Mental toughness is the ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances. It is a measure of your resilience and confidence and it is more than just willpower; it requires hard work and commitment, establishing healthy habits and choosing to devote your time and energy to self-improvement. Mental toughness allows you to make decisions that others might not have the courage or wherewithal to undertake.
Although it’s easier to feel mentally strong when life seems simple, but true mental strength becomes most apparent during tragedy, setback or disappointment. But choosing to develop skills that increase your mental strength is the best way to prepare for life’s inevitable obstacles. It is wisdom to prepare before the challenge or test of life come knocking; so, here are few tips that can help you develop your mental strength.
- Embrace Change.
Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Your biggest fear should not be of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. Let the environment of change and uncertainty energize and strengthen you mentally and bring out their best in you because it forces you to be resourceful.
- Stop Worrying About Pleasing Others.
Are you a people pleaser? Or do you go out of your way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. You should strive to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but don’t be afraid to speak up. Mental strength helps you to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset, so learn to navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.
- Celebrate Other People’s Success.
It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mental strength helps you to develop this ability. Mentally strong people don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). Use other people’s success as a motivation to work hard for your own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.
- Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for yourself.
To become mentally strong, you can’t be feeling sorry for your circumstances or dwelling on the way you’ve been mistreated. Rather, learn to take responsibility for your actions and outcomes and understand that sometimes life is not fair. Mental strength will help you to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned.
- Enjoy Alone Time.
Learn to enjoy and even treasure the time you spend alone. Use your downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, don’t depend on others to shore up your happiness and moods. Determine to be happy with others, but also be happy being alone.
- Understand that the World Owes you nothing.
Learn to enter the world prepared to work and succeed on your merit at every stage of the game because in the current economy, everybody is gaining the realisation that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package or a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. So be prepared to fight for what you want and desire.
- Be prepared for the long haul.
Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. There is no quick fix or immediate results anywhere. Apply your energy and time in measured doses and celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. Dig deep for a “staying power” and understand that genuine changes takes time.
- Don’t Waste Energy on Things you Can’t Control.
Mentally strong people don’t complain about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognise that all these factors are generally beyond their control. Safe yourself sweat and heartache by recognising that the one thing you can always control is your own response and attitude.
- Don’t Dwell on the Past.
There is strength in acknowledging the past especially in the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. Instead invest majority of your energy in creating an optimal present and greater future.
- Take Calculated Risks.
Be willing to take calculated risks. Learn how to weigh risks and benefits thoroughly, and fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before taking any action. Look before you leap, count the cost before you set out. The more calculated risks that you take and come out successfully, the bolder and stronger you will become at spotting risks and taking even better calculated risks.
- Evaluate Your Core Beliefs
What are your Non-negotiable, Unalterable Terms (NUTs)? These are the beliefs about yourself, your life and the world in general that have been developed over time mostly from past experiences. Whether you’re aware of your core beliefs or not, they influence your thoughts, your behaviour and emotions. Negative core beliefs can be inaccurate and unproductive and if not checked can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Identify and evaluate your core beliefs and where necessary modify them purposefully and intentionally with hard work, it can change the entire course of your life.
- Practice Tolerating Discomfort
Some discomfort is often necessary for greater gain, and tolerating them will help make your vision a reality, one small step at a time. Being mentally strong doesn’t mean you don’t experience emotions rather, it helps you to become acutely aware of your emotions and make the best choice about how to respond. Mental strength is about accepting your feelings without being controlled by them.
It involves knowing when it makes sense to behave contrary to your emotions like stepping out of your comfort zone to challenge yourself. Tolerating uncomfortable emotions takes practice, but it becomes easier as your confidence grows.
- Expend Your Mental Energy Wisely
Ruminating about things you can’t control drains your mental energy. The more you think about negative problems that you can’t solve, the less energy you will have leftover for creative endeavours. Focus on what is only within your control, save your mental energy for productive tasks, such as solving problems or setting goals. When your thoughts aren’t productive, make a conscious effort to shift your mental energy to more helpful topics. The more you practice expending your mental energy wisely, the more it will grow and become a habit.
- 14. Reflect on Your Progress Daily
Create time to reflect on your progress toward developing mental strength by asking yourself what you’ve learned about your thoughts, emotions and behaviour at the end of each day. Consider what you hope to improve upon from today and accomplish tomorrow. Developing mental strength is a work in progress, there will be times when it seems more difficult than others, but by reflecting upon your progress daily, you can reinforce your ability to reach your definition of success while living according to your values.