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9 Secrets Mentally Strong People Live By

9 Secrets Mentally Strong People Live By

What does it mean to be mentally strong?

Well, what it doesn’t mean is that you never struggle with issues like anxiety and depression. We all have to work with these states to some degree at one time or another. The person completely free of them is as rare as an honest politician.

You don’t have to be an enlightened master meditating in a Himalayan cave 24/7 to achieve your own version of mental strength though. With some practice and an intention toward awareness, you can thrive or even soar when life gets challenging.

There are many ways to become mentally strong. Listed below are nine pointers that anyone can incorporate into their lives. And though they may sound like the clichéd utterances of a bleary-eyed new-ager, there is some solid wisdom here.

1. Love yourself first, above everything else.

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    You might feel a weirdness in your chest at the notion of self love. Don’t worry. A lot of people do. But the fact is, it’s tough to love others if you don’t love yourself.

    Consider the oxygen mask on the airplane metaphor. Selfish as it may feel, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first in order to help others.

    2. Learn to be both soft and strong.

    The ability to see the world in shades beyond black and white is part of being mentally strong.

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    Many ascribe weakness to things that are soft, and power to things that are strong. But that’s black and white thinking.

    It is not only possible, but necessary to be both soft and strong to maintain balance and mental strength. For example, in one moment a mother elephant will gently rub her trunk against her calf as it nurses, and in another she’s fierce and ready to trample any animal that threatens her baby.

    Another less esoteric example? Toilet paper.

    3. Keep going, even when things get tough.

    Giving up is the belief that you don’t have what it takes and cannot endure. It is riddled with self-doubt and hopelessness.

    The mentally strong hold on to hope. They know that nothing is permanent and understand that with challenge comes growth.

    Yet with that being said…

    4. Know when to let go and do so bravely.

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      There’s a huge difference between giving up and surrendering. Giving up is a loss of belief and hope. Surrendering carries with it the knowledge of a healthy threshold, and not surpassing that.

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      Because it’s so often associated with giving up, surrendering can be one of the toughest obstacles to overcome. Especially if you’re a control freak. But it’s also one of the most freeing.

      5. Fake it till you make it.

      “Your beliefs become your thoughts,

      Your thoughts become your words,

      Your words become your actions,

      Your actions become your habits,

      Your habits become your values,

      Your values become your destiny.”

      -Mahatma Gandhi

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      ‘Nuf said.

      6. Never settle when something isn’t good enough.

      Seriously.

      Unless, of course, you feel some affection toward being undervalued and enjoy the deep resentment that grows over time like a tumor. You’re allowed.

      That’s just not the way of the mentally strong.

      7. Say no without hesitation.

      If your gut intuition is telling you that something isn’t right, then it isn’t right. Those who are mentally strong know they have the option to reject anything that isn’t right for them.

      They are acutely aware that “no” is not a four-letter word.

      8. Eliminate toxic people from your life.

      Of course, this is easier said than done. Especially if one of the toxic people is currently camping on your couch.

      But it can be done.

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      Toxic people will stay in your life as long as you continue to give them what they want. It may start with your money, your companionship, your car. But eventually it will become your time, your attention and ultimately your energy.

      That’s a heavy toll on your mental state and you don’t need it.

      9. Praise yourself rather than waiting for other’s approval.

      By praise I’m not implying adopting a god(dess) complex.

      But appreciating oneself for achievements or positive actions is part of a mentally strong regimen. In other words, it’s healthy.

      This is quite different from using self-flagellation and -degradation to draw positive comments on the contrary. That would be less healthy.

      So try this.

      Rather than attempt to tackle all of these suggestions, simply think of them as single steps toward becoming mentally strong. Consider them baby steps. Use one or several as mantras. Take them in any order you want.

      And remember that you’re building a foundation toward becoming more mentally strong.

      Take the necessary time and care to make it solid and it’ll definitely pay off.

      What do you do to stay mentally strong? Share your stories.

      Featured photo credit: Eyes by Dboybaker via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

      13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

      13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

      For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

      “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

      “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

      Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

      You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

      Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

      1. Take a step back and evaluate

      When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

      1. What is the problem?
      2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
      3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
      4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
      5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

      Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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      2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

      If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

      At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

      Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

      3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

      Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

      4. Process your thoughts/emotions

      Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

      1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
      2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
      3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
      4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

      5. Acknowledge your thoughts

      Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

      By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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      Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

      6. Give yourself a break

      If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

      7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

      A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

      Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

      After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

      8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

      As Helen Keller once said,

      “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

      Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

      9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

      In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

      1. What’s the situation?
      2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
      3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
      4. Take action on your next steps!

      After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

      10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

      A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

      Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

      For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

      11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

      No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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      12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

      No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

      13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

      There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

      After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

      Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

      Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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