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6 Science-Based Hacks To Grow A Stronger Mind

6 Science-Based Hacks To Grow A Stronger Mind

Mentally strong people know that the only things we can control in life are our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and that everything else is outside of their control. Therefore, they focus on learning about and improving their thought, feeling, and behavior patterns. They know that success in life will follow.

I wish I was taught that in school! It  I was a real go-getter, trying to get ahead in life. Yet I was putting in so much unneeded effort because I was working hard, not smart. Worse than that, I was sabotaging myself, as I wasn’t listening to my own emotions and what I really needed in life. While I was doing alright in my career, internally I was anxious and depressed, and didn’t know how to fix it.

The solution came from finding out about science-based strategies for growing mentally stronger. I learned to be aware of and improve the only things I can control in life – my thought, feeling, and behavior patterns. I grew much happier and mentally healthier, and gained much more success in my career than I had previously. I also became passionate about sharing these science-based strategies, and hope you can benefit from learning about them.

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Be intentional

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    Knowledge is power! Be intentional and figure out the truth about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I remember how I journaled about all aspects of myself, a science-based strategy for self-understanding. It wasn’t easy, and I noticed myself flinching away from certain aspects of the truth about myself. However I knew that the things I tried to flinch away from, the truths I didn’t want to acknowledge to myself, were most likely to be the ones that sabotaged my ability to control my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the long run. It was so worth it, as I discovered so many aspects of myself I didn’t know I had! This self-understanding was the key to gaining control over my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and I continue to journal daily in order to keep on learning about and improving them.

    Understand Your Emotional Self

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    Autopilot vs Intentional System: Elephant and Rider

      Intuitively, we feel our mind to be a cohesive whole, and perceive ourselves as intentional and rational thinkers. Yet research shows that in reality, the intentional part of our mind is like a little rider on top of a huge elephant of emotions. The emotional self is the most important one to explore, as it shapes our thoughts and behaviors in ways we don’t realize. For example, I learned that I had a strong anxiety response when people don’t respond to my emails quickly, and my mind started to spin in circles, figuring out what was wrong. By learning about that unhealthy pattern, I managed to start to notice and control it, and now am much better with emails.

      Self-Empathy, Self-Love, and Self-Care

      what is self esteem

        Mentally strong people take the time for self-empathy and self-care. They listen to their emotional self, and make it feel heard, validated, and loved, thus providing themselves with self-empathy and self-love. They also take the time for appropriate self-care, knowing that if they take care of themselves, they will have capacity to control their thought, feeling, and behavior patterns, and thus succeed in life. This was a particularly tough area for me, as my emotional self does not intuitively place a high importance on myself. I had to convince myself that by taking good care of myself, I can take better care of others in my life, just like in airplanes, you need to put your own mask on first before taking care of others.

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        Be Authentic

        women-walking-throug-door-200x300

          Be authentic in who you are! Mentally strong people let people in their lives know about themselves and their needs, goals, and challenges. When I came out of the closet about my mental illness to people around me, I lost some relationships. However, I was much better off overall, as it would not have been good for me in the long term to keep relationships with people who did not support me. In return, I had much better support from the large majority of people who remained close to me because they knew about my challenges. I also gained new friends who were proud of and admired my decision to be authentic about who I am.

          Life the Life You Want

          Young businesswoman walking along a cobbled street in front of a white wall.
            Young businesswoman walking along a cobbled street in front of a white wall.

            To grow mentally stronger, be confident that you know best what is good for your life. Listen to advice from others, consider their perspectives, and then make your own choices. I had a tough time making a choice about my career, as I got pushback from my parents about my decision. They wanted me to pursue a career that would make money, but I wanted to pursue my passion. Well, I’m so glad that I made the choice that was right for me, and did not follow their advice. I would have been miserable, as I am really not suited for a traditional nine-to-five track.

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            Commit to Growing Mentally Stronger

            Growing Mentally Stronger T-shirt

              Perhaps most important of all, mentally strong people are committed always to growing mentally stronger. They use research-based strategies such as making a plan to improve their thinking, feeling, and behavior patterns and set physical reminders for themselves, such as t-shirts that say “Growing Mentally Stronger.” I got that t-shirt, and made a plan. I now devote more than ten percent of my weekly activities to growing mentally stronger, such as by doing meditation, journaling, reading Lifehack and Less Wrong, and attending a Rationality Dojo.

              I hope these science-based hacks help you grow mentally stronger!

              Photo Credit: Understand Your Emotional Self, Commit to Growing Mentally StrongerBe intentional,Self-EmpathyBe Authentic, Life the Life You Want

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              Dr. Gleb Tsipursky

              President and Co-Founder at Intentional Insights; Disaster Avoidance Consultant

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              Last Updated on October 17, 2019

              How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

              How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

              You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.

              But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.

              Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!

              What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.

              Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.[1]

              So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.

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              1. Recognize the Signs

              If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.

              Some telltale signs include:

              • You’re always on your phones.
              • You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
              • You aren’t together during important events.
              • You are arguing more often or lack connection.
              • You don’t make plans or date nights.
              • You’re not happy.

              If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.

              2. Try New Things Together

              Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?

              Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?

              Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.

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              Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.[2]

              3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time

              Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?

              Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.[3]

              Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.

              4. Hit the Gym as a Couple

              One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together.[4] Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.[5]

              Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.

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              5. Cook Meals Together

              Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!

              One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.[6]

              Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.

              If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.

              6. Have a Regular Date Night

              Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together.[7] One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.

              The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom.[8] It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.

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              Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:

              • Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
              • Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
              • Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
              • Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
              • Dinner and a movie – A classic!
              • Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
              • Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.[9]

              Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples

              Final Thoughts

              The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:

              • Improves emotional and physical intimacy
              • Lowers divorce rates
              • Improves communication
              • Reduces marital boredom
              • Bonds couples closer
              • Improves friendship
              • Boosts health
              • Reduces stress

              These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.

              It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.

              These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.

              Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com

              Reference

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