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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

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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 September 18, 2020

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

Negative thinking can make us feel as though we are never truly good enough to change our lives. Whether we believe that we are not good looking enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, or something in between, we are always right.

We often tell ourselves the following:

“I’m not good enough to accomplish this.”

“They won’t like me. I’m too ugly to be around them.”

“I won’t ever be able to get out of this situation.”

How we see ourselves dictates how we lead our lives. This simple truth, while it is currently impacting your reality in a negative way, is actually good news. Why?

You can change your thinking, and when you can change your thoughts, you can change your reality.

Put simply, if you start to believe and feel like you are good-looking, intelligent, wealthy, or other things, you begin to see yourself in that light. If you tell yourself that you are capable of achieving greatness, you will eventually get there!

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That said, many find themselves wondering what to do when they get stuck in negative thinking. Are you tired of letting negative thinking run your life? Do you want to take control of how you feel and put yourself out there?

If you want to start writing your own narrative, let’s learn more about negative thought cycles and how you can change your own internal voice.

Where Do Negative Thoughts Come From?

You aren’t going to wake up one day and find that you are suffering from random negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are often a mix of ideas that we develop on our own, as well as ideas that we may have gotten from others.

For example, if you are constantly watching media where individuals are depicted as having thin bodies and perfect skin (and you do not have the same characteristics as those who are traditionally considered to be beautiful), you may come to the conclusion that you are not beautiful or deserving of love.

This is far from the truth, but your own take on how the world works can play into how you feel about yourself.

Equally harmful, the opinions of others can start to affect our self-perception. If several people tell you something negative about yourself, you may begin to take these opinions to heart, telling yourself the same things over time. This self-belief then becomes the model for how you live.

More often than not, the reality is that individuals who lack confidence and self-esteem are going to develop negative thought patterns.

This does not mean that confident people do not face internal crises of their own. After all, everyone is prone to experiencing a negative thought here and there. However, those who are self-aware and confident are able to bounce back from these thoughts and return to their truth.

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Those who do not think highly of themselves, on the other hand, are going to keep believing the negative thoughts that come into their mind. The issue? These negative thoughts turn into a repetitive cycle that becomes harder to break over time.

When you tell yourself something for months or years at a time, it can be difficult to transform that internal dialogue into something more positive and realistic. But is it possible? Absolutely!

The Importance of Quitting Negative Thinking

Beyond low-self esteem, there may be mental health-related causes behind your negative thought patterns, like depression. One of the major symptoms of depression is, you guessed it, negative thoughts. Depression can make us feel unworthy of love and life, even if we have everything we could wish for[1].

You may be struggling with anxiety disorders instead, which can paint uncertain visions of the future and leave you anticipating the worst long before the moment has arrived. Some people have anxiety about the present or will return to past moments where they felt as though they failed, which affects their feelings about who they are or who they will be[2].

Having mental health issues can make your situation more complex, but it is important to know that these types of health issues are highly treatable, especially with the assistance of a mental health professional. You are deserving of self-love, and getting help is the first, most important step of your journey!

How to Break the Cycle of Negative Thinking

In order to overcome your negative thought process, you are going to need two things: self-awareness and a willingness to love yourself. Once you are armed with these two tools, take a look below to learn more about how you can break free of the cycle of negative thinking.

1. Become Aware of the Thoughts That Are Affecting You

Negative thoughts are hard to catch because they have a tendency to become a part of who we are. These thoughts build our belief system and go unchallenged, even when they pop up daily.

All change begins with awareness. Whatever it is that you believe about yourself, take the time to pay attention to your own dialogue.

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What are you saying to yourself on a regular basis? How does it make you feel? Is any of it true?

 

When these thoughts are brought to your attention, you begin to notice just how often you are saying these things to yourself. Once you’ve cultivated awareness around these thoughts, you can begin to develop the change that you want.

2. Learn to Accept Them as They Come (and Move on)

A lot of people believe that you have to completely remove negative thinking patterns from your life in order to be happy. Not only is this not possible, but it’s also not true. You are going to experience negative thoughts regardless. It’s what you decide to do with these thoughts that matters.

Next time a negative thought comes into your mind, treat it like a passing car. Acknowledge it and let it pass you by. Don’t try to wave the driver over to you or continue thinking about once it has passed. Just let it go.

Giving power to your thoughts allows them to have control over you. You can’t stop a negative thought from entering your mind, but you always have the power to let it go!

3. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

Our own beliefs play on a loop, telling us certain things over and over again. While it’s important to let go, it is also important to get to the root of these issues and figure out where they are coming from.

Let’s imagine that you are telling yourself you are stupid throughout the day. If you notice this pattern, ask yourself: Does this have any basis in reality? Am I really stupid or am I telling myself this unnecessarily? Is there any evidence to support this[3]?

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Challenge negative thinking by asking questions.

    Challenging your negative thoughts will help you realize that they are highly-exaggerated and untrue. This gives you the opportunity to transform these negative thoughts into positive ones that resonate with you.

    4. Replace These Thoughts with Kinder, More Realistic Alternatives

    Anything that is broken must be replaced. The broken record playing on a loop within you can easily be changed to a tune that you can actually sing to.

    Whenever a negative thought comes up, take the time to stop yourself and think of something positive to put in its place. If you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” try telling yourself that you are more than capable instead.

    Keep in mind, however, that you need to tell yourself things that you truly believe. If you start telling yourself things that don’t resonate with you and encounter a situation that proves your belief wrong, you may do more harm than good!

    Bottom Line

    Changing the way you think is a rigorous but rewarding process that will change your outlook on life. If you find yourself struggling with negative thinking, learn more about where they come from and how you can stop them for good with the guide above!

    More on How to Stop Negative Thinking

    Featured photo credit: Max Ilienerwise via unsplash.com

    Reference

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