed that wherever the cops
go, Miami, Alaska, it doesnt matter, on
the inside of every house they respond
to, all the houses look the same. Chaos.
That was how we lived.

My mother had grown up attending church. But church didnt stick with her. By
the time I was 10 years old, I had figured out that my mother was practicing
witchcraft. Spells, spirits, tarot cards, everything you have ever heard of. And it
was no secret; it was all out in the open. Now, I dont know what you think about
things like that, but its a very dark place.

By the time I turned 11 I had graduated to being left home alone overnight. I
didnt like it. And as I got older, the violence continued. One particular night, after
having her head beaten against the wall while simultaneously being choked, my
mother spent several days feeling dizzy. She finally went to a doctor and a brain
tumor was discovered. It was inoperable. After a year of cancer treatments, she
died. I was fifteen.

After she died, I continued to live for a time with my step-father. Then my

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grandparents and finally, my biological father in Arizona. None of those situations
went well. I had absorbed so much negativity by that point in my life that I was
a mess. How much of a mess? Drugs. Alcohol. How much? As much as I could.
And not surprisingly, none of that was helpful.

I started to care about things less and less and eventually I stopped caring
completely. In February of 1981, I had hit the wall. I was 18 years old when I
decided to commit suicide. I checked into a motel and consumed a ridiculous
amount of booze and pain killers. Then I laid down on the bed and just waited to
die. Much to my surprise, I woke up the next day very much alive. This led me to
conclude two things. Number one, I must be hard to kill. Number two, since I was
still alive, then maybe there was a reason for that, a reason I had been given a
second chance.

A couple of months went by and I reconnected with someone from my past. This
was a girl that I had dated in high school a couple of years earlier. In those days
we had little in common, but I was always drawn to her. She was a good person,
the kind of person I would have liked to have been if only my own life had been
different.

But now I was back in touch with her, on the phone, writing letters and a few
months later I moved back to be with her. We were officially a couple again. And
we did things together. One of those things was going to church. And later that
year, the same year my life almost ended, was also the year that my life really
began as a follower of Jesus Christ. Now, Im not here to discuss religion; Im just
telling my story. And it would be dishonest if I were to leave out what I consider to
be the most important part of that story.

So what happened next? Well, it was very simple. I wanted to live as differently
as I possibly could from who I used to be. I wanted to help people. I wanted to

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be a cop. But I was too young.
College? Well, I didnt have
the money for that. And then
I realized that the Army had
college money and also seemed
kind of cool. So off I went.

Things clicked for me in the


Army. It was a place where the
harder I worked, the more I
was rewarded. Now, of course,
this is not the only place where that happens, but it was the first place that I had
discovered that. And it was a place where I started dreaming big. Plus, they paid
me to jump out of airplanes.

When my enlistment was up, I became eligible for an ROTC scholarship and I
started college. Then, on December 16th, 1984 I went out for the day. I went to
go on a rock climbing expedition with some friends of mine. It was east of Tucson
in Vail Canyon. We were going to climb out of Vail Canyon, but the only way to
do that was to rappel into Vail Canyon. The way to do that was to rappel off of an
abandoned railroad bridge.

It was a good distance from our vehicle to the bridge itself. And when we got to
the bridge I realized that I did not have my hardware with me. So rather than walk
a half mile back to the truck and a half mile back to the bridge, a friend of mine
suggested that I use some of his hardware. He had a piece of gear that I had not
used before. I told him I dont know how to hook myself up to this. He said dont
worry; Ill take care of that.

What I didnt know at that moment is that he was hooking me up incorrectly.


So when it came my time to go, standing on the top beam of an abandoned
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railroad bridge, from which I had to jump off, swing underneath, catch myself,
stop swinging, then rappel in a controlled fashion to the canyon floor, nothing
happened. Nothing actually happened to engage that rope to provide friction and
allow me to slide in a controlled fashion, (which is what rappelling is), down to the
canyon floor.

Instead, I found that as soon as I started to grab onto the rope nothing was
slowing me down, nothing except my hands. At the time I was wearing leather
gloves and some old military fatigues and I realized that something was
dreadfully wrong as I began screaming towards the earth. The only thing that
I knew that might save me from dying was to grab onto the rope with every
possible part of my body.

