Nerdout & Workout Podcast

#41 How to Improve our Mental Performance as we Deal with a Pandemic

April 17, 2020 Hyper Strong Productions with Sunny Park Episode 41
Nerdout & Workout Podcast
#41 How to Improve our Mental Performance as we Deal with a Pandemic
Show Notes Transcript

Today we are joined by Sunny Park, a Master Resilience Trainer for the United States Army.

We go over best practices on how to get our mind right as we deal with this pandemic. If you've been having a hard time getting through everything that's been going on with COVID-19 you are not alone.

We dive into how to get out of our own way and why it's so important to be ok with what we are doing for ourselves at this point.

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spk_0:   0:00
Welcome to the nerd out and work out. Podcast Cast Cast. What's up, everyone? This coach Austin, they're coming to you with hyper strength and conditioning with another nerd out and work out podcasts episode where we nerd out workout in podcasts And today we're gonna be going over mental performance during strenuous situations, and we are joined by a specialist himself. Goes by the name of Sonny, and I'm gonna have him introduce himself more thoroughly. Sonny, welcome to the show.

spk_1:   0:48
Thank you for having me. Um, my name is Sonny. I work as, ah, Master Resilience trainer, performance expert for the United States Army. Um, so my field is sports psychology. I have a master's in sports psychology and what we primarily focuses focus on is, um, training resilience for athletes working through mental skills so that they can perform at their best, um, at a consistent re. So obviously I do that now with the United States Army. So my job right now is working with senior officers consulting them so that they can be more mentally resilient. Um, not them just just themselves, but also how connects trickle down into a system so that they're following soldiers and units are also resilient. Um, and obviously a mental performance is becoming a more wide health aspect, being more incorporated into companies and performance teams. So, um, excited to be here today and thank you for having me.

spk_0:   1:48
Good deal, man. What got you into the whole pool of mental performance aspect? What? What drew you in to be a specialist in this field?

spk_1:   1:56
Good question. Um, I think I've always really liked psychology. And, um, I think when I was an undergrad, I was really thinking about if I wanted to go into, like, the clinical row or something more something that I would be passionate about. And, um, back then I was also really into martial arts. And I heard I heard an interview of jail son. And who said, um, you know, he always found a way to lose within the second round in a certain time frame. And when he saw a sports psychologist, he said the reason so was because he always found a way to self sabotage. You know, he always subconsciously found a way to get himself out of there without him knowing it. And I think the way that the sports I call just helped him. I found those. It's just so fascinating. And, uh, you know, that's where I really became passionate and kept moving forward with it,

spk_0:   2:54
huh? That's actually so chill. Son would actually self sabotage himself during fights.

spk_1:   3:01
Right? And, um, you know, I can't really recall the like his interview verbatim, but he always found himself to find himself like a choke within two minutes of the second round. Um, so other than is crazy.

spk_0:   3:17
Do you find that a lot? Now, like when you're as you are a mental resilience trainer, do you find that that's common in the average person? Or is it Do you see that more often or no.

spk_1:   3:30
Um, no, I think maybe in high performance, like high athletes, they might develop that, Um, But I think most of them eventually nick that out. If they have enough practiced with mental skills, right?

spk_0:   3:48
No, it's good. All right, do you Is there like a preferred system like, how do you How do you become a mental resilience trainer? Like what? What is that?

spk_1:   3:59
Yet the field is sports psychology is still very much like, I would say in its infancy. it's still growing, and there's a lot of still like, um, systems like being ironed out. So you can be a sports psychologist. Um, and that is you become a clinical accounting psychologist and you specialize in sports, right? And the other way would be you get a massive degree in sports psychology and then you become a certified mental performance consultant, right? That's what I'm aiming towards. And you need to get a certain amount of ours and you go through like, the certification process and you go through a, um, organization called Association for Applied Sports Psychology. That's the governing body of sports psychology. Yeah, and that's primarily how people or consultants will work with, um, you know, professional teams. Maybe they'll be invited to work for the United States like Olympic Committee. That's like the cream of the crop.

spk_0:   5:01
Oh, wow. Yeah, but you're like, you're you're almost there.

spk_1:   5:05
Yeah, hopefully I will be there within the next year or so.

