Build Mental Resilience
Think faster and smarter when under extreme duress

March 4, 2015

Think faster and smarter when under extreme duress

1 Free Up Your Bandwidth

When you’re constantly making choices, your mind tires. Over months of combat, this can lead to declines in memory, 
verbal acuity and focus, according to a study in The Journal of the American 
Medical Association. Prevent this by 
establishing protocols, schedules and 
lists, so simple choices become automatic. This conserves your mental energy for vital decisions.

2 Feed Your Mind To Stay Sharp

When you need mental agility you should eat a snack rich in glucose, research at Dartmouth Medical School revealed. 
Many Marines rely upon a ration called Zapplesauce – apple sauce spiked with maltodextrin, a source of fast energy. 
You can get the same hit minus the 
energy dump with an orange and a 
handful of grapes.

3 Drown Out Fear With Positive Action

Neuroscientists estimate that your internal monologue runs at up to 1 000 words per minute when stressed. Operatives over-ride this by deliberately emphasising the positive aspect of an activity. If you need to lift more, tell yourself: “Stronger. Stronger. Stronger.” Practise daily to kill fear for good.

4 Get Some Rest Then Come Out Fighting

After the stress of combat (or a tough meeting) sleep is elusive. If you regularly find yourself staring at the ceiling, try these strategies: 1. Imagine you’re floating in a pool, your whole body limp, every muscle relaxed, and gravity pulling you down. 
2. Now imagine thoughts passing by on a conveyor belt and disappearing around a corner. You’ll soon be rested and ready for your next tour of nine-to-five duty.

Must Do Moves

“We do a range of movements to train coordination between the upper and lower body,” says Jon Carroll, a strength and conditioning coach with the 1st Marines Special Operations. “I like to throw in a finisher to see how they perform when they’re tired.” Do this circuit as hard as possible, using the Tabata method: Do each exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and then do the next one. Do the full circuit twice for a total of 8 sets, which will take 4 minutes.

Kettlebell swing

a kettlebell with both hands, 
bend at your hips and swing 
it between your legs until your forearms bump against your inner thighs. Now thrust your hips forward and squeeze your glutes as the weight swings up. Reverse the move and repeat.

Jump rope

Jump as fast as you can. Jumping jacks also work.

Medicine ball slam

a heavy medicine ball and stand holding it over your head. Slam the ball to the floor as hard as you can. Catch it on the bounce, and repeat.

Squat thrust

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Drop your hands to the floor just outside your feet, and kick your feet back until you’re in a pushup position. Pull them back and jump, throwing your arms overhead. Land in the starting position and immediately begin the next rep.