I grabbed with my gloves and wrapped my legs around the rope. I tried to hug
the rope with my upper body, even my neck. At that moment, I was experiencing
the most painful kind of pain I had ever felt in my entire life as that rope burned
through the leather gloves, turning my hands to hamburger, burned through my
trouser legs, burned through the shirt I was wearing, cut my entire upper body
and my right leg raw. It was the most intense pain I had ever experienced, until
I slammed into the canyon floor, breaking my back and my ankles.

Later that same day I was wheeled into an emergency room and I met my future
orthopedic surgeon who was going to piece me back together. This particular
orthopedic surgeon was a former Army surgeon, so he understood the world that
I came from and was planning on going back into. And I asked him, what are my
chances? How long is it going to take for me to get back to where I was? And he
said the good news is youre going to walk again. You will not run; you will not
jump out of any more airplanes.
I was a very young man. I was married. I had a baby at this point and I had no
plan B. All I wanted to do was complete my college degree, get commissioned

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as an officer and go back into the Army. I had, in one day, ended the life I had
wanted, the life I had planned for myself.

The next four-and-a-half years were spent trying to recapture my physical self.
It was a very rocky time. It was a very frustrating time. I came face-to-face with
depression. And it was also a very confusing time because, up to then, I had
been doing everything that I thought I was supposed to be doing. I was working
hard. I was having good results. But that accident changed everything.

It took me years to get beyond what a doctor had said was going to be an
inactive life. A life of just walking around. A life of not being the kind of person,
doing the kinds of things that I dreamed of doing. But somehow, I was able to
persevere. To get past the pain, the setbacks and become someone on the road
to the life that I had originally desired.
The thing that was hard for me to keep in mind during those four-and-a-half years
of pain and frustration and wondering about the unknown was that I should not

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have even survived that fall. That I had actually been given a second chance.
Those were things were hard to see at the time.

So how does this story turn out? Hard work got me back to where I wanted to
be and needed to be physically. And once that happened, I was able to go back
to dreaming big. And over the years Ive continued to work hard and my dreams
have gotten bigger. And today Im accomplishing goals that even a few years ago
would have seemed impossible to me.

I went from a scared person to this person. I went from a weak person to the
person that I am now. I have been given the strength to live an amazing life, to
do amazing things. Things that people who knew me back in the day would never
believe.

Strength is choices
and during this video
presentation I will be
sharing with you and
encouraging you.
Encouraging you to
dream your biggest,
work your hardest and to
choose to do those things
that make you strong.

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The Mindset of Mental Toughness
What is Mindset?
Mindset is the process of increasing your
ability to handle all kinds of Stress physical,
mental, and emotional to make you more
combat effective. Your mind, body, and
emotions become more responsive and
stronger through Mindset Training.

Mindset is a Learned Skill


Mindset is not related to genetics. If you
dont have it, you just havent learned it.
Anyone can choose to learn to focus at
any stage in his or her life. Mindset allows
achievement regardless of talent. You can
learn whatever mechanical skills you need
but only through mindset can you discover
your real limits.

Mindset Begets Discipline


Discipline leads to your Peak Performance State or (PPS). PPS refers to the
optimal state of physiological and psychological arousal for performing at your
optimum. Arousal is reflected in heart rate, muscle tension, brain wave frequency,
blood pressure, and other measures. PPS is accompanied by a distinct pattern of
emotions. You are most likely to experience PPS when:

Confident Relaxed Challenged Focused Instinctive

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Effects of Emotions
Emotions are important because theyre connected to arousal. Emotions are
biochemical events in the brain which lead to powerful changes in the body.

These changes either move you closer to or further away from your PPS. Fear
moves you away, confidence brings you closer.

Discipline is Mental, Physical & Emotional


What you think, how you act, what you eat, quality of your sleep, and your level
of fitness, have profound effects on your emotional state. Tough thinking, tough
acting, fitness, proper rest, and diet are prerequisites for feeling tough. Mindset
is not just mental.

