Psychological Skills

What are psychological skills?

Psychological skills, or mental skills are tools for the mind. This includes skills like positive self-talk, enhancing confidencegoal setting, and achieving the most productive mindset, among many other skills. Improving your psychological skills can enhance academic performance and your overall well-being.

icebergThese skills can be discussed with a metaphor. Imagine you are an iceberg. The top 10% of the iceberg is above water. This represents what people see when they look at you as a student. They see your study habits, grades, and your success. However, 90% of the iceberg is below water. This represents your inner character – what drives that other 10%. Psychological skills make up a large part of the 90%.

The psychological skills section is dedicated to helping you learn about and enhance your mental skills. Just like an athlete learns and perfects a physical skill, psychological skills can be taught and improved with practice! Building up your mental skills provides you with a strong foundation for achieving your academic potential.

In his book Mental Toughness Training for Sports: Achieving Athletic Excellence (1986) James Loehr characterizes individuals that are mentally fit as:

  • Self-motivated & self-directed
  • Positive but realistic
  • Calm & relaxed under fire
  • Highly energetic and ready for action
  • Determined
  • Mentally alert & focused
  • Self-confident
  • Fully responsible

Mental fitness is not only important for athletes – its important for students too. All of the characteristics Loehr described will help you become more successful in your academic and career pursuits.

Where’s the Research?

Take a look at the literature on mental skills in the classroom.