During the pandemic, many of us have been supporting our physical wellbeing by tracking our daily steps. But is there an equivalent of the 10,000 steps a day challenge for building mental fitness? Thanks to recent breakthroughs in neuroscience, positive psychology and performance science, we now have an answer. And it only takes 15 minutes per day.
What is mental fitness?
Stanford lecturer and best-selling author Shirzad Chamine has developed a body of work called Positive Intelligence®. Our Positive Intelligence quotient, or ‘PQ’, is a measure of our mental fitness. Essentially, it measures the percentage of time your mind is serving you versus sabotaging you. Independent researchers have validated PQ Score to be the single greatest predictor of how much of your potential for both success and happiness you actually achieve.
Digging a little deeper, Shirzad tells us that when we have a higher measure of PQ, we tend to act more in what he calls our ‘sage mode’ rather than ‘saboteur mode’. These two modes operate different parts of our brain. Our internal saboteurs are associated with our survival brain and are a set of automatic habits of mind, beliefs and assumptions that work against us and generate stress, worry, frustration, overwhelm etc in the face of challenges. We all have ways we self-sabotage, it’s just a question of how and how much. By contrast, when we are in sage mode, we have greater access to the most evolved parts of our brain and can activate its vastly untapped powers for empathy, discovery, innovation, curiosity, wisdom and laser-focused action. In sage mode, we feel like our best self. We experience more flow, ease and joy in our daily life and can rise above challenges with more intentionality, grace and integrity. We waste less energy on self-doubt, drama and conflict so we can channel our time and energy wisely into what really matters.
100 PQ Reps A Day for Peak Mental Fitness
According to Shirzad, 80% of us score below the minimum level of mental fitness required for peak performance and happiness. But the good news is that mental fitness can be significantly improved with just 6 weeks of daily practice.
Shirzad tells us that doing 100 PQ reps a day to build mental muscles (essentially, creating new neural pathways) is the equivalent of taking 10000 steps a day for physical fitness or weight training by doing reps with a dumbbell. A PQ rep is very simple. It involves shifting as much of your attention as you can to your body and any of your five senses for at least ten seconds. That counts as 1 PQ rep. These reps activate and grow your ‘self-command’ muscle which helps you self-regulate your thoughts and feelings. When you have grown your self-command muscle, you can then combine them with mental re-framing exercises that help you intercept your saboteurs and activate your sage mind. An example of this is the 3 Gifts technique that helps you turn any challenge or disappointment into a gift or opportunity by using it to either develop a new personal strength, gain new personal learning and wisdom or take an inspired action as a direct result of the difficulty or setback
Designed to fit into even the busiest of schedules
The beauty of PQ reps is they are fun, simple and easy to fit into your daily life. You can do your 100 reps all at once or spread out across your day. You don’t have to stop what you’re doing to do PQ reps. You can do them on the move, eyes open. You can do them in a meeting or in conversation without anyone noticing. You can use PQ Reps as a deliberate and intentional practice to turn any day-to-day challenge or setback into grist for the mill of your mental fitness practice. Like with any fitness training, you will gradually increase reps and progressively lift heavier mental weights. As your mental muscles grow stronger, you will find it easier to spot your saboteurs before they can do much damage and shift into sage mode even in the face of the most difficult of situations.
Mental Fitness Gym
Shirzad has developed a pretty amazing app that includes a mental fitness gym to offer a buffet of different PQ options using different senses. There are different ones depending on whether you are sitting or walking and vary in length from 2 to 10 minutes. The app tracks your daily progress so you can check your progress against the minimum targets for creating new neural pathways. It also gives you a daily focus of the day to guide your practice incrementally over 6 weeks. Sign up for your own mental fitness bootcamp today. Visit our solutions pages for more info.