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Last Updated on February 17, 2020

20 Small Habits That Will Help You Become Mentally Strong

20 Small Habits That Will Help You Become Mentally Strong

Everyone wants to start out the year strong, but it’s finishing strong that’s also important. Many resolutions and goals are never reached because we get caught up in what’s happening in our life, and because we haven’t developed the mental strength to keep ourselves going when the momentum from the New Year wears off.

However, a lot of getting yourself to your goals and surpassing them is about being mentally strong for when those hard moments hits. Discipline is developed, so it will power the continual ability to make great choices toward what you want. Remember, not to sacrifice what you really want for some pleasure now.

Being mentally stronger doesn’t mean it has to be a tough grind, here are a few tips and tricks which can help you. Just like if you want to be stronger physically you have to do exercises to keep the muscles strong, do build mental strength you have to do exercises to help build those habits and beliefs.

One of the best ways to build mental strength is to find habits and small tips throughout the day to keep your energy high, mind-set positive, and help develop habits and skills which will help move you forward and keep you feeling good about what you’re doing. Meanwhile, you’re building mental strength in a way which won’t leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

Set yourself up for a mentally stronger and happier year by applying a few of these tips:

1. Make Your Bed

You’re already accomplishing things and getting off to a great start when you make your bed first thing in the morning. Remember the saying, “The state of your bed is the state of your head?” There is plenty of truth to it. While it may seem like a small step, it has huge benefits.

Research shows people who make their beds daily are overall happier with their lives, more productive, and have a stronger sense of pride and accomplishment in their day for all the tasks they do. This one little thing gets you in the habit of finishing projects right away in the morning. One task down before you’ve even brushed your teeth, what a great feeling!

2. Say Nice Things to Yourself Daily

Make a commitment to cut down on the negative self-talk and pump up the nice things you say to yourself. You may feel ridiculous at first as you become your own cheerleader in your head, but think about how great you’ll feel as you make stronger and stronger decisions about your life. Those same decisions are what will keep you moving toward your goal.

Be mindful, negative thoughts can sneak their way in really quickly, when you catch them, just recognize them as untrue (even if you have to say it out loud) and replace them with a positive thought.

3. Write Down Something Great About Each Day

You can keep it in a jar, a journal, a shoe box, or wherever you want, but write down something great about each day. This helps create gratitude in your life.

At the end of the year, you’ll be able to sit down and look back at the positive things you’ve experienced and accomplished, instead of only the challenges or rough patches which made you want to give up.

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4. Write Down the Positive Aspects of Every Challenge

Life is a lot about perspective. Change your perspective and you can change your life.

Instead of griping and being angry or disappointed (indulging in negative self-talk) concerning any challenges which may come up, build up your positive mental strength by writing down positive aspects and things you could be learning from the challenges. Try your best to find something to be grateful about every day.

5. Practice Mindful Happiness While Commuting

Mindfulness is about being in the moment. To get comfortable with being happy, practicing being mindfully happy.

Take an event or moment or memory when you are feeling good, and let yourself indulge in the feeling. Look at how it sits in your body, how your thoughts change, how your body changes, and what it feels like; see if there are any colors which it may feel like.

Spend some time with your happy mood. At the end of it, notice the feeling of happiness and joy, it comes from you, and it spontaneously shows up when you are in mindfully in the moment.

6. Practice Being Your Own Best Friend Daily

This is a great way to become mentally stronger, because it teaches us to rely on ourselves, and not need others to pick us up, because we can do it ourselves.

Next time something isn’t going quite as planned, or you start to insult or criticize yourself, pause and ask:

“Would I let my best friend treat me this way?” or “Would I treat my best friend this way?”

The answer is probably no, and it’s a great idea to love yourself as much, if not more, than you love your best friend.

7. Practice Saying “No” without Explanation

As a society, we’ve decided somewhere along the lines that we have to have a reason for saying no, and not wanting to do something isn’t a good enough reason. If you find yourself in that’s line of thinking, then throw it out.

Learn to say no. You don’t have to explain your actions or validate your decisions to anyone about why you don’t want to do something.

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8. Practice 20 Minutes of Self-Care Daily

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you don’t take some time to really deeply care for yourself, you’ll eventually run your well dry and not be able to love and care for those around you.

