At the heart of mental toughness lies your emotional control – the ability to manage your emotions and in so doing preventing them from negatively affecting your performance and wellbeing. If you can’t keep your emotions in check you then you become distracted and often disorientated.
One of the key sub scales within the MTQ48 mental toughness measure is ‘ Emotional Control ’ which measures your mindset regarding the management of your emotions.
New research by a team from University of Minnesota suggests that ‘mindfulness’ is the secret to better managing your emotions and that even if you aren’t naturally mindful you can learn through meditation to become mindful and so help control your emotions.
One of the authors of the study, Mr Yanli Lin, commented
“Our findings not only demonstrate that meditation improves emotional health, but that people can acquire these benefits regardless of their ‘natural’ ability to be mindful. It just takes some practice.”
For the research people were asked to look at a series of upsetting images right after meditating for the first time. Those meditating for the first time were able to control their emotions just as well as those who were naturally mindful. They were able to rein in their emotions just as successfully after meditating as those with better, inbuilt skills.
Measurements of the electrical activity in the brain also confirmed the improved emotional control after meditation.
Dr Jason Moser, a study co-author, said:
“If you’re a naturally mindful person, and you’re walking around very aware of things, you’re good to go. You shed your emotions quickly. If you’re not naturally mindful, then meditating can make you look like a person who walks around with a lot of mindfulness. But for people who are not naturally mindful and have never meditated, forcing oneself to be mindful ‘in the moment’ doesn’t work. You’d be better off meditating for 20 minutes.”
Mindfulness is the process of paying attention to thoughts, feelings and sensation in the moment.
The study was fisrt published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Lin et al., 2016) and also in the splendid Psyblog. View full article
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