Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 8, 2020

5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength

5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength

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[1]. 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.

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.

Advertising

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[2].

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[3].

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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[4]. This means that those unstable situations that make you feel uncomfortable are critical to your ability to grow and succeed[5].

Help yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone.

    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.

    Final Thoughts

    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

    Featured photo credit: Jonas Verstuyft via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Ashley Elizabeth

    Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

    What Motivates You to Succeed in Life and Keep Moving Forward? The Effects of Stress on Your Body And Mind (You Never Knew) How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide) what is grit What Is Grit and How to Develop It for a Successful Life How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

    Trending in Mental Strength

    1 The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Critical (And How to Strike a Balance) 2 What Is the Meaning of Life? A Guide to Living With Meaning 3 How to Stop Being a Perfectionist (Step-by-Step Guide) 4 5 Reasons to Follow Your Heart to Live the Life You Want 5 How to Change Your Self-Perception and Untap Your Hidden Potential

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 22, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Critical (And How to Strike a Balance)

    The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Critical (And How to Strike a Balance)

    It is easy to hear the term “self-critical” and be immediately put off. After all, it’s difficult to be our own critics. However, utilizing self-criticism means taking a more self-aware path to ensure that you aren’t overlooking any possible areas of self-improvement.

    Self-criticism affects your self-esteem and can be a useful tool to identify patterns of weakness that you can look to eradicate by adapting your behavior.

    Self-Criticism Vs Self-Deprecation

    In exploring the idea of self-criticism, one has to first consider what it means for the individual. It’s important to remember that there is a significant difference between being self-critical and being self-deprecating.

    Self-deprecation is the act of putting oneself down, sometimes in an attempt to be humorous, but oftentimes out of a place of doubt and insecurity[1].

    Self-deprecation erodes one’s confidence. It isn’t something to use lightly, as your own self-talk will play a part in defining your existence and how you are perceived, and, more importantly, in how you perceive yourself.

    At the same time, you can’t take yourself so seriously that you are unable to make light of your mistakes as you pursue self-improvement. There is, of course, a balance to be struck, and both self-criticism and self-deprecation can be utilized in moderation.

    Learning the difference between the two is the key to pursuing a productive life that will allow your successes to compound and your failures to be reduced. While self-deprecation can highlight flaws in your approach to life, self-criticism is more concerned with addressing those flaws and then acting to correct them.

    Advertising

    Self-Criticism: A Roadmap for Positive Change

    Self-evaluation as a tool can open your eyes to the problematic behaviors that are derailing your goals. By identifying those behaviors, you can identify the steps to become the best version of yourself.

    “Your thoughts affect how you feel and how you behave. The way you think has the power to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” -Amy Morin[2]

    This idea underlines the importance of not allowing self-criticism to blur into the realm of self-deprecating behavior. That will only work against you as you are attempting to constructively analyze your own behavior.

    Auditing is necessary and good. Look at industries across the board and you will find that the most successful companies, people, and products have worked hard to refine their final output. Auditing your life, schedule, clients, contacts, and more will help you to identify the good from the bad.

    If you don’t look back on what you’ve done and allow yourself to be self-critical of the areas that created more problems and less results, how will you learn how to avoid those missteps in your future endeavors?

    Auditing with critical thoughts will allow you to build your own map to success by targeting behaviors that are ineffective in your pursuit of goals, and it will help you realize the changes that need to take place in order to correct for those inefficiencies.

    The Pros of Being Self-Critical

    Self-Criticism Opens Your Eyes to Areas of Improvement

    In life, you ought to be your biggest fan and instill the confidence in yourself to show the world that you are worthy of the life that you’ve achieved up until now.

    Advertising

    At the same time, however, you need to have the self-awareness to understand that you can feel like a million bucks while still having room for improvement. Learn to be self-critical enough to increase your overall success in the pursuit of your goals.

    You can check out this TED Talk with Tasha Eurich to learn more on how to improve your self-awareness:

    We all need to look in the mirror at times and work to identify the deficiencies in our own behavior in order to find room for improvement. So many people live their lives in a manner that allows no room for self-reflection and thus are missing out on key opportunities.

    For example, many people complain about not having the money to save for retirement, but instead of working to identify a solution, they assume that it cannot be fixed. Some of those individuals might find that if they challenge themselves and open themselves up to criticism, they may find the source of their problem.

    Perhaps they don’t have a proper budget in place and are spending more money than they bring in on a week-to-week basis. Being self-critical would help them realize this.

    I’d argue that if we all spent more energy evaluating our place in life, how we got there, and where we want to go, it would clear up what is missing from the equation.

    Self-Criticism Allows You to Realize Your Potential

    By working to analyze your own behaviors and identify areas that need to be improved upon, you will be able to better strive to reach your full potential in life and unlock success.

    Advertising

    Being self-critical will help you to go from where you are now to where you want to be, and it will increase your self-awareness. There are so many positives to be gained by adopting a self-critical attitude.

    Read more about self-improvement: 42 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself

    The Cons of Being Self-Critical

    Self-Criticism Can Overemphasize Negatives

    The problems that could arise if one is overly self-critical are not always clear, but there are a few issues that can pop up if you start being too hard on yourself.

    If you are self-critical too often and don’t allow space in your own audit of yourself for praise, celebration, and reassurance in your victories, then you may be on a path of negative self-talk and perhaps even depression.

    If you are constantly looking for what is wrong with your actions or pursuits while failing to see what you are doing right, then you aren’t utilizing self-criticism properly. While the line is thin, there is definitely a difference between appropriate, foundation-building self-criticism, and over-zealous, confidence-eroding self-deprecation.

    Self-Criticism Can Lead to Negative Distortions of Yourself

    One struggle I often see in individuals is with their own perception of self. If you have been raised to believe that you are a failure, for example, then you may not have a healthy expectation of yourself.

    By being overly self-critical, you might be distorting your own self-image. The key here lies in utilizing the device of self-criticism correctly, which many people often do not do.

    Advertising

    If utilized properly, self-criticism can be a fantastic tool, but if used incorrectly, it can have devastating effects on your own self-worth and confidence.

    Final Thoughts

    When used properly, self-criticism can be a tool for success.

    We must work hard to ensure that we are in fact exercising a constructive analysis of our own behavior and not falling into self-deprecation.

    Unfortunately, it seems as though many view the idea of being self-critical with a negative connotation. However, it can be an extremely positive and fruitful exercise if pursued with the right mindset.

    It helps tremendously when you have a community of friends and family who also help to uplift you and encourage you as you are pursuing your dreams in life.

    In evaluating your own situation and in attempting to constructively self-criticize, you should also take a look at the people you surround yourself with to try and better understand if those individuals are helping you in your aspirations or if they are holding you back as you work to better yourself.

    “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn[3]

    If you work to adopt a healthy version of self-criticism and avoid allowing it to delve into self-deprecation or self-doubt, then it will serve you well as a tool to lend support to your goals and aspirations.

    More Tips About Building Self-Esteem

    Featured photo credit: Elijah O’Donnell via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next