What’s In Your Tank?
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), one of the most popular and effective martial arts, there is this concept of the “tank”. BJJ is a very physically and mentally taxing activity. Often times how well you do is determined not only by your skill or your strength, but by what’s left in your tank.
Everyone starts out with a certain amount of gas (energy) in their tank. Some start with more than others. But those who are highly skilled know how to use what’s in their tank effectively and efficiently. Through training and preparation one is able to make their tank last longer and go further under stressful conditions. The prepared person stays calm under pressure and does not waste gas. They not only show up with a full tank, they know how to make it last and how to use their gas wisely.
This concept from BJJ is a great lesson that applies to our everyday lives as well. To live the healthiest, most productive, and fulfilling lives it would be wise to make sure our tanks are full of the right stuff. Here are three areas that feed into our tanks. If we keep quality fuel flowing from these areas then our tanks will last longer and we’ll be able to deal more effectively with stress, conflict, and all that life may throw at us.
MIND—Our minds are so crucial to our overall well-being. An unhealthy mind leads to an unhealthy body, which leads to a drained tank. Try these two things to keep your mind healthy:
1. Be a lifelong learner!—Keep feeding and challenging your mind by learning new things. Read books, listen to books on CD while driving, learn a new language, how to dance, or how to play a musical instrument. If you keep feeding your mind it will stay strong and sharp and serve you well.
2. Positive Mental Attitude!—You can change your life by changing your attitude. Negative attitudes drain you, and those around you. Consistent automatic negative thoughts can lead to depression. Try your best to have a positive mental attitude (PMA). Look for the good in people and in life. Ask a close friend to hold you accountable with this to really make a change.
BODY—No matter how sharp your mind is, if you are physically exhausted, you cannot accomplish anything. If you want to keep your tank full and your energy levels high to be able to tackle whatever the day brings you, then you must take care of your body! This means making healthy choices with exercise and nutrition.
For exercise, the easiest way to stick to a program is to find an activity you like, and then do it! There are so many choices available these days when it comes to fitness. Just choose something and start doing it at the level that is appropriate for you.
For healthy nutrition ask your doctor how many calories you should eat each day, then do your best to stick to that amount. If you eat moderate amounts of protein throughout the day and keep your sugar intake down, then your blood sugar will be more stable and your tank will consistently be able to provide you with the energy you need.
SPIRIT—To truly live a life of calm and stability with a tank that can keep you going under the most stressful circumstances, I encourage you to care for yourself spiritually, just as you do mentally and physically.
For those who are certain of their faith, stay involved and connected in your local church. For those unsure of their faith, start asking questions and begin a journey of seeking. Having a strong spiritual foundation provides strength and confidence on a daily basis, as well as in the midst of life’s most difficult moments.
If you follow these suggestions to care for your mind, body, and spirit, then you can have confidence that what’s in your tank is nothing but premium high-octane fuel that will keep you going even in the most stressful situations.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.