Featured Image: Demetrius Washington
Article By: April P.
Amy Morin’s groundbreaking book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, started a conversation about what it means to have mental strength and how that mental strength paves a path to success. Instead of focusing broadly on all people and looking at it from a “what not to do” perspective, let’s dive into what habits cultivate mental strength, specifically in women.
Mental strength isn’t tied to a particular personality or innate nature. Instead, anyone can build mental strength with the right frame of mind and habits. If you’re looking to incorporate more resilience, emotional fortitude and positive conflict resolution into your life, these habits are for you.
#1. They Embrace Change
Change is inevitable, and fighting against change is futile. Don’t be the person at work who constantly puts up a fight whenever a change occurs. Instead, embrace change. Look for the positive benefits of the transition and work with your peers for smooth implementation. When this habit is practiced professional, it becomes second nature to embrace change in other areas of your life. This habit is key to positive thinking that will benefit mental strength.
#2. They Are Optimist
While some people tend toward optimism or pessimism, these are not locked in personality traits.2 With practice and mental discipline; you can create a habit of optimism. Optimism is when we approach the future with hope and confidence for a successful outcome. Mental strength is built when we believe that success is possible and even likely based on our contribution. This belief that our internal drive is as impactful as external factors to our success.
#3. They Think Rationally
To be rational means to use reason and logic in your thought processes. Rational people don’t let emotions drive their reactions. Instead, they take the time to apply logic and reason before they react. The discipline to reason requires mental strength, and practicing rational thinking also develops mental strength. We can’t be mentally strong if we refuse to apply logic to our lives and situations.
#4. They Posses Emotional Control
In line with rational thinking is the ability to possess emotional control. Do you fly off the handle when you’re angry? Do you break down in tears during a conflict? These are signs of poor emotional control. Start by not reacting right away. Once you take the time to pause, you can respond in an emotionally controlled way. This act is a sign of mental strength that can be honed over time with practice.
#5. They Avoid Drama
Here’s the truth, some people thrive in drama. It’s entertaining and can feel falsely empowering. However, social drama is for the weak. Mature people avoid drama and refuse to participate when it does arise. The way you do this is to take responsibility for your actions. In fact, mental strength is being able to remove yourself from the drama with emotional control and rational thinking. Instead, deal with conflict one-on-one and never gossip.
#6. They Practice Boundary Setting
Do you find yourself saying yes to things you don’t want to do? Are you then resentful? If so, you likely don’t practice good boundaries. It’s okay to say no, and even good for your health. You cannot be successful if you don’t leave any margin in your life to pursue healthy habits and goals. While people may feel disappointed, you will not damage a healthy relationship by setting boundaries and saying no. Solid boundaries build not only mental strength but better relationships.
#7. They Have Good Time Management
Habitual tardiness is rude. When you are constantly late, it’s a sign that you don’t respect another person’s time. In addition, if you don’t have good time management, you can’t get things done. You end up feeling overwhelmed and busy but don’t actually accomplish your to-do list. While it can give an adrenaline rush to always feel like you’re up against a deadline, this isn’t a healthy habit. Mentally strong people manage their time well so that they don’t waste energy constantly rushing. Good time management allows you to understand what you can accomplish and gives you the space to do a good job and meet your goals.
#8. They Exercise Every Day
Mental strength is required for top athletes. However, regular physical exercise can also help build mental strength. When we push our bodies to be strong, we build mental resilience. Also, when our bodies are unhealthy or stagnate, our minds are impacted. Enhance your mental strength with regular exercise. Exercise improves moods, reduces stress and increase self-esteem, all of which aid in mental strength.5
#9. They Face Their Problems Head On
Procrastination is considered a gap between intention and action. In other words, when we know action is required but fail to take it, we are procrastinating. This often occurs when we aren’t sure how to solve a problem or don’t want to face the conflict involved in problem-solving. One habit of building our mental strength is to learn to solve problems. Create a habit of listing out the issues that need your attention and thinking through them rationally in order to come to the best course of action. We free up mental space and build mental strength and empowerment when we effectively solve problems.
#10. They Eat Well
A poor diet is unhealthy for your brain. You can’t have mental strength if your brain isn’t well fed. A diet high in processed foods and sugar leads to lower brain function. In order to build mental strength, your body must have the fuel it needs to function well. Before you start diving into books on how to build mental strength. First, start with good basic habits like a healthy diet. Feed your body the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to stabilize your mood and increase brain function.
#11. They Form Healthy Connections
In positive and healthy relationships, people support, encourage and help each other. People with quality social connections are positively impacted in many ways, including lower stress, longer lives and healthier behaviors.7 All of the benefits of quality relationships also support mental strength. You cannot build mental strength in a vacuum. It is only when we are connected in positive ways to others that we can be our optimum selves.
#12. They Bounce Back
Resilience is the ability to recover from difficulties. In other words, when life throws you a curve ball, you’re able to keep swinging. When you’re intentional about resilience, mental strength will result. The two go hand-in-hand. To be resilient, you must first incorporate the other eleven habits into your life. The key with resilience is to have an attitude to keep going and not give up.
Mental strength leads to many positive outcomes. It helps you to manage stress, overcome obstacles and find success in your daily life and career. For women, mental strength benefits all aspects of your life. Mentally strong women are physically healthier, have better quality relationships, make better career decisions and enjoy life more fully. Incorporate the habits that build mental strength to live your best life.
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