Self-care can be something as complex as having a manicure or spa day, or as simple as locking yourself in the bathroom for five minutes just to have some alone time. It doesn’t matter what it is, make sure you create some space and/or activities which leave you feeling full and happy.

Take a look at The 5-Step Guide to Self Care for Busy People.

9. Do a Hobby or Activity Daily Which Brings You Joy

This is a great form of self-care. See if you can’t find a hobby or activity which you enjoy just because it makes you feel better.

As you become more confident and competent at it, you’ll discover how confidence and self-belief will pool over into other areas of your life. The positive talk you use and the joy you find in your hobby will help make you mentally stronger as you tackle the harder aspects of your chosen goal.

10. Set a Goal to Practice More Gratitude and Less Complaining

Getting caught up in the cycle of complaining can make you hard to be around, but it also can take quite a toll on your mental health. Instead of just endlessly complaining about a situation, try and find something to be grateful about.

11. Set a Goal for at Least 8 Hours of Sleep a Night

This is huge! You’ve seen small children lose their mind when they are too tired. Adults are the same way, only we don’t usually end up eventually passed out in the middle of our dinner plate. When you’re too tired, you make poor decisions, your mental strength goes down, your rational mind turns into a 6-year-old’s, and your body responds by upping stress hormones.

Make sleep a priority this year to help you stay mentally strong. A minimum of eight hours is essential, if you’re any type of athlete, the more the better. If you’re stressed, make sure you are giving yourself sufficient time to rest and relax before going to sleep in order to allow your body to maximize the sleeping hours.

12. Set a Goal to Eat Clean Food Daily

New research is showing the link between your gut health and your mood, and one of the things which directly relates to your gut health is the food you put in your body.

By reducing inflammatory food such as any food allergies, grains, dairy, and alcohol, you can reduce the stress on your digestive system. A healthier digestive system means less sick days, more energy, and can also improve symptoms of depressions and anxiety.

Try to shop the outside edge of the grocery story and eat only food you make. Learn ore about clean eating here: What Is Clean Eating (Essential Tips + Clean Eating Meal Plan)

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13. Cut Your Social Media Time in Half

We tend to put our best foot forward on social media, and this can end up with us trying to compare our lives to the highlights reel of another person’s life. Doing so can leave you feeling awful and discontent about where you are in life and the great things you’ve accomplished. It can also cause you to forget how many great lives you touch throughout the day by being the amazing person you are.

Half your social media time and spend the time reconnecting with people you love, reading a book, or practicing the hobby you enjoy. Whatever you decided to fill the time with, make sure it’s something which lifts you up.

14. Put up at Least Three Inspirational Quotes to Read Daily

When things get tough and you feel like you’re not making progress, uplifting words can go a long ways toward keeping you on track.

Take the time to post a few inspiring quotes or pictures (maybe even a vision board) somewhere you’ll see it every day. Words of encouragement and motivation can go a long when you’re in a bad place.

Check out some of these powerful quotes: 50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Overcome Life’s Challenges

15. Visualize Your Goals for 10 Minutes Daily

Take the time to visualize the end result of your goals and also the challenges you’ll overcome in between.

Practice visualizing how you’re going to solve potential problems. See yourself where you want to be, and feel how great it feels to accomplish your goals.

16. Let Go of the People Pleasing Tendencies

In an effort to be a  good person, we often over-extend ourselves and commit to things we really don’t want to do.

Embrace the fact that you can’t please everyone. Let go of the need to let others’ happiness and goals overrule what’s best for you, your health, and your happiness.

17. Set a Monthly Budget Which Includes Something Fun

Anything fun should do, it doesn’t have to be big. It could be buying a new shirt, going to the movie, or getting yourself the favorite bubble bath — something you don’t normally let yourself reach for, something which will make you smile and feel wonderful when you come into contact with it.

Whether it’s lighting your new candle, soaking in a tub with your favorite bubble bath, let yourself enjoy a small splurge every month or few weeks.

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18. Stop Indulging in Relationships or Activities Which Drain You of Energy

Go where you’re celebrated. Do things which leave you feeling joyful. Make yourself mentally stronger by building positive relationships and letting go of toxic ones.