Discipline Manifests Itself Physically


The body is physical; skill is physical;
and emotions are electrochemical
events in the brain which are also
physical. People make the mistake of
believing that what they think, particularly
negative thinking has little effect on
their performance. Since you cant see
emotions, you may view them as not as
real or important as physical aspects.
Thoughts and emotions are real and are
as linked to achievement as talent and
skill.

Assessing Your PPS


Performing toward the upper range of
your talent and skill is directly related

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to your ability to maintain your Peak
Performance State. Mobilizing your
bodys performance potential requires
a very special kind of psychological
and physiological balance. Feelings of
relaxation, calmness, alertness, focus,
confidence, and enjoyment form the
basis of this delicate state and reflect a
very special condition of bodily arousal.

Emotions mirror whats happening


deep within your bodys physiology.
For example, feeling relaxed reflects
the amount of electrical energy being
transmitted through the muscles of your
body. When your muscles feel tight
it means a great deal of bioelectrical
energy is being delivered, feeling loose
means just the opposite.

Feelings of confidence or aggression reflect a very specific bio-chemical


balance in the body. Feelings of helplessness and fatigue are rooted in opposing
bio-chemical processes. Blood sugar, adrenaline and hormones are a few
of the factors that influence our moment-to-moment feelings and emotions
during training or competition. When feelings shift from confident to fearful,
changes occur in the brains chemistry that influence coordination, balance and
concentration.

Peak State vs. Normal State


The way you really feel and the way you need to feel to perform at your best level

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may be worlds apart. In the context of
Mindset Training, the way you really feel
is your real self and the way you need
to feel to perform at your best is what
well call your ________ self. (Fill in
that blank with a term that is meaningful
for you: warrior, champion, hero, etc).
Understanding how the two interact
is fundamental to harnessing your
potential.

Feelings and emotions are flowing all the


time, some positive and some negative.
Emotions are really body talk carried
on by the bodys chemical messengers.
Positive emotions generally signal
balance and health; negative emotions
typically signal unmet needs of some
kind. Each and every negative feeling
and emotion that you experience serves a purpose.

Mindset comes from responding to negative messages in appropriate ways;


if you totally block them out, meeting your needs becomes nearly impossible,
meaning that your physical performance will go into a steep decline.

We know the feelings and emotions we need to feel during training and
performance to perform at our best PPS level, but the reality is that what we need
to feel may be the opposite of how we actually feel at that moment. Feelings of
confidence, high energy, relaxation, enjoyment may never appear or suddenly
evaporate at the first sign of trouble.

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Confidence may be replaced with fear,
relaxation with tightness, energy with
fatigue, enjoyment with frustration
or angerthe list goes on and on.
Corresponding changes in brain
chemistry and physiology accompany
these shifts in feelings.

When basic needs for food, rest,


sleep, water, and so forth are not
met, mindset and PPS control quickly
become unattainable. The same thing
holds true emotionally: when ones
emotional needs are not adequately met
before competition, particularly those
associated with self-worth, the problems
with nerves, self-doubt, frustration, and
perceived failure are inevitable.

Fundamental to Mindset is Physical Fitness


A low tolerance for physical stress typically means the battle will be lost before
it begins. Once an athlete reaches his physical limits, its like unplugging a
computer from its power source. Mindset requires physical flexibility, strength,
and resiliency. The same thing holds true emotionally.

Mindset requires a great capacity for mental and emotional stress,


responsiveness and resiliency. This capacity is acquired only through exposure
to a specific level of stress. Too little stress and overprotection, or too much
stress and over stimulation, reduces your capacity for coping effectively with the
challenges of training and competition. All of this takes discipline.

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Disciplined Thinking
The thoughts and images you carry
in your head have precise emotional
consequences. Undisciplined thinking
will kick your emotional targets far out of
range.

External Discipline
The way you carry your head and
shoulders, the look on your face, the way
you walk, your body language, also have
precise emotional consequences. Acting
the way you feel generally intensifies
whatever emotion that may be present.
Acting the way you want to feel to
achieve PPS moves you closer to your desired emotional state.

