How to build mental strength
You certainly don’t want to wait to build mental strength until the moment you need it. That would be like lifting weights right before you have to pick up a heavy box. A quick few exercises in the seconds before you need big muscles doesn’t really do the trick. Start building mental strength long before you need to be strong. Not only will it help you get through the hard times, but bigger mental muscles can also help you thrive during the good times too.
Fortunately, everyone has the ability to perform mental strength exercises. And no matter how strong you are already, there’s always room for improvement.
Mental muscles have to be built over time
I oftn hear statements from people saying things like, “I need to be mentally stronger so I can bounce back easily from offending events, disputes, attacks or simply stressful situations.” But what they’re looking for is resilience, not necessarily mental strength. Resilience can be defined as the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. And while mental strength can also be a key component to getting through tough times, it’s not something that should be reserved for hardship. Big mental muscles can help you when life is going well, also.en
So you might think of resilience as a defensive strategy; it helps you get back up after you’ve been pushed down. Mental strength is more like an offensive strategy. It might prevent you from getting knocked down in the first place.
Incorporate mental fitness into your life
Similar to the way you might go to the gym to work out your body, it’s important to invest time into working out your mind. As your mental muscles grow, you’ll learn to challenge yourself in ways that will help you reach your greatest potential. And when you’re stronger, you’ll be more resilient as you’ll be confident in your ability to bounce back from whatever hardships you encounter along the way.
If you want to specifically build your mental strength, I recommend exercises like writing in a gratitude journal. Self-monitor your maladaptive thoughts, images, feelings and behaviors in order to facilitate a positive attitude. Wasting brain power ruminating about things you can’t control drains mental energy quickly. The more you think about negative problems that you can’t solve, the less energy you’ll have leftover for creative endeavors. Identify and replace overly negative thoughts with thoughts that are more productive. Productive thoughts don’t need to be extremely positive, but should be realistic.
Behave like the person, you’d like to become
Finally, being mentally strong doesn’t mean you don’t experience emotions. In fact, mental strength requires you to become acutely aware of your emotions so you can make the best choice about how to respond. Mental strength is about accepting your feelings without being controlled by them. Practice behaving like the person you’d like to become. Create time to reflect upon your progress toward developing mental strength. At the end of each day, ask yourself what you’ve learned about your thoughts, emotions and behavior. Consider what you hope to improve upon or accomplish tomorrow. And most important:
Stay curious and enjoy the process!