I recently stumbled across a TED Talk video on youtube that kept me watching til the end. It was about how changing your habits can make you mentally strong, and help you to deal with situations better and have better mental health. And who doesn’t want that, right?!
Here’s the vid:
This talk by Amy Morin helps us realise that there are a few ways we can learn how to become mentally strong:
Realise that mental strength is just as important as physical strength
Just like you can get atrophy (weakening/less powerful) in your muscles; if you do not consciously continue to train your brain to practice good mental habits, your ability to deal with mentally demanding situations will be decreased. Practice these good habits daily to increase your mental strength.
Remove sources of negativity from your life
Find out where your negative thoughts come from and remove the source from our lives where possible. In this day and age, a simple scroll through our social media can be enough to make us feel unsuccessful or depressed. To combat this we can unfollow the content that is bringing us down and opt to follow more encouraging content that can lift us up.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself
Another source of negativity can be ourselves. When bad things happen, our default is to roll around in self-pity, and rely on others to get us out of this state. The key to not getting yourself into this downwards spiral is to not give in to self-pity in the first place. It will be hard to start off with as you need to replace current destructive habits with habits that keep you strong. What you can do when you feel self-pity around the corner; is to think about other people, rather than yourself. Think about how is the situation affecting them. Try not to evolve everything around yourself. By focussing on someone else, you switch the focus from yourself and away from your self-pity.
As time goes by, the feeling of self-pity at the back of your mind will go down, so that you will be able to tackle it with a stronger mind. It helps to put situations into context and not over-exaggerate the situation. When emotions are high, it can be easy to over-exaggerate; so what you can do, is temporarily remove yourself from the situation, so that your brain has a chance to calm down and come back to the situation with a clearer, more realistic view. In any case, even if you feel like you ‘deserve’ to feel sorry for yourself, it is important to realise that feeling sorry for yourself does not solve anything and it will not make you feel better. It will only waste precious time. So why do it?
Be responsible for your life, remove victim mentality
Realise that you are in control of your own destiny. No one can decide to hurt your feelings. No one can make you react in a certain way. No one else can help you get the success of your dreams. No one else can make you happy. You decide what will make you happy. No one else can help you to improve unless you are actually prepared to make changes to improve. You decide what is good enough. You decide what success means to you. You decide who you want to be in your life. You decide what you are capable of doing. You decide how you feel about a situation. Your life is up to you. You are the only one who can change your life. Of all the things in the world, your life is the one thing you will always have control over – you just need to realise it. Stop thinking people have any control over you or that they have the power to hurt you, because at the end of the day you are the only person who has the power to do that.
We are always being told to be grateful, but how many of us really are. We may say we are grateful for the things in our life, but do we really spend enough time thinking about our lives to realise how much we actually have to be happy about. There will always be someone worse off than yourself. So you will always have at least one thing that someone else doesn’t have in their life. Humans have a tendency to be insatiable, always wanting more. What we need to realise is that ‘more’ is not necessarily going to make us happy or a better person. We become better, more positive thinkers when we are truly grateful for what we have, no matter how little that may be.
The more often you change your situations, the better adapted your brain becomes with dealing with a variety of situations. By staying in one place, your mind can become complacent. Change is the only constant in the world, so if you can get used to dealing with change, you are going to develop much better mental strength.
Use your time and energy wisely
Stop using your precious time and energy to dwell on the past, think about things you have no control over or with people who bring you down. Stop spending time thinking about how well other people are doing, and use your time to improve yourself. Your time and energy is finite. How you choose to spend your time is one of the most important decision you will make each day. It will determine how your life goes and how happy you are. Remember that failures are only a waste of your time, if you do not learn from your mistakes and use them to improve.
Remove expectations, have an open mind
When we remove expectations from our lives, we remove the possibility of being disappointed, as there is no mark for what is considered a good or bad outcome. Expect nothing in return for what you do. See everything on top as a bonus.
Stop thinking that life is fair and treats them the way they deserve to be treated. Whilst you have the control over how you act in life, life itself is not something you have control over. Some people may get dealt a good life, and others will experience a life of tragedy. Some people have success fall onto their laps, whilst others may work hard their entire lives and have nothing to show for it. With this in mind, it is important to not give up on your dreams, but be mindful that you may not achieve what you set our to do. To keep you going, you need to have enough passion for your dreams to see you through your lifetime. You will (hopefully) have enough energy to keep you going on the road to achieve your dreams with the enjoyment you get whilst working hard on a project you are passionate about. And if you get there, it will be a massive bonus.
Hopefully I have managed to help some of you realise how to become mentally strong. I will certainly be practicing a few of those myself, as it is always good to practice personal development. Do you have any extra points to raise on the topic of mental strength, or have any tips on how to be mentally stronger? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Whether you think you can, or you can’t.. your right.
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