Show of hands, who has gone to their therapy this month? For those of you who didn't put your hand up...maybe think about stopping in. But for those of you who do partake, perhaps you have heard of the term distress tolerance.
This is the umbrella term to describe your ability to face negative emotions and events and react appropriately in order to not make things worse. From an emotional standpoint this can be used to deal with break ups, bad days at work, or just those shitty mental health days that tend to pop up every now and again. So how does this carry over into the fitness world?
There are going to be times when working towards your healthier you is going to suck. You don't want to stick to your diet because you feel tired and cranky, the last set was hard and you have two more sets to go, anything that motivates you to give up instead of power ahead. There are some tools we can put into the toolbox though to help us be more tolerant of these hard times.
The first skill is radical acceptance. This IS NOT approval of the situation. You are tired and do not feel like going to the gym. In this situation you do not have to tell yourself everything is ok. That it is ok you're tired and can get through it. This is approval. We are looking for radical acceptance. Take an honest look at yourself. If you understand that today is going to be difficult because your fatigue is making you more motivated to go home than to the gym then you can honestly handle the situation much better than sugar coating the truth.
The next tool is mindful thinking. After you have accepted the reality of how you feel and your situation, think about how you will feel after you do the workout, think about how once you start you can probably finish, or if things are so bad, that even one minute spent in the gym is better than completely avoiding it. Be in the moment and take everything for as it is in that exact second. You can always give one minute more of effort.
My personal favorite tool is grounding yourself in your senses. To say you feel tired isn't pain, pleasure, hot, or cold, it's the end result of not being motivated to do something. You may say you are tired but could sit in bed on Tik Tok for the next three hours no problem. So focus yourself on your 5 senses and feel how real those things are. Push the thoughts of being unmotivated from your mind and ground yourself in the simplest of feelings.
So radically accept the situation with no judgment just general, honest evaluation, mindfully think of your goals and the honest reality, and then simplify your thoughts to your most simplest feelings. These are just distress tolerance skills at their most basic so feel free to look more into it. This can help you next time you are afraid of your big lift or feel like skipping leg day.
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