spk_0:   5:09
Hey, man. But still, NASA's latest trainer for the U. S. Army has insight. It's good stuff. So what I wanted to kind of pick your brain about have our listeners kind of learned from and take from is is, especially during Kobe, 19 century people just trapped in their homes. A lot of I truly feel like mental performance right now is actually being tested more than ever, because it's like you're every everyone's routines, fucked like everyone's out of whack. It's unprecedented time. People are people getting laid off. People are getting man. It's just it's just really bad stuff left around. People are forced to adjust, not right. We both mentally and the front line workers, the nurses, the doctors and everyone else in between that are taken this head on. They're mentally, you know, pushing through it in what I wanted. T what? I wanted to ask you where you're what are So what are three ways? It doesn't have to be three. But, um what are three or more ways for these people who find themselves in a situation which is like, 99% of us right now? How how do we push through this mentally, What can we do for ourselves to keep saying by the same time keeping a space where we are mentally okay going into this and we will be mentally okay. Getting out

spk_1:   6:26
of this perfect. Um, yes. So I think I would first address that with co Overnighting Everything is so uncertain. And that creates a lot of stress for individuals. Right? So when there's a lot of uncertainty, people can't really have that mental flexibility, as if they would have if everything was going normal. Right? So if everything is going normal and you have stress coming in one at a time, you can deliberately set your attention to one of those things at a time. And you overcome those stressors Were those problems? Don't make her when everything is uncertain. And you have so many things that are changing around you. Um, you can't really seem to think clear or straight, um, again when you when your routine is out of place, you know, you're kind of all over the fucking place, right? Azi? Say so. I guess you're the number. One thing I would say is maybe find your routine at home, Right? So this if this is gonna be your new setting and you're really uncertain of when everything is gonna be back to normal, how can you create a sense of normalcy in your own home? So number one is final routine. Um, and if you really don't know where to start with creating your own routine again, maybe take one thing from your pastor team and bring it into your new one. For example, For me, going to the gym is a very big staple of my mental health prior to Kobe. 19. Right? So when I became, um, settled at home and there's there's nowhere else to go the one thing I looked for first, where can I find space for me to be physically active and get that mental space back? Um, so set? A time. Maybe it's just one thing bringing in over at the time, but that's just great routine. And that starts with one foundation that you can bring for your past. Number two. Gratitude is one of the most profound skills that we can have in terms of How can we be grateful for something and even if especially if you're a nurse and, um, you're going day in day out and seeing the tragedy of this, um, epidemic a pandemic, even if you force yourself to be grateful, that has had a very big effect in terms of how you can be more optimistic. Moving forward and being optimistic is really, really important for you to be physically, spiritually mentally, you know, functioning. Right, Um, So again, even if you can't really, even if you aren't grateful or you don't feel grateful, just find a way to force yourself to be grateful about something. And if I was a nurse, I think the thing I would say to myself is, um I guess I would be grateful that I even have the the skill to help, right? So when you have this pandemic, someone like me, I can't go into the hospital and help these people, right? Because I don't have those certain set of skills. So whereas I might feel a little bit of helplessness because I can't how this cost, maybe the nurses will feel grateful or gratitude that they actually have the capacity to help destination right there essentially heroes within this time. So I think that's something that they can relate to. And lastly, um, I think when people get really clustered, with so many things going on, and they can't really seem to think clearly, um, we like to give an acronym to soldiers and that is when and that is what is important now, right? Who? The good one. Yeah. So when everything is going around, what is the most important thing you can do at that given moment may be your nurse again and you have 10 patients that are on. Um, I don't know what the term is, but let's say they're critical, right? And they're all in danger, right? But let's say who's the Who's the one person that I could help at this given moment and maybe that'll give you some sort of clarity and to just bring it to action rather than just being stuck and thinking about so many of these, like Chester's that you're going on, that you can't even effectively move right? So those are some strategies that I can think of. And hopefully, um, people in the health care can listen and figure out if one of them works for them.

spk_0:   10:52
That's good. So I like how you put like, routine established routine. And the 2nd 1 was, um, man, what was a sick woman? I'm brain phat itude. Gratitude. There you go. That's how bad it is because I feel like that gratitude part I feel like people kind of gloss it over, You know, when have you ever in your daily like the average person, right? And when How when have they ever stop to think like, man? What am I, man? What my faithful for right now, one of my What's going good? Yeah, you like? Well, I got what's going on, you know, and grant you That's a great one. And the 3rd 1 you put was, Oh, was it? What's important? What's important now when

spk_1:   11:34
Yeah, you just gotta win the moment, right?

