Major IV: Mental Power
The 10 markers to live like a Highlander
Strength is a persistent theme for the Highlander. We don’t just want our bodies to be arbitrarily “healthy,” we want them to be strong because strong is undeniably healthy.
Highlanders want the same for their minds.
While one might describe mental and spiritual work as mental health, it doesn’t accurately reflect the mental goals of the Highlander. When we achieve these goals, we create mental strength, not just mental health. Health connotes survival. Strength connotes a thriving mental environment. We want our minds to feel young and vibrant, just like our bodies.
The mental goals of the Highlander are four:
Improved focus to work on the right things.
A creative mind open to unique solutions and ideas.
A sense of purpose and meaning.
Gratitude toward others and yourself.
The utility of focus and creativity to the Highlander may seem obvious, but purpose and gratitude — may seem “woo-woo” or new age spiritual. They’re not. The latter two mental goals may actually have the most utility.
Studies show that purpose in life reduces chronic stress. It makes sense. If we have purpose in our lives, we don’t have to spend all day worried about finding meaning. I believe that many mental health issues stem from the weight of invisible purpose. A Highlander must shed that weight.
A gratitude practice can help improve anxiety, depression, and sleep, leading to a better mental environment for happiness. I am not the best person at expressing gratitude. It’s something I have to do intentionally, and it makes you feel like a better person. It’s worth the time of a Highlander.
These mental goals feed on each other. It’s easier to focus on things that we enjoy, that give us purpose, and make us feel gratitude. If we understand purpose and gratitude, we will be more productive, more focused, and more creative creating a cycle of positive habits that yield positive results.
Focus, creativity, purpose, and gratitude add up to a young, vibrant mind.
The Highlander uses three tools in our programming to achieve our mental goals:
Meditation for focus.
Walks without distracting devices for creativity.
Journaling for purpose and gratitude.
Meditation is a practice of focus. When practicing meditation, we our minds and focus on a point internal or external to ourselves. When notice our minds wandering, we return our minds back to the point of focus. That’s all meditation is. We can think of each return from wander to focus as a repetition like a bench press in the gym.
Not only does meditation help us improve focus, it also improves markers for cognition and aging through just three minutes of practice a day.
If we want to defy age at every age, we need healthy brains.
The Highlander Program incorporates a daily five minute practice of meditation.
Walks Without Devices
Walking may seem like a tool for exercise rather than brain health, but the Highlander views it differently. We use walking as primarily a mental tool with secondary physical benefits.
Walking allows us to wander physically and mentally.
When we walk and expose ourselves to uncontrolled external experiences, we get out of our minds. Our subconscious minds are free to be creative. I find that many of my best ideas and thoughts happen when I’m walking and disconnected from the many devices that are trying to influence me.
The Highlander Program includes one 30 minute walk three times a week, but walk as much as possible. Daily is even better.
It’s easy to ignore purpose and gratitude as difficult or unimportant unless they are intentionally built into your routine. Purpose and gratitude come from self discovery, and the best way to do that is to explore questions about yourself.
The Highlander Program includes a daily prompt for journaling that incorporates the discovery of purpose and gratitude.
If you want to build mental strength, subscribe to the daily Highlander Program now!