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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Mental Toughness Model and Melissa Ribley

"I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time."
– Anna Freud


Melissa Ribley DVM last Thursday’s guest asked me why I am doing the TV show “It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender ? I responded that one of the reasons for the TV show is  collecting data on “ mental toughness.” So far, I’ve asked our guests to define the term and how it might apply to them. By and large, the respondents have talked about continuing with a behavior despite circumstances or hardships. In essence, to continue to go on. Chiropractor Don Freeman, a previous guest, said something to the effect that you have to be smart and know when not to continue and  that might  also be called mental toughness.

The way that I think about mental toughness is related to having a desire, a need, drive, etc. which is a hypothetical state  located within the person. This hypothetical state might also be associated with neurotransmitters . This need or drive  creates movement toward a goal because of the  tension created.  To illustrate, let’s say I am  competitive (a hypothetical  drive or state  within me ). In order to meet  this need, I enter a 35 km trail race in which I expect to finish.  By  entering and completing the race  (  the  goal) , I achieved my need and thereby  reduced the (competitive ) tension state within. So goal completion is the way that I reduced  my tension system.

A  goal can be characterized by employing or giving it a valence or strength. The more important the  need state , the stronger goal valence needs to be.  If my need state(competitive nature) is high, then running a 5K trail race(low goal valence for me ) is not going to allow me to reduce my tension state. I  have  to have a more challenging or higher goal valence than a 5K trail run. In other words, it’s about my perception and what I need to do in order to reduce and meet my needs or tension states.

In achieving any goal  of importance, there are likely internal and/or external barriers that can interfere with  goal  achievement or goal completion. An internal barrier might be : 1. Being physically tired 2. Falling and spraining an ankle. An external barrier might be : 1. A rocky, rutted trail  2. High humid temperature. We have to deal and get around  these barriers. We can’t allow them to interfere with goal completion.

So, one can visualize a need; a goal; valences and barriers as one model explaining mental toughness. The next step  is to determine the various characteristics that allows an individual to deal or get around the many internal  and external barriers. Notice in this model, a need, or goal can be quite varied and does not have to be  related to sports. More about  mental toughness characteristics  at a later date.

Watch Melissa Ribley’s interview to learn about her competitive drive and her goals. You might find her Tevis Cup ride Interesting when she won the Haggin Cup.

Keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving.


Tony and I have a 35K trail race in Folsom on Saturday.


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