spk_0:   11:37
Like you mentioned clarity on the last one Clarity. Something that I feel like a lot of people right now. Even before Kobe, 19 happened. I just feel like clarity is something that people have always been striving to get. It's like it's like a state of mind, Right? Clarity is right. People have been searching and like it's always like I don't know what to do in my life. I don't want my job, that Claire it like that. That point of that mental state, what are some ways to really help people get some clarity? Like to strive closer to it? I know you said you know what's important now. But what about the long term aspect? What about you know what? People who are just always caught in this weird haze of thoughts or were like I don't know what I'm doing right now with my life. For what? You know, Like, I just feel like any clarity. I just see, I I think I see it all the time. I hear it all the time, especially when I consult with clients. Yeah. And, um, I'm able to help, given clarity as faras they're finishing health. But I'm talking about, like, overall, you know, clarity has a mind set. How How would you attack that? How would you coach someone together? That's a

spk_1:   12:51
very open ended. Um, thought. And I guess the way I would tackle or consult someone who says they have a lack of clarity is Well, I think the way I would start us. What are your goals? What do you striving for? Um, right. So if it's, you know, goes have a really great way of driving your motivation towards something. Um So if you if you can find where you want to go, then you can essentially find words important to you right now in that space that can get you closer. Um, if you don't have clarity in terms of your but you don't really know where you're headed Moving forward, um, you know, focusing on your passion and seeing where that passion may lead you. I think it's something I would focus on too. Right?

spk_0:   13:46
Passion. That's a good one point. There is. Ah, this few people out there who who would claim that they don't have a passion or like they feel like I don't know what I'm passionate about. I don't know. I was supposed to be a passionate about like, you know, like So how would you How would you address that? Because we get that like you from an outside looking in, we go. Dude, you're passionate about painting. You look to paint, you know, it's it's just something I'm good at. But I'm not passionate, and I'm like, Yeah, Oh, I don't know what pains that well and not say that. I I just feel like there's more like there's more to that. Is there,

spk_1:   14:24
I think, a big reason why people don't pursue their passion. Um, well, I I want to preface that if you don't proceed, your passion like that is okay. And I think there's there's, there's not enough of that being said out there. There's a lot of influence that says If you're not driving for your passion than you are not being productive in your life, where overall you're just not doing it right and I don't think that's right I think if if you want to work and you want to do your passion as, ah side hobby or whatever, like that's perfectly fine. Um, if you want to pursue your passion is like your overall career and you want to be really driven for that, that's fucking great, too. Um, so I just want to say that first and, um,

spk_0:   15:13
it needs to be said, Yeah, you brother, I think it said enough.

spk_1:   15:19
Yeah, it's like it's completely okay. If you wanna work a 9 to 5 and you provide free or whatever and you do your passion in this out, what's what's so wrong with that? Right? Why does everybody have to be like 10 out of 10 in terms of achieving everything that they wanted to do in terms of their passion, right?

spk_0:   15:36
All those,

spk_1:   15:36
Um, exactly. And if people do you want to pursue their passion, right? And they know where to go. And they know this is their passion, but they can't really commit. Um, you know, my guess is that they probably have a son, so fear of failure. Right? Maybe I don't want to take that risk because people know me. I have this reputation. Maybe because I'm gonna be embarrassed. Maybe because I will just fail. Right? So, people, sometimes there's always gonna be a risk in terms of pursuing something else that you've already established your career path on. Um, so I think that's something to note as well. So, you know, if you really wanted to pursue your passion and you would take those risks, um, slowly or, you know, if you try more often, you're most likely going to make a step forward towards your passion, right?

