Conscious Climbing: How Your Psychology Influences Your Physiology
Today we’re going to jump right into the concept of mind over matter because it’s absolutely key beta for any climber.
In this article I will explain how “mind over matter” works, showcase the best climbers in the world using it, and finish with how to apply it practically for your own benefit.
Right off the bat, I know some of you are thinking that this is some hippy shit! That this woo-woo stuff doesn’t belong in the climbing world.
I hear you, but honestly this topic is worth exploring because it’s a game changer.
And I mean, Game-Changer.
Margo Hayes, Alex Honnold, Steph Davis and Tommy Caldwell are some of the professionals in the league using their mind-power to accomplish their greatest achievements, and you can do it to.
The aim of this article is to open your mind, and heart, to the fact that you absolutely can create better rock climbing experiences.
A better climbing experience to me means less pressure, less anxiety, and stress; more relaxation, more happiness, and harmony.
All your climbing goals can be met … but first you must truly get to know yourself.
Before we get into this, let’s get you comfortable…
Take a few deep breathes.
Still your Mind.
Feel into your Heart.
Breathe, relax, and be here, Now J
Shift your attention from outer engagement, to an inward soft and receptive attitude.
Taking the time to quiet your Mind is an important part of the process. In this Calmness we are better able to contact our inner wisdom and guidance - which is what we need to create phenomenal climbing experiences.
In today’s Conscious Climbing class, we explore how our thoughts create our experience.
So here we go, read the following statement below slowly:
What I think about creates my feelings, which animate my physical body.
In other words: your thoughts influence your emotions which influence your physical actions.
This flow of consciousness is natural, and it’s important to know this particular order of operation because it will provide clarity to how you operate.
You have to know how to use your mind in order to use it correctly!
As the operator of yourself, it’s important to make sure your mind is not interfering with your objectives.
The goal of Positive Psychology then, is to consciously work as a team with yourself: to have your thoughts, feelings, and actions working together toward what you want.
Simple? Yes. Easy? Not quite.
We’ll get into the major cruxes of mind mastery throughout the weeks, but for now we just need to recognize this very real connection between your psychology and your physiology.
If you’re still unsure of the whole mind over matter thing, let’s bring it to life right now through a simple and direct experience.
Follow the example below:
Imagine you’re watching Free Solo, and Alex Honnold is climbing Freerider on El Capitan ropeless.
Imagine watching Alex climb the sketchy slab pitch – or any part of the route that sticks out in your mind (if you watched the movie).
Now you think what it would be like for you to climb that same pitch without a rope.
You being to feel scared. You feel fear, maybe even panic…
Your hands and armpits begin to sweat.
That’s the essence of mind over matter – how your psychology influences your physiology.
- You think about what it would be like.
- You feel
- Your physical body responds
Mind over matter is a simple science.
We influence “matter”, our physical experience, according to the quality of our thoughts and feelings. Can you see how understanding this order of internal operation would be beneficial to your climbing and life experiences?
This is why self-awareness (being aware of the quality of your inner worlds) and visualization are so important to positive experiences. If we have fearful thoughts, we will feel fear and we will experience fear. Changing our thoughts is not as simple as it sounds, but it’s a journey worth taking.
When you devote yourself to consciously reprogramming your thoughts and feelings to high vibrations like positivity, optimism, joy, and love – you will naturally begin to ascend toward the accomplishment of the climb of your dreams.
Positive psychology will improve your experiences. However, while it may be simple in the theory, this work is known to have many, many cruxes.
Think Dawn Wall.
Mastering your mind is like climbing the Dawn Wall:
Sustained, hard AF, freaky.
You’re going to whip, and you’re going to be run-out.
You don’t know when you’re going to send, or even if it’s possible in this lifetime!
You get shut-down, disheartened, and question yourself.
But despite all this, you’re inspired by the objective anyway.
Along the way you unlock sequences, and have breakthroughs.
There are moments of Pure Joy and Beauty.
And the summit promises Absolute Glory!
So do you think The Dawn Wall was worth it?
What I’m saying is, approach your Mind Work the same way Tommy approached a massive project like the Dawn Wall.
Because like climbing the Dawn Wall (which took 13 years of thought, and eight years of dedicated effort), mastering your mind is a BIG PROCESS – it doesn’t happen overnight.
For success on this objective, you must be Inspired – first and foremost – and then you must follow through with hard, diligent work, patience and perseverance.
Draw inspiration from Tommy. He is the best rock climber in the world for a reason.
He is an inspired guy - and uses his good attitude, mental energy and physical actions to make his dreams a reality.
So if you want a better climbing experience – because it’s possible for you - get serious about your mentality.
Pay attention to your internal and external speech – and always return to positivity and compassion for yourself. These small changes in your attitude will create a whole new experience for you – on and off the wall.
Peace, Love, Climbing everybody.
Catherine Freya Pitura
The Conscious Climber.