Emotional Response Practice


If youre hoping for a new emotional response to the same old problem and
you have not had a chance to practice, the odds are against you. Emotional
responses need time and stimulation to grow, just as muscles do. Emotional
responses require practice timethe more intense, the betterto train the
underlying biochemical mechanisms.

Tough Thinking
This is simply your ability to use words and images to control your PPS. This
means disciplined thinking during training. Tough thinking keeps you from losing
your temper when you make a mistake or from giving up when the battle appears
lost.

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Example During training when
your lungs are burning and you feel
exhausted, think: As tough as this
situation may be I am tougher!

Tough Acting
This is simply your ability to use your
body to control your Peak Performance
State. This means disciplined, precise
acting during training and competition.
Like tough thinking, tough acting is a
powerful weapon with which to control
fear, anger, helplessness, and doubt.

When you feel that your energy is gone:


Force yourself to look as fresh as if youd
just rolled out of bed on the best day of
your life.

When you make the worst mistake "Bad things" can either be
possible: Immediately turn away from physically dangerous or
that mistake and show nothing on the
simply unpleasant. If the bad
outside but supreme confidence.
things in your life can't
When a crisis is approaching: Look physically hurt you, then
calm. Act calm. Become calm. stop being afraid of them...
MIKE GILLETTE
Trouble-Shooting Toughness
Those who consistently respond effectively when things get difficult possess
certain emotional skills. But many more do not. So its important to examine the

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untrained emotional responses to stressors, when people simply give up inside.
What we will refer to as surrendering.

Excuse-making is one of the most common forms of surrendering. People also


use the withdrawal of effort to control their nerves. Surrendering is particularly
common among those who have been labeled gifted or talented. To preserve
their reputation, they create excuses to explain poor performances. These
excuses help protect their ego.

Although surrendering can lessen pain


Discipline is not what you
and reduce nervousness, it carries a
WANT to do. Discipline is
stiff price: never fulfilling ones potential.
When you withdraw energy, motivation, not what you SHOULD do.
or effort, everything starts shutting Discipline is what you
down, meaning that the battle to bring ACTUALLY do.
your talent and skill to life will be lost. MIKE GILLETTE

Anger
Once one learns to control the surrendering response, the next emotional obstacle
will be anger or negativism. People who fuel their training with negative emotion
never achieve real mindset. Anger and negativism often serve as misguided
attempts to protect oneself from pain and, like surrendering, can drive nervousness
away. But once that connection is made, the temptation to use negative thinking to
control surrendering and emotional pain can become powerful.
Negativism flows in two directions, inward or outwards. Of the two, self-directed
anger and negativism disrupt Peak Performance State control the most and
inflicts the greatest damage. Fueling performance with anger is like pouring
gasoline on a fire to keep it going. The fire will burn, but it will burn out of control.

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Anger Abuse
To reduce pressure: Telling yourself youre stupid or you suck reduces
expectations and helps control nerves.

To increase arousal: People use anger to get themselves more stimulated. Anger
mobilizes fighting energy.

To prevent surrendering: Anger can help overcome fear. Nobody likes feeling
helpless and many will gladly trade fear for anger.
These examples demonstrate why so many get off track with negative emotion.
Although superior to surrendering as a strategy for managing pressure, negative
emotions wont take you where you want to go.

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Learn From the Military
The military has a system of Testing your limits leads
toughening individuals. Undisciplined, to self-discovery. Hiding
unfocused, unbrave young people from them leads to self-
are transformed within eight to twelve
deception...
weeks into soldiers mentally tough
MIKE GILLETTE
enough to conquer the ultimate fear;
the fear of dying.

Marching and Mindset


Why is the practice of marching so crucial to the making of a soldier? Consider
that there is no marching on the modern battlefield. Nobody stays alive very long
marching into the face of the enemy. It is because marching is not whats done
during battle, marching is for between battles.

How do marching soldiers look on the outside? No visible sign of weakness,


fatigue, no sagging shoulders, no negativism, no fear.

What you do see is focus, confidence, and precision. Marching prepares soldiers
for battle by making them practice being decisive and looking strong and
confident regardless of how they feel. Marching teaches discipline, sustained
concentration, decisiveness and poise, all essential elements in conquering fear.