spk_0:   16:35
Oh, it's good. I like that. I just love how you brought up that it's a Yeah, it's just you brought you bring some good truth, man. Good stuff. Like it's I truly feel that people don't say I'm a passionate guy. I love you know, I love what I do and all that stuff. But I do get questions like that. How did you find out what you're so passionate about? And you know, how did you pursue? How did you know exactly? That you wanted to be a gym owner? Intended

spk_1:   17:00
it. All right. But

spk_0:   17:01
I tell people like, Look, I love you know, my passion isn't really like training or working. I love coaching. I love. I mean, that's one of the things that passion you're asking me in the beginning like, But I was truly passionate about. I wanted to work for Pixar. I wanted Thio editing. I wanted to be an animator. You're not a like I wanted to tell stories. I love to test stories, but I just didn't go that route. I went somewhere else and, you know, and you always hear that narrative, especially from these, Like YouTube Gru's, um they're like, you know, you gotta push your passion and give the give a sacrifice and they're suing your passion in What are you doing? You're just wasting from a 9 to 5, but it's like what's What's wrong with a 9 to 5? It's like why you're you're not controlling your destiny and you Even if you make six figures, you're not successful. And it's like, Dude, really? Like I just feel like that type of mentality is really fucking a lot of people up, because what is wrong with working a 9 to 5 and just doing something? You're passionate, Azzam hobbyist, something where it's like Yeah, yeah, yeah, I just don't feel I I truly feel that people don't hear that enough. I truly feel that a lot of people, especially in this day and age words like people just want to do in the hustle. And I write Nor and I'm like, bro, you really went on your own. This is exactly what I want. This it's fun for a while, huh? But yeah, that's great. And the way you mentioned failure because people are afraid of failure, right? Failures this whole thing to like, You don't want to fail all that stuff. What is what is the perspective of failure? Especially when you're dealing with high performing operators Or, you know, your soldiers and all that stuff like what is You know, how they always a failure is not an option. What? What? What is really behind that. What is really behind all that stuff involving failure? Like, you know, there's always a risk aspect. How do you How would you How do you do with

spk_1:   19:02
that? How do people I'm gonna just, like, ask you again? Are you asking how people can deal with failure or if you're a

spk_0:   19:15
failure? Yes. I am asking from in mental aspect. All right, you with just the issue of failure. When you're going into someone, you're doing something. When you're afraid of failure, how do you even tackle that whole failure situation? I know it's like people say it's a lesson to be learned and turn it up. But, you know, like, how do you mentally prepare for failure like that's That's actually what I'm trying to try to get

spk_1:   19:35
at. Mmm. Um, so a lot of athletes that trained I don't I don't think they they, um, trained for a failure, right? Because And I think sometimes a mistake that athletes will make is that they have all this plan in terms of simulating training and competition X and stuff. But they don't expect things to go wrong. And I think when they don't expect things to go wrong. That is when it hurts them the most, Right? So let's say I have a plan as a fighter, I'm planning my fight. 355 minute rounds, whatever. And in my mental training, my physical training, there's all these things that are gonna happen. But if I don't expect some something wrong that happens, I'm more likely to feel the consequence of that. Do you know what I'm saying? If I can, If I'm not expecting all the things that are going to go wrong, then when those things do go wrong, I'm more likely going to stumble, Right? So, um, as a way of helping outfits, I would tell them, Expect almost everything to go wrong and have a plan for that, right? Because in sports and in life, things do go wrong. Um, and you can't predict the future and you can't protect all the positive outcomes. But you also can't predict all the negative outcomes. And let's say you I only prepare for the positive outcome. Well, those are best case scenarios, so if those happens, that's great. But why wouldn't I prepare for the worst case scenarios that are actually gonna hinder the me the most from achieving my goals. Right. So, um, when preparing to perform or preparing Thio, you know, do whatever it is that you do. Maybe you're giving a business meeting or you're going into a performance, Have a plan B, have a fancy, like, expect all the things that could happen. And I have a plan for that. Um, that's coming out. I would say

spk_0:   21:35
we're good. I like that. That's good. Um, one thing I wanted to get your point of view on, and I'm pretty sure I don't know where you rely on lay on the spectrum, but what's her take on meditation? What's your take on that?

spk_1:   21:52
Um, I think meditation is a very useful tool. Um, I think people in performance have done mindfulness training, you know, just being present in the moment to not think about, you know, all the other stuff that could be happening in the past and the future just being where you are and being really present in terms of what you are doing. I think that really helps people find coherence in their actions and in their, you know, present space. I do it sometimes. I used to use a really cool app called headspace. Oh, yeah, It gives you 10 free sessions. I think that, uh, r like only, like, 10 12 minutes long and just helps you guide you be president. A moment gives you like a meditation training. Um, but we also use deliberate breathing as a technique to regulate your emotions. If you are about to perform awesome and you're really interest, whatever, it's a way to bring yourself down. Um, so I don't know if you would consider that, like meditation the way you think of it. But for me, I think meditation is just a great tool overall. Yeah.

