picture of Alison Arnold
Get Off The Complain Train!

Tight Mind Monday: Get Off The Complain Train

Nov 13, 2017

Some days, we can be the biggest whiners! This is true for gymnasts and coaches alike. I’m sure you know the days. You drag yourself into the gym saying things in your head (or to other people) like, “I’m so tired”, “I have tons of homework," “I’m sore," or “This assignment is going to kill me!”  

Studies have shown that whining and complaining actually damages your brain and body. When you complain your body goes into fight or flight mode, releasing stress chemicals like cortisol. Chronic cortisol has proven to reduce the size of the hippocampus, which is in charge of your intelligence and problem-solving skills. Cortisol also lowers your immune system, which can cause a higher susceptibility to illness.  

It’s important that we have little tolerance for our inner whiner and whip him or her into shape when they rear their ugly head.

Let me give you one Tight Mind Tip:

One word you can use to stop the whiner is the word: ENOUGH.

The word enough comes from Old English meaning "sufficient in quantity or number” or "done."  When you say to yourself, ENOUGH, especially with a little bit of sternness, it’s almost as if your mind pays attention and stops what it’s rambling on about. Saying "enough" is kind of like giving your mind a spanking, telling it you are done with it’s negative talk.

While you're in the gym, practice saying "enough!" to your whining mind. How do you feel? Most of us feel like a little kid being whipped into shape, and that’s what we want. We want that monkey-mind to get off of the “complain train” and be strong and positive. 

This week, if you find your mind going off into negative thinking, practice saying to yourself "enough!" and then focusing on something positive. It might be a correction for the next turn, or how this difficult day will make you stronger. See how this one word can help turn a day that’s dragging into your best workout!

Alison Arnold, Ph.D. has been a peak performance consultant to USA Gymnastics since 1997. For more information on Doc Ali and her work, go to www.headgameswebcamp.com or www.headgamesworld.com