The Process
Transitioning from fearful to fearless occurs in response to following a strict
behavioral code: A precise way of standing, walking or sitting, quick and decisive
response to commands. No hesitation is tolerated. Any visible sign of weakness
or negative emotion of any kind is simply not permitted.

Regular exposure to high levels of mental, emotional, and physical training stress

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to accelerate the toughening process. Precise control and regulation of sleep,
eating, drinking, and rest. Rigorous fitness training with an enforced
schedule of recovery.

Mindset Strategies
Change your thinking to change how you feel The connection between thought
and emotions works two ways: the way you feel affects the way you think; the
way you think affects the way youre feel. The important element here is that you
can exercise substantial control over the direction and content of your thoughts.

Take Responsibility For What and How You Think -


One of the most powerful things you can do to suppress negative thoughts is
to say Stop to yourself and immediately begin processing positive thoughts
and images. Commit to not allowing negative feelings to lead you into negative
thinking. You arent always responsible for negative feelings, but you are

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responsible for any negative thoughts that you permit. Remember, nobody but
you is inside your head.

Never Think or Say Cant; Never Think or Say Hate I cant believe it. I cant
do it. I hate myself.

These are examples of non-tough thinking. They build emotional roadblocks. This
type of inflexible thinking always leads to problems.

Think / Visualize in Vivid Emotional Terms

I will put myself on the line every day.


I will not give up.
I will not turn against myself during tough times.
I will come totally prepared to train every day.
I will not show weakness on the outside.

Live in the Moment

This is one of the great secrets of peak performance in competition. A here-and-


now mental focus during training makes accessing your talent and skill much
easier. A present-centered focus, is the key to performing well under pressure.
During competition, thinking about the future lets fear beat you; thinking about
the past lets frustration beat you. Live in the moment when training and in
competition.

Remind Yourself to Love the Struggle


Love the process, the fight, the breakthroughs and the struggles. Loving to win
is easy. Loving the process moves you to a whole new level of skill. Loving the
battle happens because you make it happen.

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Know Why This Fight is Important Before You Begin; Then BEGIN

Without a clear commitment to fight, you probably wont. Its too painful and
requires too much energy. You need to ask yourself, Will I put myself totally on
the line and risk losing giving everything I have to give?

The journey into mindset is forever. You never finally arrive, never finally get
it and never finally get over the top. You only get stronger or weaker, closer or
further away; you only grow or dont grow.

The objective is to continue growing,


Strength starts internally
moving forward, challenging yourself to
and manifests outwardly.
reach beyond and replace weakness
Strong thoughts become
with strength.
strong goals. Strong goals
become strong deeds...
MIKE GILLETTE

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Exercise One:
Mindfulness
Right now, take 60 seconds to pay attention in a particular way to your breathing.
The particular way that you are going to pay attention to your breath is by doing so
non-critically. You will simply experience what you experience as you experience it.

So, sit on your chair and focus on your breathing. In and out. Keep your eyes
focused on a spot in front of you, or you can even close the eyes, whatever is
most comfortable for you. And take a moment sixty seconds to pay attention
to something that we rarely pay attention to, and that is your breath. Feel it. Feel
it coming in through each nostril and out through the mouth. Notice the sensation
of warmth or coolness in the breath, and what it feels like to pay attention to
the breath. Continue to do this. If any distractions, thoughts or feelings impede
your focus on breath, simply recognize their presence and continue to breathe,
recognizing them as neither important at this time nor unimportant.

If you can do this exercise for one minute, then you can gradually increase it to
three minutes, five minutes and eventually ten minutes. Doing so will allow you
to intuitively know how to stay focused on the present and to, noncritically, see
thoughts as just thoughts. This means the gravity of circumstances can be just
that, accepted in the moment as they are, even though the thought of dwelling
on these realities can be overwhelming. Such acceptance does not imply liking
a situation or outcome. Acceptance in no way implies that you want something
negative to happen, but it does suggest that you lay it out on the floor before you,
see it as it is and move on from there with whatever you have at this moment.
Mindfulness is a life-altering attribute that can be cultivated with a few intentional
moments each day.