spk_0:   23:06
No, it's good. I was wondering, what do you bring yourself down, like when someone's about to freak out? Is that usually were like they do this breathing exercise because you were like, we're breathing exercise and really would. But how does it actually help you calm down when you actually focus on the breath?

spk_1:   23:21
Yeah. So, um, we try to teach energy management, right? So let's say there's ah, curve. Okay, I'm just trying a big university, a curve. And let's say I'm about to go into competition. If I have really low energy, as in mental, physical and emotional right? That is what I mean by energy. Like, let's say, I just got out of bed and I have to perform something kind of really low energy. I'm probably not going to do very well, right? And let's say let's take the opposite of that. I'm gonna say I have just so much energy like you have all these butterflies in your stomach, you're sweating. You feel like you're about to vomit. You know, you can't even think straight because you're thinking of so many things at the same time because that's how much anxiety you're most likely also not gonna perform that well, too, right? So there's a fine space in between those two special where the right amount of emotional, physical and mental energy is gonna hope you perform at your actual best. So if you have too much energy, one way to bring yourself down is by deliberate breathing. So the way you do deliver breathing. Um, and I'm sure there's multiple ways you could teach this, but is with your diaphragm. So, um, your strength and conditioning coach, when you do a, uh, dead lift, you know, how you use your diaphragm to really engage your court. That's where you want to get your breath into. So it's not just like in your mouth, but you want to really use your stomach to get in the air, right? So if you inhale for three seconds and you exhale for four seconds and he do that repetitive Lee for about 2 to 4 minutes right before you compete, you can bring yourself down a little bit if you have. If you have too much anxiety before you perform, So that's a very click Waiter Thio dialling on breathing.

spk_0:   25:25
That's pretty cool. Yeah, almost like doing it while you're trying todo that's all Good, man. That's really, um, Do you have any other last ah, last minute advice you want to give to anyone listening to this episode just about to have a better, better help. Their mindset better help them performance. Perform? Uh,

spk_1:   25:49
yeah, I guess the thing that I would like to communicate is I, um, for me, I like to say there's like, um, there's not that much pressure, right? So right now there's always this constant thought that I'm having is that I have to be as productive as possible. And sometimes I have a little bit of stress because I feel like I'm not being a productive enough. Um, and I think that's a lot of the influence as being a put out on social media, too, in something that I have to make sure that remind myself, is that Hey, it's okay to just, like, do your work and chill, right? It's ah, it's a goddamn 10 down. Like like, yes, just chill like the you work, do what you have to get done. You don't have to be doing like, all those crazy other stuff that, you know, like put you so far ahead of everybody else. Like you're just gonna do what's in front of you. What's important? Like relaxed. Um, so, you know, I think hopefully someone will resonate with me on that, but, you know, just just

spk_0:   27:00
show, right? That's good. Just show quarantine and chill. That's good. That's really good. Awesome stuff. Well, thank you, Sonny, for coming on board with this episode. I really hope this. I truly feel that. Suppose it would help a lot of people. I mean, the things you said, what things we've shared. Great stuff, man. Great stuff. We will be sharing it on all other channels. If you guys haven't yet, please subscribe to our podcast channel. Like all the things. Give us a great review if you can, uh, say what's your what's your You could give me your social links. Yeah. We'll put on the show notes for people to follow. Ah. Is there anything else you'd want to promote? Last minute are,

spk_1:   27:40
uh you know. No, not really. Just be grateful and do your work, and it's gonna be okay.

spk_0:   27:44
Look at that. That true mental Brazilians Trainer fashion. Good job. Good job rage stuff. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Everyone for listening. This is Coach Austin without ever straight the condition with your nerd out and work out. Podcast Joined by Sonny. Ah, the mental result it mental resilience trainer for the U. S. Army. And we've had some great knowledge bombs here and I hope you guys take it, Run with it, stay safe, stays healthy. And I'll see you guys later came by