Letting go of toxic relationships or places isn’t easy but, you have to make a commitment to being stronger. Without the mental and emotional drain, you’ll find more energy and more happiness throughout your day.

19. Cut the Word “Should” from Your Vocabulary

Think about when the last time you thought you should do something. Wasn’t exactly a fun and exciting thought was it?

“Should” usually comes with the feelings of obligation and heavy responsibility, and rarely a feeling of joy. “Should” has a tendency to come with self-criticism and harsh judgement, neither of which support the foundation you’re building this year to become mentally stronger.

Instead of using “should,” re-phrase your sentence into something you look forward to doing. For exampIe, “I would like to be mentally stronger.” or “I would like to be physically healthier.”

20. Journal for Three Pages or Five Minutes Morning And/Or Night

If you choose to journal in the morning, write about your dreams, dump all your worries or concerns on the page, to creatively express anything which may have worried you the nigh before. It’s also a great way to write down your goals and inspirations for the day, get a feeling for what you want to see happen and an action plan.

If you choose to journal at night, unwind about all the things which may have stressed you out, and celebrate all the things you did right.

No matter what approach you take this year, remember:

With a consistent positive practice, you can strengthen your mental muscles and over time, you’ll become mentally stronger!

Featured photo credit: iam_os via unsplash.com

More by this author

Jenna Anderson

Jenna is passionate in helping people find their personal power through movement and healthy life style choices.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2020

How to Compartmentalize Emotions for Mental Wellbeing

How to Compartmentalize Emotions for Mental Wellbeing

No matter who you are or where you’re from, your emotions can get the best of you.

This isn’t your fault, and you’re not alone, but this is a fact for nearly every person on the planet. Today’s fast-paced world has amplified everyone’s emotions without leaving enough time to handle them. Luckily, every human can compartmentalize emotions to get around this issue.

Emotions aren’t harmful in and of themselves, but issues arise when these unhandled emotions deter your focus, motivation, and productivity.

If you are unable to perform well in work, relationships, and life in general it’s time to learn some tricks to keep your emotions tamed for a healthy life!

Why You Should Compartmentalize Emotions

The mechanism that will help you keep your emotions organized in compartmentalization. Before you learn the dos and don’ts of the process, keep the final expected outcome in mind. When you know what you can achieve, you’ll be able to build a better path for yourself to reach your destination.

It goes without saying that compartmentalizing emotions will give you more time to manage other important tasks. You’ll be able to put your emotions in an orderly manner to be more peaceful and relaxed.[1]

Looking Deeper

If personal benefits and tranquility are not what you want, you should still compartmentalize emotions. It is vital for success in other parts of life, too.

Look at it this way:

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The world today is highly competitive. Why is that, you may wonder. The answer is simple. Everyone has the world at their fingertips. You can get information on any topic from any part of the world within seconds. This easily accessible knowledge has given everyone an equal opportunity to be educated and smart. So, even with all the knowledge that you have, you’ve become easily replaceable. There’s nothing unique about you or your skills because someone out there might always know more.

What puts you apart is your emotional intelligence in this world. How you manage your emotions helps you use your knowledge appropriately[2]. You could be the smartest mathematician in the world, but if you cannot control your rage due to unforeseen circumstances at the time when your mathematical skills are needed, you’re useless to everyone around you.

This also plays an important role in relationships. Your love and care can only be communicated if you can manage the emotions associated with these feelings.

When you compartmentalize emotions, it helps you keep distinct cognitive functions separate. Your feelings and emotions are connected, but feelings and emotions should be placed in separate places depending on the situation and function of the emotion.

Basically, you won’t be deprived of feeling your emotions. You’ll learn to control your emotions instead of being vulnerable to them. Since your emotions will not be a mess, you will act more rationally. Long story short, if you compartmentalize emotions, you minimize the risk of mental illnesses and overreactions.

How to Compartmentalize Emotions in a Healthy Way

To compartmentalize means to organize things in your mind so that they are easier to manage. In the case of emotions, this mechanism can quickly take an unhealthy turn if it’s not done the right way.

Emotions are sensitive, so if you mess up, you’ll do more harm than good. So here a few things to keep in mind to ensure a positive outcome.

