When life knocks you down and leaves you feeling battered and bruised, how do you help yourself get back into the game? The natural reaction is to spiral into panic and worry. Let’s face it, a knockdown can be emotionally and mentally exhausting.
I believe that the core difference between those who thrive through life, versus those who fall apart at the first sign of struggle, is their mental strength.
Mental strength refers to the resilience and strength that people possess to soldier through struggles and succeed. It is the secret sauce that allows you to push past exhaustion when everything in your body is telling you to quit. Learn how to tap into your own mental strength and move forward.
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The Importance of Advancing Your Mental Strength
Mentally strong people decide from day one that they will not allow their circumstances to define or destroy them. When something doesn’t go their way, they don’t curl up in a ball and give up.
Instead, they stand back up, wipe away their tears, and use the challenges as opportunities to prove to themselves and the world that they can overcome anything and everything.
I’ve got great news. Mental strength isn’t a superhuman trait. Instead, it’s something that you can develop and master through trial and error.
Take a moment and think back to a challenge that you had to overcome. What traits did you have to pull upon to get through that difficult time?
We don’t give ourselves enough credit for how far we’ve come and what it took for us to get where we are today. Let’s face it—life doesn’t always like your plans.
However, the tough times will make you a stronger and more resilient human being. The train wreck moments when my life felt as if it was falling apart proved to be signs that better things were actually falling back together.
Why Is Mental Strength Hard to Achieve?
Your mind is a powerful tool. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Here’s the kicker—we all have that voice inside of our heads, otherwise known as your inner critic.
Rather than empathize with you, this voice basks in the enjoyment of beating you down and trying to convince you that you are not the CEO of your life.
You aren’t strong enough.
You’re messed up.
You aren’t worthy of happiness.
Unfortunately, a lot of people allow this voice to dim their light and dictate every decision in their life. The bottom line is that your inner critic robs you of your mental strength. However, it’s important to not silence this voice without understanding where it comes from.
A lot of people fall into the trap of assuming that because they are thinking awful things about themselves, they must be true. Wrong.
In actuality, your inner critic is your inner child. Psychologists believe these voices are residues of childhood experiences. We become so used to living under these narratives that we don’t even notice or question them.
Ironically, your inner critic just wants to help you. Talk about mind games at their finest! I want to propose a different perspective. Instead of fighting with this critical voice, what would happen if you reframed the intention behind it?
Help yourself by transforming your inner critic into your inner coach.
Whereas a critic knocks you down, a coach challenges you to find solutions and gives you the confidence to face new obstacles with courage, grace, and determination.
For example, you could say out loud to yourself, “Critic, thanks for trying so hard to keep me safe, but it’s time for you to step aside now.”
The beauty of life is that, at any given moment, you have the power to rewrite your story and unleash the strength that has always been a part of you.
5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength
I want you to think of your mind as if it were a muscle. Just like you go to the gym and work at building your physical strength, you’ve got to commit to flexing your mental muscle as well.
At the end of the day, success is a mindset game. As Tony Robbins says,
“80 percent of success is due to psychology—mindset, beliefs, and emotions—and only 20 percent is due to strategy—the specific steps needed to accomplish a result.”
Let’s explore 5 ways that you can help yourself advance your mental strength.
1. Develop Unshakeable Confidence
Nobody is born with unshakeable confidence. Anybody that you’ve come across who possesses this trait has it because they have worked tirelessly to build it.
As Maxwell Maltz once said,
“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on.”
Mental strength is the thing that allows you to take the hit and bounce forward so that, even though you are bruised, you are not defeated.
Anyone can strengthen their confidence muscle. The question is, how do you practice being confident when you don’t feel like you have anything to be confident about?
Check out the video below to start developing some answers:
Being successful in life is all about developing and conditioning positive core beliefs every day. This is why I’m a big believer in the power of reciting positive affirmations.
You have to trust that you are better than your limiting beliefs. When in doubt, fake it until you feel it. Once you start believing that you are amazing and capable of achieving anything, you naturally start to embody that feeling.
