Do you have the mental strength to quickly bounce back from personal failures and setbacks, or is dealing with the harsh realities of life something you’ve always struggled with? Can you pick yourself back up and adapt to circumstances, or do you find yourself completely overwhelmed by the curveballs life throws at you?
Especially at chaotic times like these where there’s more uncertainty than ever, being able to withstand hardships and regulating your difficult emotions has become a pretty essential and crucial requirement for living a good life and reaching your true potential.
“It takes discipline to focus only on high-value targets instead of giving in to the temptation of the low-hanging fruit life serves up daily.” – Mark Divine
Being mentally strong is now more critical than ever. But how do you define mental strength, and more importantly, how can you become mentally strong? Let’s take a look.
This article is taken from an episode featuring John R. Miles of the Passion Struck Podcast.
What is Mental Strength?
Mental strength is your capacity to effectively deal with stressors, fears, pressures, and life challenges, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. It is understanding that you are more powerful than you realize. Mentally strong people can adapt to new ways of thinking while also being able to unlearn self-limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns that no longer serve them and are not relevant anymore.
Mentally strong people only compete against themselves and don’t let others, failures, or circumstances define their self-worth. They don’t need approval to feel capable because their opinion of themselves matters to them more than anything. They set realistic and long-term goals and don’t rely on motivation to move forward in life. They know that moving forward can be uncertain and scary and realize that each struggle allows more strength to be gained. They are brave enough to go against the flow, have their own sense of right and wrong, stand apart and even face opposition and rejection to reach their goals.
To put it simply, mentally strong people are self-sufficient individuals. They trained themselves to bravely face the difficulties of life, develop the confidence to know they can overcome their fears, adapt to circumstances, stay focused on their goals, believe in themselves, and pick themselves back up whenever life puts them down.
How Do you Become Mentally Strong?
Mental strength is not something you’re born with. Instead, it’s something you develop with time, effort, and self-discipline. You become mentally strong by getting in tune with your body, emotions, and mindset. Ultimately, it is changing your outlook to be one of positivity even in the face of challenges.
Like physical exercise, anyone can build mental strength and resilience by training themselves and putting in time and effort. However, it doesn’t happen in one day. It takes a series of daily actions and intentions to get you there.
So, what are some things that you can start doing right now to become mentally strong?
Seven Practical Methods That Increase Your Mental Strength
1. Set clear goals and know exactly what you want from life
Before you start your journey, you have to first decide your destination.
Know what you want and why it’s worth the effort. Only then can you have a strong enough will to evade whatever life throws at you to reach that goal.
Most people fail to develop mental strength because they either don’t know what they want or follow something they’re not interested in.
Following meaningless goals will lead you nowhere, so be true to yourself and pursue things that genuinely interest you. Following your dreams does not mean you will always be happy. There will be tough times where you will have the least willpower at your disposal, but mentally strong people know that to achieve something great, they have to work at their goals despite not having motivation or happiness all the time. For them, happiness is a bonus, and they understand that they don’t need to be always happy to push themselves to move forward every time.
Whether it’s a professional goal, a learning milestone, a health standard, your position in a relationship, or whatever, if you are pursuing something that truly matters to you and gives your life meaning, you will automatically be more inclined to put in more effort, overcome obstacles and pick yourself back up whenever you face challenges.
2. Identify specific areas that you would like to change and start working on them one by one.
Every person is different and has their own unique set of strengths and challenges. Start by identifying and directly working on your weaknesses.
For example, you could be an empathic person. Still, you might face difficulty asserting your needs, so you can highlight that one area of your life where you face the most trouble and start directly working on it by reading books or engaging in exercises that help you be more assertive.
Similarly, see all other areas of your life that cause you problems regularly. It could be unresolved trauma, inability to stay calm in stressful situations, an addiction to drugs, or anything that is damaging to your mental health.
Instead of continuing to be a victim of them, make actionable plans and start working to improve them one by one so that you can develop a resistance to your stressors over time.
