13 Ways to be Mentally Strong (with some planning)

While I have posted this a very long time ago, I think it bears repeating because whether or not we admit it, being forced to stay within four walls and being forced to not be able to visit physically with family or friends can take its toll upon our psyches, and we can get depressed. But we can remind ourselves as to why we cannot allow that to be true. So here is the famous 13 ways to NOT allow it. If any letters in RED, those are my additions, NOT published with this article by Ms. Morin.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Avoid the pitfalls that will hold you back from reaching your full potential

Published on January 12, 2015 by Amy Morin in

 What Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

            We often hear advice like, “Think positive, and good things will happen,” or “Try your hardest, and eventually things will work out.” While such words of wisdom certainly have merit, these well-meaning suggestions won’t help you reach your goals if you’re simultaneously engaging in unhealthy behavior. Recognizing and replacing the unhealthy thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that may be sabotaging your best efforts is the key to building mental strength.

            Try comparing mental strength to physical strength. While a bodybuilder maintains his physique with good habits, like going to the gym, it’s equally important for that bodybuilder to get rid of unhealthy habits, like eating junk food. An exercise regimen won’t be effective in building lean muscle unless unhealthy eating habits are also eliminated. 

it is imperative that you exchange the bad habits for the good, otherwise you will surely go back to the bad habits.

            Similarly, building mental muscle requires hard work, dedication and exercise. In addition to adopting healthy habits, avoiding detrimental habits—like negative thoughts, unproductive behavior, and self-destructive emotions—is also essential.

            Whether you’re working on becoming a more patient parent or you’re striving to become an elite athlete, (or you are stuck in the house with this Coronavirus edict) building mental strength will help you reach your goals. Learn to identify the common pitfalls that you’re prone to and practice exercises that will help you become your best self. 

Here are the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do:

  1. They Don’t: Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Many of life’s problems and sorrows are inevitable, but feeling sorry for yourself is a choice. Whether you’re struggling to pay your bills or you’re dealing with unexplained health problems, indulging in self-pity won’t fix your problems. If you’re prone to feeling sorry for yourself when the going gets rough, train your brain to exchange self-pity for gratitude. Mentally strong people don’t waste their time and energy thinking about the problem, instead they focus on creating a solution.

I suggest whenever you begin looking at the negative, sit down and ADD TO your made list of things you are grateful for. 

  1. They Don’t: Give Away Their Power

It can be very tempting to blame other people for our problems and circumstances. Thinking things like, “My mother-in-law makes me feel bad about myself,” gives others power over us. Take back your power by accepting full responsibility for how you think, feel, and behave. Empowering yourself is an essential component to building mental strength and creating the kind of life you want to live.

This does not mean to break the law about staying in until we are told we are free to roam, but stop blaming the government, China, Trump, etc., and just take responsibility for your mental health AT HOME.

  1. They Don’t: Shy Away From Change

Although we feel safest when we stay within our comfort zones, avoiding new challenges serves as the biggest obstacle to living a full and rich life. Learning to recognize when you avoid change because of the discomfort involved in doing something new could be the first step in a long journey toward improving your life. The more you practice tolerating the uncomfortable feelings associated with change—whether it involves taking on a new job or leaving an unhealthy relationship, or living under new circumstances about home life, work, food and  pandemics—the more confident you’ll become in your ability to create your future.

  1. They Don’t: Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

So often, we worry about all the wrong things. Rather than focus on preparing for the storm, we waste energy wishing the storm wouldn’t come. If we invested that same energy into the things we do have control over, we’d be much better prepared for whatever life throws our way. Pay attention to the times when you’re tempted to worry about something you can’t control—like the choices other people make or how your competitor behaves—and devote that energy into something more productive.

We are already in this Coronavirus pandemic; think of ways to minimize discomfort and plan for future ways to be more responsible for you and your family’s safety measures.

  1. They Don’t: Worry About Pleasing Others

A lot of people say, “I don’t care what other people think,” but often that’s a defense mechanism meant to shield them from the hurt and pain associated with rejection. People-pleasers come in all forms. Sometimes you can spot one a mile away and at other times, their fear of angering others is deeply rooted. Doing and saying things that may not be met with favor takes courage, but living a truly authentic life requires you to live according to your values, even when your choices aren’t popular.

Here is where you must assess your moral and ethical values. They may not be trendy or go along with the masses, but if they are wholesome and make you stand straight, keep them healthy.

