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Last Updated on March 2, 2021

20 Small Habits That Will Help You Become Mentally Strong

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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.

In addition to visualizing your goal, try to carefully plan for your way to achieving your goal. The Dreamers’ Guide To Taking Action And Reaching Your Goal can help you do this. It’s a free guide that can help you plan and align your everyday actions with your ultimate goal. Grab your free guide here.

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.

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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.

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

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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 2, 2021

10 Steps to Take If You’re Feeling Hopeless About Your Future

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10 Steps to Take If You’re Feeling Hopeless About Your Future

Whether you’re a mother who wants the best for her children, a hard worker waiting for your promotion, or someone dealing with a personal tragedy such as a job loss, divorce, or losing a loved one, when we are feeling hopeless, we all need to dig deep to make it through these challenges.

However, hope can only be accessed once we get out of our heads and quit over-rationalizing. We need to be truly convinced that better things are in store for us. Even if things may not seem to be going right in the present, we need to believe that there’s a bigger plan that we cannot yet see.

Why Do We Need Hope?

We need hope to help us get through the difficult phases of life and uplift our morale to give us the courage to deal with the concerns rationally.

Hope is a positive approach towards life that keeps our faith alive. When you are stuck in a grim situation whose outcome is beyond your control, the only thing that keeps you going is hope.

No matter how much we despise getting stuck in a helpless situation, almost everyone has to deal with such instances in their lives. The stress and anxiety are pretty high during such times, and one is left helpless at the mercy of the almighty’s will.

We need hope because it helps us remember that there is still a possibility of a better future or outcome. For some, it proves to be a source of inspiration, while for others, it is the only possible option that they can rely on.

Having hope helps reduce stress and overcome restlessness to focus on the possible options resulting in the desired outcome. Even when you are left with no options, hope lets us believe that “miracles do happen” and thus maintains a positive attitude for a better consequence.

What Are the Symptoms of Hopelessness?

When someone is feeling stuck in a situation or where the outcome of an event is not in their control, they might show signs of hopelessness. Such people often feel as if they are stuck in a deep dark hole from where it is almost impossible to climb out. This leads them to display certain signs or form unusual habits.

Here are some of the common symptoms of hopelessness:

  • People with a sense of hopelessness will lose interest in regular life activities that they had no problem dealing with before. Finding it difficult to leave the bed, skipping meals, not taking baths regularly, etc., are common symptoms of hopelessness.
  • Isolation is another common symptom of hopelessness. People feeling hopeless tend to disconnect themselves from their regular acquaintances of friends or family.
  • Hopeless people feel powerless. They tend to show signs of having no control over any other activities of their lives.
  • Other common symptoms of hopelessness are substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, etc.), overeating, consuming unhealthy meals, and oversleeping.
  • In some extreme cases, people showcase suicidal tendencies.

10 Steps to Take When You’re Feeling Hopeless

These 10 steps will inspire you and give you the boost of hope that you need to keep going when you’re feeling hopeless about the future.

1. Take a Step Back

If you’re overwhelmed by your emotions, and if the feelings of insecurity are plaguing your mind, it’s a sign that you need to step back and engage in some serious self-care to regroup and honor your feelings.

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Go for a walk, speak with a friend, take a mini-vacation, listen to music, meditate, or journal. Do anything that helps you return to center and balance.

Acknowledge and reward yourself for each milestone you reach, no matter how small. Every step you take matters and will bring you closer to your dreams.

Focus on the now by taking conscious, deep breaths and appreciating all that’s in your present moment.

2. Revisit Your Vision and Goals

If you’ve hit a wall, it would be beneficial to revisit your goals and vision. Take note of the exact goals that you have laid out and remind yourself what inspired you to create them in the first place.

For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, was it because your doctor recommended it or because you want to get healthier?

The key is to set goals that you’re fired up about and that you’re willing to commit to. Your goals need to be connected to an overarching vision that will galvanize you to overcome any obstacle.

Create a vision board, or write a descriptive and vivid account of what you would like to achieve.

3. Manage Your Expectations

Another possible reason that you’re losing motivation and feeling hopeless is that your expectations are too high. Often, our biggest disappointments occur from having unrealistic expectations. “Unrealistic” doesn’t always mean that you can’t achieve your goals, but that you may need more time or resources to actualize them.

For example, when opening a new store, instead of hoping to make 10K, focus on breaking even and perfecting your system of operations. Set positive and specific goals that feel manageable, especially in the beginning stages. Setting healthy expectations that are easy to reach will encourage you to keep going.

4. Have a Contingency Plan

There’s always a chance that your plans won’t work out as you hoped they would. I know that it’s hard to accept failure as a possibility without getting dejected, especially if it’s important to you.However, I’ve always found that having an alternative plan keeps failure in perspective[1].

A plan B is like a safety net, there to catch you in case you lose your grip. In creating a contingency plan, it’s essential to assess what went wrong in your previous plan.

