Mental Toughness in Kids: Applying Chris Hemsworth’s “Limitless” Wisdom to Everyday Challenges

Mental Toughness

Introduction:

Mental toughness is like a superpower that helps us all, including children, stay strong in tough situations, face challenges, and handle stress. It’s about staying focused, staying motivated, and bouncing back from setbacks because we know that life is never easy, and we have no idea what challenges we and our children will face. We want our children to be resilient and manage life’s ups and downs. 

Unfortunately, our society is becoming more and more risk-averse, where challenges, difficulties, and taking personal responsibility are becoming things of the past and affecting not only our mental toughness but also our emotional development. 

In the television series “Limitless,” Faith Dickey, a professional highline walker, said, “By avoiding all risks, you never discover your true capabilities.”

Taking inspiration from Chris Hemsworth in “Limitless,” let’s find ways to help our children build this mental strength and take risks. It’s not about shielding them from difficulties but guiding them through challenges so they can develop skills and grow into resilient individuals.

Facing Everyday Challenges:

In “Limitless,” Hemsworth purposely confronts various challenges in the show (i.e., becoming “drown-proof,” facing heights, extreme temperatures, hunger, etc.) to better understand how stress impacts the brain and body and to use this knowledge to improve longevity and increase mental toughness. We aren’t advocating putting children under undue stress; however, allowing children to face challenges contributes to their emotional maturity, development of mental toughness, and improved physical health.

Stress-Proof by Managing Thinking and Using Coping Skills

As Hemsworth puts himself through these challenges, he learns to make stress his friend, or in other words, “dating his stress” (Modupe Akinola, Ph.D. Columbia Professor), which is something we can all work on. Instead of avoiding stress, he faces it head-on, using coping skills to manage the body’s “fight or flight circuit” and make lasting changes through mindfulness and personal stress management techniques (which are individual based on the person).

He learns the power of maintaining a positive mindset when faced with expected and unexpected challenges. For example, he failed the first time when completing “drown-proof” exercises. After working with Modupe Akinola, Ph.D., to change his thinking, he attempted the exercise again. He significantly improved his performance and overrode his body’s natural flight or flight instinct. 

He was learning to be “comfortable in uncomfortable environments” or in situations he was unprepared for and not allowing negative thinking to derail him.

So, how do we help kids with this? See our Toxic Thought Video  

Accountability for Behavior:

In “Limitless,” Hemsworth is trying to take responsibility for his feelings and actions, acknowledging the impact of his choices on others and his brain and body. When children are held accountable for their actions, they can better assess and understand the long-term effects of their behavior and make healthy, life-long changes. 

When children aren’t taking personal responsibility or are in a temper tantrum, it increases our stress response and puts us in fight-or-flight and decreases their mental toughness. 

So, how do we manage this with children who aren’t taking responsibility and manage our stress response simultaneously? (Who knew Chris Hemsworth would be such a great teacher about stress.) See our Healing Children Tidbits for blog posts about accountability, temper tantrums and resiliency, listen/watch our Bumpy Road to Healing Podcast, or take an on-demand course on Adults Self Care

Learning from Failure:

During each episode, Hemsworth is trained to manage his challenges, often failing and encountering setbacks in his attempts. However, each experience teaches him valuable lessons that trigger the brain’s rewiring and improve his ability to tackle the obstacles fully, promoting mental toughness. He receives support, encouragement, and training from others and tries again. He does not give up.

Conclusion:

By applying Chris Hemsworth’s “Limitless” wisdom to working with children, we create an environment where children can face challenges, learn from experiences, and build resilience. As children mature, the cumulative impact of these experiences contributes to the development of mental toughness. Drawing inspiration from the show and understanding the brain and body science behind it, we guide children to become resilient individuals who confidently navigate life’s challenges with courage and grace.

 

“Limitless” Streaming on Hulu and Disney Plus, by National 

 

To learn more take a live course  or an on demand course or purchase our book “Healing Discipline: Bringing Hope to Shattered Lives, A Guide for Educators.” We are also happy to discuss any questions or concerns you might have via phone or email.  You can contact us at 1-888-311-1883 or email us at info@healingchildren.com.

Healing Children, LLC. www.healingchildren.com  This blog is copyrighted material used with permission from © (2012-2024) Sharelynn, LLC. All rights reserved. 

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