 

  1. They Don’t: Fear Taking Calculated Risks

We make dozens—if not hundreds—of choices every day with very little consideration of the risks we’re taking. Whether we choose to wear a helmet on a bike ride, or we decide to take out a loan, we often base our choices on our emotions, not the true level of risk. Making decisions based on your level of fear isn’t an accurate way to calculate risk. Emotions are often irrational and unreliable. You don’t get to be extraordinary without taking risks, and learning how to accurately calculate risk will ensure you’re making the best choices.

I listened to Warren Buffet yesterday. They were old videos, but the point was well taken that everything he did in his life, he first took careful thought and planning. Sit down and write out (before you act) how the outcome will benefit, or not, and write out all the options and alternatives. THEN, make your move.

  1. They Don’t: Dwell on the Past

While reflecting on the past and learning from it is a helpful part of building mental strength, ruminating can be harmful. Making peace with the past so you can live for the present and plan for the future can be hard, especially if you’ve endured a lot of misfortune, but it’s a necessary step in becoming your best self.

This is my hardest bad habit. I’ve lost a lot in the past: people, pets, physical possessions; I have to forgive myself or them or just say good-bye for now, send a spiritual kiss and move on. You do, too.

  1. They Don’t: Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

It’d be nice to learn enough from each mistake that we’d be guaranteed to never repeat that same mistake twice. But the reality is that we’re prone to repeat the same mistakes sometimes. Learning from your mistakes requires humility and a willingness to look for new strategies to become better. Mentally strong people don’t hide their mistakes or make excuses for them. Instead they turn their mistakes into opportunities for self-growth.

I’m guilty of this, too. I don’t get mad at myself though; I think about Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness… they circled the same area many times over until they learned their lesson. Let’s learn our lesson and find new strategies to improve.

  1. They Don’t: Resent Other People’s Success

Watching a co-worker receive a promotion or hearing a friend talk about her achievements can stir up feelings of envy. But resenting other people’s success will only interfere with your ability to reach your goals. When you’re secure in your own definition of success, you’ll stop envying other people for obtaining their goals and you’ll be committed to reaching your dreams.

Amen!

  1. They Don’t: Give Up After Failure

It’s normal to feel embarrassed, discouraged, and downright defeated when your first attempts don’t work. From a young age, we’re often taught that failure is bad, but it’s nearly impossible to succeed if you never fail. Mentally strong people view failure as proof that they’re pushing themselves to the limits in their efforts to reach their full potential.

  1. They Don’t: Fear Alone Time

In today’s fast paced world, obtaining a little quiet time often takes a concerted effort. Many people avoid silence and solitude because lack of activity feels uncomfortable. But time to yourself is an essential component to building mental strength. Mentally strong people create opportunities to be alone with [your] thoughts, reflect on [your] progress, and create goals for the future.

This Coronavirus pandemic should not be looked at as a curse, but turn it into a blessing. You have a lot of time to think over how you’ve lived physically and spiritually. It’s time to improve your existence. Don’t just survive but thrive, and I’m not talking about possessions here; I’m talking about your inner core, your spirit, your emotional and mental strength. Strengthen there and the rest will follow. This means get rid of negative habits and work on positive change.

  1. They Don’t: Feel the World Owes Them Anything

It’s easy to get caught up in feeling a sense of entitlement. But waiting for the world—or the people in it—to give you what you think you’re owed isn’t a helpful life strategy. If you’re busy trying to take what you think you deserve, you won’t have any time to focus on all that you have to give. And everyone has gifts that can be shared, regardless of whether they’ve gotten a “fair deal” in life.

I think of David Goggins here. Look him up.

  1. They Don’t: Expect Immediate Results

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything in life could happen at the touch of a button? We often grow so accustomed to our “no lines, no waiting” world, that our brains begin to believe that everything should happen instantaneously. But self-growth develops at more of a snail’s pace, rather than at lightning speed. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or develop a more gracious attitude, slow and steady wins the race and expecting immediate results will only lead to disappointment. Mentally strong people know that true change takes time and they’re willing to work hard to see results.

And right now, all we have is time.

The good news is, everyone has the ability to build mental strength. But to do so, you need to develop self-awareness about [your own] self-destructive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that prevent you from reaching your full potential. Once you recognize areas that need work, committing to mental strength exercises will help you create healthier habits and build mental muscle.

I started by purchasing audiobooks about changing my ways, and then I listen to them while walking.

Morin, Amy. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. New York: NY

Work on these 13 areas now, while you have the time. Change your thinking and you’ll change your life. I heard on the news that there will be a shortage of meat. Maybe it’s time to become a vegetarian or cut back on meats, perhaps. Maybe you can learn how to cook without meat, there are plenty of recipes for wholesome vegetarian meals. Create your own recipe booklet. That’s better and a positive action, rather than hoarding, which is a negative reaction.

Lydia Nolan, Editor

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