The clinical benefits of endurance sports have long been documented and include a reduced risk of health failure, diabetes, strokes, and other diseases. In fact, a new wave of research shows that participating in common endurance sports may be effective in treating things like depression and stress. Although less studied, but still perhaps just as important, is how involvement in endurance sports enhances day-to-day life by changing the nature of stress and nurturing what some psychologists call a “growth mindset,” which can typically be described as a general outlook on life that recognizes the human ability to grow and evolve – especially in the face of challenges.
So how does endurance improve an individual’s personal growth?
For starters, personal growth is really an amazing and enjoyable experience, once you learn that the process is just as important as the journey. If, for example, you’re always looking ahead towards the destination, then the journey feels like a long sentence you’d like to be free from. The truth is that the journey through personal growth requires more than just changing your diet. The best way to alter your perception is to focus on the benefits happening now and not get so consumed by the desire to reach the goal overnight.
The following stages will help you to appreciate some aspects of the personal growth process and to see where you are on the chart of endurance. It’s also important to understand that the only way to move from one stage to the next is to continue pushing yourself mentally and physically. Only then will all the benefits of growth be achieved.
Normally, after a good old-fashioned expectation hangover or reality check (when we’ve expected certain things from ourselves and found ourselves disappointed – once again), we get to a point where we finally ask ourselves, “Why do these things keep happening?” and seek answers. This is especially true for individuals looking to change their physical appearance by modifying their wardrobe or adopting a new fitness plan.
This is also where we begin to learn that our experiences aren’t random. We connect the dots and recognize that life is about learning and finding our true selves. We have a lot of realizations that are both exciting and difficult to deal with.
In this phase, we shift from knowing to doing. If you feel like you have a lot of information, but things in your life still aren’t changing, chances are, you’re probably in the integration phase. Now is the time to roll up those sleeves and make something happen.
Awareness is not enough for the transformation. In order for this work successfully, we must first change our thought process and belief systems. In other words, let go of all the old stories and upgrade the way you process information. This is where endurance comes into play since it’s a great way to clear your mind, and relieve stress. Just by getting up and moving around every day, you could boost your energy and enhance your ability to focus. This is where we do the courageous emotional work of healing old issues so they no longer define us or hold us back. We simply take the tools we have and the skills we’ve acquired throughout the transformation process and put them to use.
You might find yourself getting “do-overs,” or second chances to respond to situations you’ve encountered before in different ways. This is perhaps the most powerful way to break a pattern and/or habit. After all, do-overs are the way you integrate awareness and action.
After we’ve adapted to our new lifestyle and started inhabiting this new way of living, we begin to accept. We aren’t new people. We’re just more authentically ourselves than ever.
You see, if we quit our practice or put our priorities first, our spiritual and personal growth muscles weaken. The good news is, just like muscle memory, it is not long until we return to where we once were. This allows our mind, body, and spirit to remember the feeling of wisdom and love, guiding our thoughts and actions and soon enough getting us back on track.
Does this mean we are totally evolved and never have anything to work on? Of course not. We are still human. The only difference, however, is that now when we get an expectation hangover, we’re able to move past it and go into acceptance.
This is what allows us to stop fighting with reality and we either have to accept it or change it. Nevertheless, we are still happy with ourselves and no longer feel trapped inside.
Applying and Servicing
This phase, in particular, involves something bigger: changing the lives of those around you. This is where we feel the need to share the love we feel inside with others. Although you might be tempted to jump right into this phase before you’ve finished integrating, be patient with yourself. There isn’t a gold prize or a finish line on this journey.
Just to reiterate, this is not a one-size-fits-all process, but it may help to lend structure to your spiritual journey. Each phase is rich with learning plenty of learning opportunities, so be grateful for whatever phase you’re in throughout the transformation.
Keep in mind that sometimes you may have to go back and repeat phases, multiple times, when expectations aren’t going according to plan, or new insight inspires further self-discovery.
If you are truly looking to change the course of your life, consistent dedication must be a priority. Personal growth is a journey, not a destination.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything vital? What are some other things endurance and personal growth have in common? Feel free to leave a reply below.