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14 things mentally strong people do

Mental strength is not about being tough. It is about having the ability to live authentically and cope with what life throws at you.

14 things mentally strong people do
person sitting on top of gray rock overlooking mountain during daytime
Clinical Psychotherapist working to ensure everyone has access to tools to live happier and healthier

Mental strength is not about being tough.

It is about having the ability to live authentically and cope with what life throws at you. The following 14 suggestions can help you strengthen your mindset and your motivation.

1) Know where you are going: Define your "Rich and Meaningful Life"

Some call it self-actualization. You get a sense of pride, contentment and even security when you achieve your goals. When you remain stuck and floundering, it often negatively impacts your mood and self-esteem. It feels like nothing will ever change.

2) Act with purpose

You only have so much time and energy. Just like you would not take every exit off the highway, you do not want to get side-tracked and waylaid by acting impulsively. Knowing what a rich and meaningful life looks like to you provides the destination. Before acting, or when you find yourself reacting, stop and beta test: take a breath, evaluate the situation, think about the best response to get you closer to your goals, and Act tentatively.

3) See the big picture

Notice the gifts and the challenges. Reflect on which parts are and are not within your control. Commit to using your energy to address the things within your control.

4) Take care of yourself

This can be done by physical health, sleep, nutrition, hydration, pain management and self-compassion.

5) Cooperate instead of compete

Embrace your strengths and minimize the impact of your weaknesses. How can you mitigate your weaknesses? What resources or people have your weaknesses as strengths? How can you synergize?

6) Be better today than yesterday

Stop comparing yourself to other people. You do not know their story or what they are sacrificing. What is one thing you can do today to make it better than yesterday?

7) Use emotions as catalysts

Emotions are like smoke alarms designed to tell you that something might need to be done. Dwelling on distress only drains your energy. Change the situation. Change your response to the situation. Let it go or choose to stay miserable.

8) Take back your power with forgiveness

Make a list of your guilts and regrets. Make a list of your resentments. Recall the event. Explore what will happen if you let go of the anger. Learn from it to create safety and positive self-talk. Make amends if needed—separate behaviors from the person. Adjust your expectations. Empathize without minimizing. Forgive smaller things first. Write a letter and share your feelings and release past hurt.

9) Embrace change

Things are constantly changing. Every experience has the ability to change you. Practice radical acceptance– It is what it is. When change knocks, view it as an opportunity to create a win-win. How can I make this work for me? What changes in your life can you embrace?

10) Learn from, don’t dwell on the past

Just like resisting change is like spinning your wheels in the mud, dwelling on the past means you are consistently stealing energy from your present and giving it to your past. Mistakes are a part of life. Learn from them, so you do not repeat them. Make amends when necessary. What regrets, resentments, unpleasant memories do you continue to dump energy into? How could you learn from or process those situations, so they did not steal energy from your present?

11) Focus on what you can control

Virtually nothing is 100 per cent within your control. Emotions are triggered. How you cope is in your control—health changes. How you respond is in your control. People act from their own reality. How you react to them is in your control. The world may be in upheaval. How you react is in your control. What things in your life are good? What aspects can you control? What challenges are you facing? What aspects can you control?

12) Celebrate other people’s successes

This improves connection with them and increases oxytocin, your bonding hormone. It also increases the chances of celebrating and supporting you and reinforces the notion of abundance. Who do you envy? How can you celebrate their success? How can you reframe their success as a both/and? What are some of your successes that contribute to your rich and meaningful life?

13) Practice mindfulness

Being aware of your thoughts wants, needs and vulnerabilities in the present can help you prevent or at least mitigate distress. At each meal and whenever you are feeling triggered. What am I feeling physically? Why? What do I need? What are my feelings and thoughts in this situation? Are they based on the facts of the current context? What do I need to improve the next moment? What is going on around me? Is it helping me feel safe or stressing me out? What do I need? What is my impact on others? How are others impacting me? What do I need from me? From others?

14) Be patient: Rome wasn’t built in a day; neither were your habits and problems

Patience is a virtue that most of us lack in the microwave, satellite, digital age. Stop expecting to always get it right the first time—progress, not perfection. Stop expecting instant results. Set micro-goals, but realize the finale will take time. What things in your life are you impatient about right now? How could you set micro-goals to help yourself wait? What else could you do?

Check out Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes' PowerPoint presentation below detailing the points below:

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