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Mental strength or mental toughness means that you are able to manage and regulate your emotions and behaviors. In turn allowing you to overcome doubt, fear, failure, concerns, and circumstances which could prevent you from succeeding or finding happiness.
Mental strength is important because it allows us to continue when things get tough. It allows us to accept what is, move on quickly, and be content. It’s also a building block for self-discipline.
I definitely believe mental strength is key to success. People at the top (whether that be financially, physically, in business, etc.) all went through failures, stress, fatigue, and other life battles.
The difference between those who make it and those who tried but gave up? Mental strength.
You can build your mental strength by being mindful, being aware, thinking positively, and practicing good habits.
Here are a few suggestions to build your mental strength:
Bite your tongue
In the past, if someone made me angry I would typically respond back with hostility and negative energy. That energy would often stay with me for awhile as I went about my day.
Now I try my best to respond neutrally or with silence. When you do this, you also prevent yourself from saying anything you may regret.
The more you practice biting your tongue (or not hitting your car horn) the less people have control over you.
It’s actually quite satisfying when people honk at you aggressively for whatever reason while you sit there without a care.
Work through your struggles
Life will inevitably throw you curve balls…big or small we all struggle. Sometimes it’s easier to try to avoid or mask the emotions that come with them.
On the other hand, some people handle difficulties by reacting quickly.
For example, someone may yell at their significant other when a disagreement comes up. One might go spend hundreds on “retail therapy” after they got laid off. Or someone may drink the night away after a bad day.
None of these help to resolve the situation or make you mentally strong.
Instead, evaluate and work through all of your hardships. Calmly speak to your significant other, make a plan and choose to be responsible, practice yoga or meditation to work through stress.
When you face and overcome hardships, you can look back and know you pushed through it, you survived, and you did so with dignity and grace.
By handling your problems in this manner, you will realize that you can get through everything. They make you stronger and you can’t be broken!
Practice gratitude daily
Every morning or evening write down 3 things you are grateful for.
If you’re feeling negative, start writing down a gratitude list and feel yourself relieved of those emotions. Making a mindset shift to focus on the positives instead is incredibly powerful.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough and makes us more present.
If you’re looking for a good read on the topic, I highly suggest The Gratitude Diaries!
Push through discomfort
In other words, step out of your comfort zone.
To do this you have to look for a larger meaning.
Don’t feel like working out? Think about why you wanted to or should work out. Let that purpose push you to do what you don’t feel like doing.
If you don’t go workout, you’re losing the battle and weakening your self-discipline at the same time.
If you do go workout, you benefit from moving your body and YOU controlled the situation. You told your brain who’s boss and didn’t give in to an easier activity (watching tv for example).
It may not seem huge in the moment, but each time you don’t do something you said you would or should be doing, you’re worsening your bad habits.
This applies to many things.
Getting a big project done even though you’re afraid of failure.
Adding up all your debt even though it makes you anxious.
Tidying up your house even though you’re sleepy.
You’re going to feel uncomfortable, but getting past that makes you that much stronger.
Stop comparing yourself to others
You are YOU for a reason. Someone will always be better looking, richer, and happier…or at least appear that way. Make the most of what you have and who you are.
If you want to make a change, then do it. But do it for you and in your own way.
Focusing on others’ success will only hold you back.
This may mean you should step back from social media for a bit. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you focus solely on you and your life.
Celebrate the little things
Get excited about small wins in your life. If you take a step back and just observe, life is actually quite amazing.
It’s OK to feel proud and give yourself credit for all the tiny things you accomplish. People tend to look at how far they have left to go rather than looking at all they have already done.
Life is also way more fun when you get excited for those small things that bring you joy.
Let life be
Life is simple. Of course bad things happen that are really tough to go through, but we tend to overcomplicate every single thing.
If you can’t control something, let it be.
If something isn’t going according to plan, laugh about it and adjust what you need to.
All you can do is control how you think and react to everything in life.
Live your life how you want to
No matter what you do someone won’t be happy about it. Those people may be your family, your friends, or strangers on the internet, but at the end of the day this is YOUR life.
If you are happy, not hurting anyone, or causing any damage, then do you.
Learn to stand up for what you believe in and for yourself.
Mental strength takes time to build. However, the more your practice mental strength building exercises, the easier it gets.
There are a lot of ways to increase your mental strength, the important part is that you are aware of and can recognize the things you may say or do that decrease your mental toughness. Over time you will learn and develop the habit to manage your weaknesses!