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Image: Three skiiers making their way down a ski slope.

How to Improve Mental Health: 5 Tips From World Champion Lindsey Vonn

This article by Alexandra Tudor originally appeared on Mindvalley.

Be it anxiety, overthinking, or unexpected sadness, it’s totally normal to struggle with your mental well-being. It even happens to someone as accomplished as world champion skier Lindsey Vonn

But the good news is, there are plenty of simple, effective tips on how to improve your mental health. And who better to learn from than someone who has faced her fair share of challenges on and off the slopes?

Image: Three skiiers making their way down a ski slope like champion Lindsey Vonn.
Source: Unsplash

On her journey to become the most decorated American ski racer in history, Lindsey struggled with depression and anxiety. And even at the pinnacle of her success, she was often battling her own darkness when learning what it takes to become a champion.

In a heartfelt conversation on The Mindvalley Show with Vishen, Lindsey shares her top tips and strategies for overcoming mental health issues and living life in the best way she can. 

“You’ve got to survive, so you’ve got to figure out a way,” she kindly reminds everyone. So whether you’re looking for some mental health tips or just want to read an inspirational story, Lindsey offers powerful insights on what it means to live wholeheartedly, embracing both shadow and light.

Listen to the full podcast episode here:

1. Learn the Truth About Grit

Learning to develop an attitude of grit is one of the highest predictors of success. This quality is important because it teaches you that the things you’re passionate about are linked to progress and evolution rather than the mere feeling of accomplishment.

Science also backs up this fact—studies have shown that grit is essential when you have the desire to achieve anything. Whether it’s incorporating a new habit, dismantling a toxic emotional pattern, or challenging your body to push its limits, the ability to persevere consistently represents the most valuable thing that will reap results.

Take Lindsey’s example: after setting the intention to become an Olympic ski racer at the age of nine years old, nothing stopped her until she brought life to all of her dreams, in the face of any adversities that came along the way.

You may have to learn these lessons of grit the hard way sometimes. Though it won’t be easy, it can become one of the key components of your success story. And it may serve as inspiration on how to improve your mental health.

Lindsey Vonn’s tip: “Grit is a combination between passion and perseverance for a singular goal. And the goal isn’t to have it all, but to get really clear on the things you do want, so you can make the right choices.”

2. Focus on Consistency

Doing something on a regular basis, no matter what life throws your way, can positively impact your overall well-being. Most Olympic athletes and high-achievers see it as a foundation for success.

In fact, a 2018 study conducted at two universities in China found that consistency has a significant influence on mental health. Postgraduates who persevered in keeping healthy habits not only reported better clarity and focus but also had greater academic achievements overall.

For Lindsey, there were times where she struggled with episodes of depression and felt isolated, especially when moving away from home at a young age. However, in the midst of all the chaos, there was one thing that gave her structure and stability through it all: skiing.

Lindsey Vonn’s tip: “Skiing was a great outlet. A constant. A rock. Something to rely on.” And it allowed her to work on understanding how to improve her mental health.

3. Understand the Power of Calculated Risk

Jumping headfirst into the unknown can be daunting, especially when anxiety starts to take hold. And when you don’t have a set of grounding techniques, it may feel like you’re spinning down a rabbit hole of overthinking.

Taking calculated risks is essential to moving forward. The power of this lesson lets you cultivate not only mental strength but also the ability to let go of control and trust that it all works out for the best.

Sometimes taking a leap of faith that previously seemed terrifying can make space for incredible gifts from the unknown. It doesn’t mean that being detail-oriented and a great planner won’t help you along the way, but there should be enough trust in the Universe to feel reassured that you’re being supported.

That’s where Lindsey has the edge. In the interview, she jokingly says that she might lose a fortune, “but my knees will still be intact.” And with this mindset, she managed to achieve her biggest dreams and manifest her full potential.

Letting go of your mind’s desire to control everything seems scary and overwhelming, but it has positive effects on your overall happiness and life perspective. See how it all may work out for you, too.

Lindsey Vonn’s tip: “You just have to keep an open mind and take the ego out of the equation.” 

4. Ask for Help When You Need It

There may have been a stigma in the past around seeking help from a professional. But fortunately, nowadays, that kind of shame is slowly but surely disappearing from the collective mentality.

Closing a chapter of your life may feel like a loss of identity, no matter what you had to let go of. It can be about a life-long relationship, changing your career, or sending your little one to college (who’s apparently not so little anymore).

However, by beginning your healing journey, you might discover that owning your true needs acts as the foundation for building confidence, and going to therapy can be part of a fulfilling self-love routine.

What Vishen, founder of Mindvalley, highlights in the podcast episode is that most highly successful people hire coaches or therapists to help them navigate difficult situations. 

Even in those crucial moments when depression may seem like a black hole of utter despair, you can still learn how to improve your mental health without medication—by having the right guidance and assistance.

Lindsey Vonn’s tip: Therapy helped her discover who she truly is, especially after retiring from being an Olympic athlete. So taking cue, being open to receiving help when you need it the most can be life-changing. 

5. Live With Passion and Purpose

As the saying goes, when you say yes to life, life says yes to you. So living with passion and purpose is one of the best tips out there on how to improve your mental health and overall quality of life.

In fact, studies have concluded that “passion contributes to sustained psychological well-being while preventing the experience of negative affect, psychological conflict, and ill-being.” So don’t be afraid to explore the world and look for whatever it is that ignites the true fire within you.

For Lindsey, she learned to cultivate so much passion for every single day of her life. And a fundamental rock in her mental well-being is knowing that she will make any choices that she needs to live the happiest life she is capable of. 

Lindsey Vonn’s tip: “I always make the best decisions I can, and I live with no regrets.” And even when you go through the hardships of finding yourself again, trust that your inner guidance and wisdom will reveal the way. 

Let Your Greatness Radiate From Within

Learning how to improve your mental health and owning your true greatness will make you stand out in the world. You may fall in love with life again and pursue your most burning desires.

Of course, it’s often easier said than done. But the beautiful thing about this healing and self-discovery journey is that you don’t have to be alone along the way. The right guidance will make you feel supported on your path.

And if you’re looking for a place of assistance and support, Mindvalley is here for you. By claiming your free access, you’ll open the door to transformation and powerful insights. And you’ll also get the chance to explore:

  • Selected daily meditations to help you release any mental blockages and tension on your journey of self-actualization.
  • community of like-minded people who are as ready to take on the world as you are.

There’s no reason to hold back from unlocking your full potential. Your best life is waiting for you.

~ Mindvalley

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