1. Identify Your Emotions

A common yet unhealthy habit a lot of us have is to label our emotions without actually identifying them. Anything that makes you feel down is connected to depression or sadness. Anything that triggers your defense mode is anxiety.

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Start looking deeper. Stop using the terms that you know. Instead, feel what your emotions are communicating. Where are your relationship issues arising from? Is it somehow connected to your anger management? Is your childhood trauma affecting you?

Ask yourself the what, why, how, and who of everything you feel. This is the first step to categorize your emotions.

If you’re having trouble in this stage, which you most definitely will in the beginning, try some exercises to gain control over your emotions. Incorporate one little activity every day to slowly get the hang of this step.

2. Group Them Together

This step becomes a piece of cake if you’ve mastered step one.

Look for similarities and differences in your feelings. Be aware that whatever you feel is a result of your emotions. So, whichever emotions lead to similar feelings are usually connected.

While you’re connecting related emotions and feelings, group them together mentally. At the same time, anything that feels different or especially contradictory, group it separately. Opposing emotions should never be nearby.

You may be confused about how you can have opposing emotions. Look at an example of a mother-daughter relationship. A mother loves her daughter to death. But the daughter always has a habit or two that the mother despises. If the feelings of love are put together with what she feels towards these bad habits, she will neither be able to express her love properly nor will she be able to be strict against the bad habits.

3. Avoid False Negativity

When you’re struggling to build connections in your emotions, you can be misled by false negativity. It is usually prevalent in negative emotions.

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What happens is that you continue to relate events that aren’t even close. For example, one day you failed to finish your work on time. The next day you have a bad hair day. You connect it all to your bad time management. While that may be true for the first case, it isn’t necessarily relevant to the latter.

You have to be extremely mindful and focused to avoid false negatives. Mastering the identification of emotions will help you out here, too.

4. Maintain Boundaries

Some emotions will bother you more than the rest. While that is totally normal, what isn’t is if you just cannot shift your attention away from one compartment.

You have to maintain some limits and boundaries so that the other compartments aren’t left unattended. Overthinking one part of your emotions can give you false sadness or false happiness, neither of which is good for your mental state.

The Don’ts of Compartmentalizing Emotions

When you’re focused on doing things right, it is easy to get pulled into a toxic routine without realization. In this process, two specific mindsets can prevail. Do your best to keep them out of your routine.

1. Avoid Multitasking

This happens mostly when you’re just starting off with the process. Since there’s a lot to deal with in your head, your focus keeps wandering from one compartment to another. You’ll either want to go through different compartments at once, or your mind will be finding it hard to disconnect certain emotions from others.

All that you can do in this case is practice. Consciously identify when your mind is doing this. You can practice meditation to get better at maintaining your focus. As time goes on, you’ll get over this issue.

One of the main aims of compartmentalizing emotions is to increase your mindfulness. Force yourself to strictly keep all attention on one compartment unless you’ve fully dealt with it.

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2. Stay Away From Denial

While you’re avoiding multitasking, you may unintentionally keep avoiding a few compartments in particular. These are usually emotions that are very strong or hurtful.

Denial is only going to make it harder for you to deal with this part of your mind. You can keep the dark thoughts in a faraway corner in your mind so that you’re not constantly bothered. However, make sure to find the right time to confront these feelings.

If you ignore some emotions for a long period, they can lead to lifelong mental issues. For example, if something bad happened in your past, you will continuously avoid anything connected with it. But since you haven’t confronted these feelings, they will keep getting stronger and stronger. One day, this compartment will burst open and take over your mind. You’ll become a different person when you’re forcefully faced with these emotions.

To avoid a situation where you won’t know how to handle your thoughts, you should come face to face with them bravely, on your terms, and at the right time.

Conclusion

In the end, keep one thing in mind:

The way you deal with emotions is unique to you. So, there is no right or wrong way to compartmentalize them either.

With that being said, you must also stay cautious. There is a fine line in the process that will either encourage your social identity to grow or lead you to issues such as multiple personality disorder.

With the above tips and the final goal in mind, your brain will unconsciously lead you to the right path.

Let your brain get in the flow, give yourself a boost, and get ready to enjoy the benefits of compartmentalizing emotions!

More Tips on Handling Emotions

Featured photo credit: Juli Kosolapova via unsplash.com

Reference

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