Take a look at this guide if you’d like to boost your self-confidence: How to Be More Confident (the Definitive Step-By-Step Guide)
2. Take Responsibility for Your Life
When it feels like the world is caving in on you, it’s easy to blame the world for your problems. However, adopting this mindset only serves to disempower you.
If you constantly say, “Bad things always happen to me,” life will constantly feel like a struggle. The Universe listens, so be careful of the words that you speak.
You cannot wait for someone to come along and make your life better. This is important if really want to help yourself. You have the power to take responsibility for your life.
No dream or goal is going to save you. The sooner that you accept and start living that truth, the sooner that you step into your power.
3. Reframe Setbacks as Signposts for Growth
Setbacks aren’t fatal or permanent. In actuality, there are times when getting knocked down by life is very much needed.
Sometimes you’ve got to hit your emotional threshold or rock bottom before you are finally ready to change your life. If you feel like you are at the bottom now, the good news is that you can’t go any lower. The only way is up!
I believe that hitting rock bottom can be a catalyst for personal transformation and the foundation upon which anyone can rebuild their lives.
I like to think of setbacks as signposts that exist to shake me awake. Whenever I feel stuck, I’ve either been getting too comfortable in my environment or haven’t been listening to my intuition.
Setbacks offer great opportunities to redirect and refocus your life, but it’s up to you to see them that way. I encourage you to reframe your challenges as opportunities for growth.
The next time that nothing seems to be going your way, step back and ask yourself what the challenge is teaching you. This will help you prioritize your emotional health.
Every problem has an advantage. When you learn how to embrace your challenges, you are better able to look every future challenge dead in the eye and give it a wink.
4. Master Your Emotions
When things fall apart, how do you react? Do you panic and lose control, or do you sit back, assess the situation, and take action?
You can’t always control how you feel. The only thing that you can control is how you respond to your feelings.
You may be able to influence a certain outcome, but everything else is out of your hands. If you don’t master your emotions, they will end up mastering you, and that will make it very difficult to help yourself.
Psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett suggests in her book, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, that emotions do not happen to us without our volition. Rather, we construct our emotions by making predictions using our past experiences.
This line of thinking supports the belief that you are the creator of your own reality. This means that you are—and will always be—in control of your life and your emotions.
The best way to have more control over your emotional responses is to move throughout your days more mindfully. This comes down to being present and more aware of yourself, your experiences, and how you participate with them.
The next time that you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a deep breath and calm your emotional center. Give yourself time and space to choose how you will respond.
You can learn more about practicing mindfulness here: Meditation Can Change Your Life: The Power of Mindfulness.
5. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
I believe that comfort is the enemy of progress. Your comfort zone is a safe place to hang out, but nothing ever grows there.
New research from Yale University shows that uncertainty sends a signal to the brain to kickstart the learning process. This means that those unstable situations that make you feel uncomfortable are critical to your ability to grow and succeed.
Do you think that some of the most successful people in this world got to where they are today by sipping apple martinis and sitting on a beach? Absolutely not.
They worked tirelessly and risked a lot to turn their dreams into reality. In short, they took massive action, despite their fears. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I challenge you to do one thing every day that stretches your mental muscle. That is how you become the driver of your destiny.
Are you still wondering how to step out of your comfort zone? I strongly recommend you read this article.
Starting today, help yourself become mentally stronger.
Your mental strength is bigger than any obstacle or adversity. You can either choose to stay on the ground and play the victim, or you can rise up and transform your pain into possibility.
Are you ready to show life who’s boss?
More About Mental Strength
- Why Negative Emotions Aren’t That Bad (And How to Handle Them)
- What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important
- 17 Ways for Building Resilience and Staying Tough
Featured photo credit: Jonas Verstuyft via unsplash.com
|||^||Very Well Fit: How To Cultivate Mental Toughness|
|||^||TED: How to stand up to your inner critic|
|||^||Psychology Today: When The Voice Inside Your Head Turns Bad|
|||^||Yale University: Aren’t Sure? Brain Is Primed For Learning|
|||^||Medium: Oh ..it, you are entering the Comfort Zone|