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Exercise Two:
Concentration
Concentration meditation allows you to practice moving your attention from one
thing to another. Start by relaxing in your chair. Now pick a point on the far wall.
It can be any point, a speck of paint, a color on the wall, a shadow or anything
you that become aware of. Now fix your attention on that spot, not removing your
eyes from it. You may notice you want to shift your gaze, and if you must for just
a moment you can, but quickly return your attention to that same spot.

Now notice how easy it is to bring your attention to a specific point and to
immerse yourself in this experience. See yourself being drawn to that point,
and anytime an intrusive thought comes to mind, allow yourself to discard that
thought in favor of your awareness of that spot. Experience that spot. Be a part
of that spot. For just a few moments in time imagine that nothing else exists other
than that spot.

It may seem almost too simple, but this is important skill-building. By intentionally
practicing the technique of directing your concentration to a specific spot, you
will develop the skill of automatically directing your attention to those things in life
which are more pleasant. The reason this technique works is that as you practice
on a daily basis, the old habits of subconscious awareness of the same old things
that you have noticed in life (such as frustration or discomfort), are replaced with
the intentional ability to direct your thoughts.

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Exercise Three:
Relaxation
In this exercise we are going to practice recognizing the difference between
tension and relaxation, and practice attaining a deep state of muscular relaxation.
Sit comfortably in your chair, with the feet on the floor and the spine upright
and away from the back of the chair. Scan your entire body for obvious tension
and let that tension relax away. You can do this exercise with the eyes open or
closed, as most prefer to practice with their eyes closed.

As your hands rest on your thighs, you are going to tense them into a fist and hold
that tension. Not so tight that you feel discomfort, but tight enough to feel the fingers
in the palm of the hand, and the muscles in the fingers, the back of the hand and
wrist become tight. Now hold that tension, paying attention to what tension feels
like and count to three. Then slowly release the tension, opening your fingers and
letting them rest on your knees. As you do, notice the sensation of relaxation in the
muscles, the tingle of relaxation and how it feels to let go of that tension.

Now repeat the process. Hold that tension in the fists, noticing and feeling the
tension, counting to three and then relaxing. As you relax the second time, notice
how deeply the muscles relax, almost twice as relaxed as the first time.

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Exercise Four:
Visualization
Find a comfortable place to relax, scan your body for any tension and let those
muscles go slack. Take in a deep breath or two, noticing how your heart rate
slows and your breathing becomes smooth and rhythmic. When you are ready,
close your eyes.

And with the eyes closed, imagine that you are outside under a clear blue sky. It
is not too hot or too cold. It can be a beautiful place you have been to before --
or a place you would like to go to -- or simply a place of your own creation. Now
take a moment to look into the sky and notice a single white puffy cloud lazily
floating across the horizon. As it slowly moves across the sky it becomes smaller
and smaller -- eventually drifting out into the horizon and disappearing. Take
another moment to be mindful of your experience with visualization and when
ready, simply reopen your eyes.

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Exercise Five:
Autogenic Practice
Sit in your chair in a position that promotes awareness and comfort. Keep your spine
straight and your feet on the floor. Begin by closing the eyes and focusing on the
hands. In this exercise, it is okay to join the hands together by holding onto each
other with the fingers and sometimes people find when the hands are lightly joined
that it makes this process easier. Now as you relax, focus on your hands and say to
yourself, My hands are warm and heavy. My hands are warm and heavy.

As you do this, say it out loud, focusing on the sensation of warmth in the hands
and the sensation of heaviness. Allow yourself to feel warmth and heaviness as
you repeat, My hands are warm and heavy. My hands are warm and heavy.
Now focus on your feet as your heart rate slows and your muscles relax. Say
to yourself, My feet are warm and heavy. My feet are warm and heavy. Let
yourself concentrate on these sensations of relaxation as your feet feel warmth
and heaviness. After a few moments experiencing the sensations of warm and
heaviness, reorient to the room and open the eyes.

