Do you want to good news, or the bad news first?
I think most people generally go the bad news first, so here goes.
To my knowledge, there isn’t a PILL on the market that does this job effectively.
The good news is you can do this yourself.
And often, without costing you anything (financially).
However, there might be some cost in sweat and tears.
One of my favourite ways to do this is to undertake consciously contrived “challenges”.
And I find the most impactful challenges (i.e. long-term benefits), are the ones which are mostly mental.
Like the 3-day water-only fast that myself, and about 20 other adventurers did last week.
Total (mental) challenge.
By building our grit, resilience, determination and discipline muscles, it makes other challenges in our life – professional and personal – seem not that hard after all.
That is the payback.
And it keeps on giving.
An overview of my 3-Day Water-Only Fast (as an example)
I do like a challenge.
I also know that there are lots of long-term benefits, so I am willing to go through short-term discomfort to get to the other side and all the benefits.
Benefits that are physical and psychological.
Going without food is HARD.
Going without food for 3-days is REALLY HARD.
But here is the thing.
The digestive system, which is one of the most overworked systems in the body, and consumes a major part of our daily energy, LOVES taking a break.
The gut is also one of the most impactful regions of the body for determining our overall health.
So, for me, first and foremost, the fast is an act of self love, to my body, which has been on the go for 54 years.
The other thing is it is mostly a mind game.
And those I love!
It is an arm wrestle between the subconscious mind which goes into survival-panic mode – throwing thoughts into your consciousness that we have to eat, RIGHT NOW, or we are going to DIE – versus the body itself (especially the gut), which is having a wee holiday and is very much enjoying the break.
This fascinates me.
Here is a belief (“I need to eat or I will die.”), that is clearly not true, because my body, in reality mode, is more than happy with the break.
I figure if my brain is so good at lying about that, what else is it telling me that is also not true?
So how do we overcome the hard stuff in a fasting situation?
There are some strategies you can do to make it easier (or less hard).
They include the degree and quality of preparation you do before it.
But the reality is – regardless of your preparation – it really is mental grit, that gets you to the 72hr mark with no food.
Grit is the ability to challenge the noise from your brain.
To become the Captain of your own ship.
This requires flexion of your grit, resilience, determination, persistence, and tenacity muscles.
And every time you flex them, it makes you mentally stronger.
Every time you don’t succumb to the voice inside your head that says “You Can’t” you are making yourself more powerful.
More able to face life challenges.
More able to aim for higher goals.
There is no pill to create that.
We can overcome that voice in our heads, which holds us back from our greatness, potential and fullest expression.
Just like building a muscle, our psychological muscles are build by pushing against a resistance.
And often we find we are so much more capable than we thought we were.
Like Crystal, one of our fasting adventurers, who has previously maxed out in a water-only fast at 24hrs.
This time she was able to blow out her P.B. by stretching herself to 76 hours!!!
And that achievement is going to follow her.
She will have a greater sense of just what she is capable of.
Because she pushed against her preconceived boundaries, and showed her ‘inner voice’ what she is really made of.
It was beautiful to watch.
Her grit muscles are now pumped up for her next challenge in life.
We become more resilient by practicing resilience.
We build determination by practicing determination.
We build discipline by practicing it.
And this gives us the grit to flex our “what am I really capable of?” muscles.
What a sight to behold!!
My Parting word
I recently read a book called ‘The Comfort Crisis‘.
It was an interesting exploration.
About us us getting too comfortable, and our minds and bodies being adversely affected by it.
Challenging ourselves, with tough stuff (in a relatively safe way) is a great way to build our mental capacity.
When we face a future challenge, and reflect back on what we have already overcome, the challenge doesn’t look so scary after all.
That is what I get when I do a challenge like this water-only fast.
It is a great way to see the underside of the mind, and to overcome it.
And make a note I will do another ‘Team’ fast in July, if you are more curious now.
(We will also make it a charity event too)
What challenge might you choose to step into, to build your psychological muscles?
The right activity is worth the short-term discomfort for the long-term gains.
And finally thank you to the 20 adventurers that came on this Fasting experience with me – I LOVED the company!
As always feel free to email me directly if you have any comments or insights you would like to share.
Have a psychologically-muscle-flexing kinda day, and a grit inspired week.
PS: Have you read or listened to this book yet? 18 Ways We Make Life WAY Harder Than It Needs To Be