3. Avoid the compare-and-despair trap and understand everyone has a different journey.
Don’t let the success or privileges of others demotivate you. Your only reason to look at the lives of those better than you should be to take inspiration and not base your self-worth on how much someone else has.
Making comparisons with other people’s lives is a sure-fire recipe for damaging your self-esteem and draining your mental strength. There’s always going to be someone better, happier, and more successful than you. If you rely on comparisons to feel good in life, you’ll always end up short.
Another reason why comparisons are harmful is that they are unrealistic. We often compare someone’s outside world with our inside world. Everyone has their own struggles and challenges in life, but people rarely show it on the outside or social media. In some areas, they’re better than you, while they are struggling more than you can imagine in others. When you understand everyone has a different journey with their ups and downs, you no longer see life as unfair.
You don’t let the success of others demotivate you and understand the only person you can realistically compare yourself with is the person you were yesterday.
4. Be grateful and acknowledge the good things in life.
Gratitude is a choice we always have.
We are often so consumed by the bad things in life that we completely ignore the good parts and fail to realize that despite our hardships, life is still good in many ways, and we have so much to be grateful for.
Clean water, food, shelter, good friends, good health — by reminding ourselves of the blessings in life, we learn to keep ourselves balanced and don’t let hardships and letdowns get to our hearts.
Being grateful improves your mood, gives you hope and often serves as a tool to look at the bright side of life when some of our plans seem to be going against us.
5. Practice self-care and set healthy boundaries.
Take care of yourself because if you don’t, no one else will.
Self-care does not mean you become selfish. It simply means you put your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing first and do not choose a life that goes against your morals and is harmful to your mental health and wellbeing.
If you commit to something that never sits right with you, you will only end up sacrificing a crucial part of your happiness and peace in life.
To become mentally strong, you have to make changes to both your inside and the outside world.
It could mean saying “No” to what does not matter to you, cutting off those relations that make your life miserable, choosing professions that align with your morals, eating a good diet, exercising, getting therapy if needed, sharing problems with close friends, etc.
Prioritizing and taking care of yourself motivates you to make healthy choices in life, and you are more likely to make decisions and choose things that nurture your wellbeing and serve you well, thus increasing your mental strength.
6. Surround yourself with positive people.
As the saying goes, “Your personality is the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”
While we always choose to make individual decisions, we can’t ignore the fact that the people we are most closely associated with have the most significant influence on our behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes and ultimately change our thinking, decisions, and overall self-esteem.
If you surround yourself with negative, resentful, and unmotivated people, they will bring you down too. They will deplete your energy and influence your ability to explore new and exciting opportunities. You will start to perceive how those negative people perceive their world, and the outcomes will damage your life, sometimes without you even knowing it.
On the other hand, having positive, resilient, practical, and successful people will start to bring these qualities into your life as well. So, filter your circle and prioritize the company of those that keep you motivated, help you become better and feel better about yourself.
7. Be positive with yourself and remember your successes.
Don’t be unnecessarily harsh on yourself and give yourself credit where it’s due.
Even if you fail, don’t let it define you.
In times of hardships, remind yourself of your achievements, successes, and how you made yourself proud in the past.
The good things about yourself are there to remind you that you did it in the past when it seemed impossible, so you can do it again too.
The Takeaway On Creating Mental Strength
Focusing and improving on this one area of your life can take you from ordinary to extraordinary. Often the only person holding us back from living the life we want is ourselves because we dilute our power by allowing setbacks and self-limiting beliefs to take hold of us.
But when we start strengthening our mind, it starts to work with us instead of working against us. Implementing the strategies mentioned above can help you find the missing key to unlock your true potential, and it can serve as the one big step you take towards changing the course of your life for the better.
The Passion Struck podcast is helping men and women unlock their true potential and become passion struck every day. Listen to the Passion Struck Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts online. For more information, if you are in a toxic relationship, click here.