After completing this exercise, ask yourself, Did I notice the change? For some
people the change in perception is very intense even the first time. For others the
change is less intense, with only heat or heaviness the primary sensation. This
is the beginning of learning that you can control the responses of the autonomic
nervous system.

You have felt a change and now recognize your own ability to control sensations
of heat, heaviness, calm or coolness. So the more important question is this: if
you can control sensations of coolness, warmth and heaviness, could you also
do so to control nerves? Stress? Or pain?

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Exercise Six:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
Forehead Raise your eyebrows as high as they will go, as though you were
surprised by something, and hold that tension while counting to three. Then relax
those muscles, noticing the sensation of relaxation in the brow. Repeat.

Eyes and cheeks Squeeze your eyes tight shut, not so tight that it is
uncomfortable, but feeling the tension in the cheeks and eyes. Hold that tension
and count to three, noticing what the tension feels like. Now relax, noticing what
the sensation of relaxation feels like. Repeat.

Mouth and jaw Open your mouth as wide as you can without experiencing
pain in the jawbone, like you are yawning. Hold that tension and count to three,
noticing what the tension feels like. Now relax, noting what relaxation feels
like. Repeat. Notice how each time the exercise is repeated the sensation of
relaxation doubles.

Neck (Be careful as you tense these muscles do not strain, just a light
tension in the muscles. Do not do this if you have any history of neck injury or
pain). Face forward and then pull your head back slowly, as though you are
looking up to the ceiling. Hold this tension for a moment, and then relax, noticing
what this relaxation feels like. Repeat.

Shoulders Tense the muscles in your shoulders as you bring your shoulders
up towards your ears. Hold that tension, counting to three and noticing what
tension feels like. Now relax,

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Shoulder Blades & Back Push your shoulder blades back, trying to almost
touch them together, so that your chest is pushed forward. Hold this tension and
count to three. Relax, taking a breath and noticing what relaxation feels like.
Repeat. Again, notice how in repeating the exercise your awareness of relaxation
is doubled.

Hands and forearms Make a fist with your hands, hold that tension, and relax.
Repeat.

Upper arms - Bring your forearms up to your shoulders to make a muscle


and hold that tension in the biceps, feeling it in the triceps and all of the smaller
muscles of the upper arms. Count to three and relax slowly, feeling the sensation
of relaxation. Repeat.

Chest and stomach Breathe in deeply, filling up your lungs and chest with
air and holding that breath while you count to three. Now exhale, exhaling all of
the air, feeling a sense of relaxation in the muscles of the chest and diaphragm.
Repeat.

Hips and glutes As you squeeze your gluteal muscles together, feel the
tension in these large muscles, and hold that tension as you count to three. And
relax, repeating this process.

Upper legs Tighten your thighs. Hold tension relax repeat.

Lower legs Do this slowly and carefully to avoid cramps. Pull your toes
towards you to stretch the calf muscles. Hold tension relax repeat. Feet - Curl
your toes downwards. Hold tension relax repeat.

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Affirmations
An affirmation is a positive statement that you say to yourself several times
each day. Many people who use affirmations make a list of 5-10 statements
and write them on a card. They repeat the affirmations to themselves regularly.
Incorporating these positive thoughts into your day is a way to reduce any anxiety
that you may feel, because the positive thoughts replace the negative thoughts.

Examples of positive affirmations. You can use these as written, adjust them, or
write your own.

I am calm and relaxed whenever I choose to be


I believe I can do everything
I take excellent care of my mind and body
I pursue excellence in all I do
I am the architect of my life; I build its
foundation and choose its contents.

Goal Setting Principles


Set specific goals
Set challenging but realistic goals
Set long and short term goals
Set performance-oriented goals (those things over which you can control)
Set goals for training and goals for achievement
Track all of your goals

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Develop goal-attainment strategies
Consider motivation and goal commitment
Provide support and feedback

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals:


Specific Be clear in what you want to achieve.
Measurable How will goal be achieved? What will you be doing more or less of?
Achievable Dont set yourself up to fail
Realistic Resourced & achievable with resources you have, access to new
resources?
Time-dependent Set a reasonable time limit.

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