Mental Conditioning


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In an excerpt from his new book, ‘Do Hard Things,’ Steve Magness explains a clever tactic to combat anxiety and free yourself to perform

A team of Canadian Olympic sports psychologists tries to nail down the intangible “it”

After a lifetime of prudishness, our writer tries to become one of those people who bares it all in the great outdoors

We asked a bunch of great writers to bear down, focus, and tell us what makes them giddiest in the outdoors. Join them as they celebrate everything from diving off rocks to adventure flirting to … shivering in a bed between cold sheets? (Hey, don’t judge.) Plus: five scientifically proven ways to up the fun and improve your health.

If chronic overthinking is getting in the way of your next adventure, ask yourself these two questions

What motivates someone to run more than 3,000 miles around a block in Queens, New York? Transcendence.

Drew Petersen seemed like just another free-spirited mountain dude. But the pain he was hiding nearly destroyed him.

New research explores how physical and mental factors affect how athletes raise their game when it counts

Science-backed strategies to help you learn to accept racing discomfort and choose how you react to it

Why is taking an hour off so difficult?

Work less, adventure more, and get some rest

Water-cooler chat? Make an appointment.

In the past two years, Americans have become disenchanted with work, leading to major strikes and what is being called the Great Resignation. But what if there was a better way? This writer went looking for that ever elusive work-life balance, learning how to get outside more and stress less.

And faced my fear of the ocean to boot

A new study grapples with a familiar question: How much of athletic success is physical, and how much is mental?

He needed something—anything—to cure his winter COVID blues. Science led him to a mildewy steam room and a very cold shower.

Rethink your approach to work, fitness, and process as you head into the new year

After Lawlor Coe lost his brother Hunter to tragedy, he did everything he could to avoid his pain. Then he began to run.

When someone gets hurt in the wild, we know what to do. But what we’ve lacked for way too long are the tools to help people in severe mental distress.

Mike McCastle has found a very unusual way to benefit others: by enduring agonizing physical challenges

Activities such as lifting weights, hiking, or even woodworking teach us humility and keep us grounded in reality

Feeling adrift in a black hole after your marathon? You’re normal, and in good company. World-class runners, coaches and sport psychologists offer their advice.

In this excerpt from his new book ‘The Practice of Groundedness,’ our Do It Better columnist Brad Stulberg gives concrete steps to integrate exercise into your daily life

Over the past few years, McCastle has completed 5,804 pull-ups in a single day, pulled a 5,000-pound truck across the Mojave Desert, and climbed a rope the equivalent height of Mount Everest. How on earth has this Navy SEAL dropout accomplished some of the craziest physical feats in recent memory?

Even after a life-changing diagnosis, I can still experience the thrill of adventure

Oregon voters have opened the door to treating mental illness with substances like ketamine and psilocybin. In a peek at the future, our seeker attends a backwoods retreat where patients get help from a powerful combination of drugs and the outdoors.

In this excerpt from his new book ‘The Practice of Groundedness,’ our Do It Better columnist Brad Stulberg explains how ritualizing exercise benefits your brain and body

Bobsledder Steve Mesler incorporates these practices into training to boost his mental health and physical performance

“You always think you’ll save the ones you love when the moment comes. But he didn’t save her.”

What this Olympic moment can teach all of us about mental health

They’re deceptively straightforward, but if you can follow them, you’ll see the benefits

What we learn from getting way, way outside our comfort zones

Think you wouldn’t benefit from some mental maintenance? Think again.

Why reaching outdoor nirvana means journeying far from the beaten path

Dealing with discomfort isn’t a magical gift. It’s a skill, and you can improve at it.

Kayla Lockhart was desperate for relief from the panic that plagued her. She found it at the edge of a stream.

In an excerpt from his new book ‘The Comfort Crisis,’ journalist Michael Easter travels to Bhutan to learn about how confronting death head-on can lead to a more fulfilled life

Champion endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch figured her quest for enlightenment on the Iditarod Trail would hurt. She was right.

When Joe Stone crashed his paraglider into a mountain, his days as an athlete were supposed to be finished. But Joe had other plans.

What happens when a lifelong fraidy-cat sets out into the wilderness alone?

How to embrace tough situations and use them in your favor

Habits and tips to help you get through anything

Expert advice for getting through the winter with COVID-19 as bad as it has ever been

Across the West, fire season lasts longer and has become more intense than any time in history—tens of thousands of structures burn every year, and dozens of people die. But new research is highlighting a different problem: those who survive are never the same.

How Spain's Natxo González prepares his body and mind to tackle the biggest swell on earth

BASE-jumping pioneer Jeb Corliss is one of the original madmen, a fiend for the extreme who has miraculously survived multiple crash landings in a sport that rarely allows second chances. Now, at 44, with a self-diagnosed psychological disorder, he's embarking on his most fraught journey yet: into the depths of his own mind.

He survived multiple crash landings that should have killed him. But as Corliss sees it, risking everything was the only way to live.

Wilderness pros are trained to deal with physical injuries, but what about the psychological trauma that can result while on an expedition, from fear and stress, or from watching someone die in a fall, an avalanche, or whitewater? Australian psychologist and mountaineer Kate Baecher created a training program to equip guides and athletes with a tool kit to handle the worst mental distress we encounter when we're far from help.

Wim Hof's teachings about breath work and the health benefits of cold plunges have attracted millions of followers who swear it has cured everything from depression to diabetes and makes them happier and stronger. Our writer traveled to Iceland (naturally) for a deep dive with the man and his methods.

How self-determination theory can help you survive the long, drawn-out pandemic

When the going gets tough, which sensation actually slows you down?

From pizza to ultramarathons, what's the best way to chill out?

New research says yes. Fortunately, there's something we can do about it.

How a dog and a fly rod can be the perfect prescription

On trail running, trespassing, and what your neighbors do or don't owe you

One day, Michael Shattuck started to run. He liked it, so he ran longer, sometimes for as many as 65 hours each week. He never wanted to stop. What was he running from?

As most of the world stays indoors for days on end, we're all feeling varying degrees of cabin fever. Here's how to make sure you come out of it OK.

New research explores why you go slower and feel worse, even though you’re pushing as hard as usual

In his new book, 'The Wedge,' bestselling author Scott Carney travels the world to investigate the surprisingly effective methods humans have developed to rewire our brains and control our response to stress. And it all starts with taming fear.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a technique that would allow us to vanquish fear and beat back stress? 

Tricks to making your home workout as easy—and productive—as possible

'Shred It in Place' explores how iconic, untouched routes like the Kitchen Traverse can make this time just a little more bearable

We were already worried enough about the climate. So with COVID-19, how do we cope with a brand-new feeling of helplessness?

Men suffer higher rates of suicide and drug abuse than women. Many are anxious and lonely—and, as a result, they’re all too often angry and violent. Wilderness Collective thinks the solution lies in open spaces, UTVs, and fireside talks. But is that enough?

After a nasty bike accident, journalist Sarah Allely found basic activities impossible. Then she started spending more time outdoors.

Launched by Specialized CEO Mike Sinyard, Project New Day promotes the use of hallucinogens like mushrooms to treat addiction and PTSD

Both substances are being studied for stress and anxiety relief. We asked the experts if and how they work.

Alex Honnold has made a career of facing down risk in the mountains. Because of that, he has insight into how to process that possibility.

Delayed gratification gets harder when you’re overtrained, according to a new brain-scanning study

Whether you’re striving for peak performance or coming back from injury, psychological techniques can help

When your love for the outdoors meets chronic pain, you grieve—and then you adapt

The quality of your habits determines the quality of your life. Here's your step-by-step guide.

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