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What could you have done differently? What are the lessons from the experience that can equip you with the knowledge to get it right the next time around? Ask friends, mentors, and coaches for candid feedback to supplement your own insights.

Let a solid plan B comfort you in knowing that failure is not the end of the road but merely a bend that’s leading you somewhere else.

You can learn how to create a solid contingency plan here.

5. Find Sources of Positive Reinforcement

Hope is like a candle flame that can burn out without constant positive reinforcement. We need reminders to stimulate us with hope about the future. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to be inspired, such as acknowledging our small successes along the way and remembering the times when we were able to overcome obstacles.

You can also find inspiration in books, music, movies, affirmation, and other people’s stories. I also love being in the presence of young children who radiate optimism. Find your own unique sources of motivation that work for you and do your best to stay away from the black hole of social media.

6. Have a Strong Circle of Support

As social beings, we benefit tremendously from having support from a community of people that matter to us when we are feeling hopeless. Friends and family members are the primary lifeline for most of us, but we can also extend our network to include a trusted group of mentors, coaches, counselors, or a support group who are open to hearing our story and who believe in the vision that we have for our life.

Whenever we’re down and out, these are the people who can be a source of comfort and help us get back in the game.

7. Stay in Touch With Your Vision

It’s easier to feel hopeful when we’re guided by a strong vision for our future. That’s why it’s essential to clarify your vision and future plans.

Goal-setting, vision boards, and visualization are a couple of techniques that can give shape to our dreams. By committing to these practices, our vision will become more tangible and within our reach.

Touching base with our goals will make them feel real and give us a focal point towards which we can direct all of our energy.

8. Stay Well-Informed and Be Proactive

Without knowledge and action, hope is just psychological fluff. Hope should propel us to seek out more information about what we desire and take directed steps towards realizing it.

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Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and it gives us the capacity to make more mindful choices. It strengthens our belief that we have what it takes to influence outcomes and to consciously move forward.

9. Stay Focused on the Present Moment

Hope has a future orientation and can, therefore, direct our thoughts away from the present. It’s essential that you don’t spend too much time planning for the future as this can lead to feeling hopeless.

Even though we want things to get better, we have to make peace with where we are in our current lives. This quiet acceptance will give us inner peace and prevent us from becoming overly attached to future outcomes[2].

    The truth is that the present moment is all we’ll ever have, and we should make every effort to capture its beauty and essence as we go through it.

    10. Practice Gratitude

    Gratitude generates a feeling of warmth and abundance. Based on the Law of Attraction[3], the more appreciative that you are for all that you have, material or otherwise, the more you’re likely to attract good things to you and improve your mental health.

    The next time you’re feeling down about the future, take a deep breath and think of all the wonderful things and people around you. You’ll feel an instant shift in how you see your life when you see how many things in your life you can be grateful for.

    You can start spending time with a gratitude journal or think of a few things you’re thankful for on a daily basis.

    When To Seek Help?

    If you find yourself in a jam where you feel extremely hopeless and stuck in the vicious cycle of negativity, realize that it is time to seek help.

    Many even reach the extent where they contemplate taking extreme steps like suicide or hurting themselves. If you are going through any such situation, it would be wise to get help from a professional who can help you feel better.

    You can try talking to your close ones first if needed and then solicit their advice about whether you should take up professional help to get over it. If needed, you can take someone along to the sessions. You must seek immediate help if you find the situation getting worse day by day.

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    Professional treatment is found to be very effective in helping people to deal with hopelessness.

    How To Help Someone Who Feels Hopeless?

    There are more than a few ways to help someone feeling hopeless. You might want to help out a friend or a family who is in such a predicament. Obviously, you would want them to come out of this mental illness or state and help them get back to normal.

    You must always start by determining how deeply the person is affected by the situation and their signs of hopelessness. If it is a case of extreme hopelessness where they may contemplate suicide, you must involve the authorities to take immediate action without any delay. You should also advice diagnosis or treatment to the patient.

    However, many others going through hopelessness respond to a sympathetic conversation. Sometimes talking about the situation helps them feel better and maybe realize that they need to change their approach.

    Refrain from being too judgemental and offering unsolicited advice without knowing exactly how they feel. On many occasions, such people open up during the conversation and indicate how they would like to be helped.

    Letting them know that they do not have to deal with the situation alone is another great way to help them feel better. If you mean it, then tell them that you are in this together and will stick with them till the end to them get through it.

    If you feel that your words and advice are reaping no results, then maybe you should guide them to seek professional help or support groups. Some people just need a minor nudge into a proper direction to help them towards their journey to recovery from hopelessness.

    The Bottom Line

    The next time you feel hopeless while waiting for things to happen in your life, remember that life is ultimately about the journey and not the destination. Hold your dreams close to your heart, work steadily towards them, but don’t forget to look around you and appreciate the gift of being alive on this beautiful planet.

    More on How to Stop Feeling Hopeless

    Featured photo credit: Jurica Koletić via unsplash.com

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