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11 Habits of Mentally Strong People

By Ellie Murray

Mental strength or mental toughness is our ability to regulate our own emotions, manage our thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite the prevailing circumstances. Developing mental strength is about finding the courage to live according to your values and being bold enough to create your own definition of success.

Developing mental strength requires hard work and commitment. It’s about establishing healthy habits and choosing to devote your time and energy to self-improvement.

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi

They’re emotionally intelligent.Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of mental strength. You cannot be mentally strong without the ability to fully understand and tolerate strong negative emotions and do something productive with them. Unlike your IQ, which is fixed, your EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with understanding and effort. It’s no wonder that 90% of top performers have high EQs and people with high EQs earn $28,000 more annually (on average) than their low-EQ counterparts.

They’re confident.Mentally strong people subscribe to Ford’s notion that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed. This notion isn’t just a motivational tool—it’s a fact. Mentally strong people have an upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish because their confidence inspires others and helps them to make things happen.

They say no.Research conducted at UC Berkeley showed that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Mentally strong people know that saying no is healthy, and they have the self-esteem and foresight to make their nos clear.

They neutralize difficult people. Mentally strong people control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find common ground and solutions to problems.

They embrace change.Mentally strong people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralysing and a major threat to their success and happiness. Only when you embrace change can you find the good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you’re going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates.

They embrace failure.Mentally strong people embrace failure because they know that the road to success is paved with it. No one ever experienced true success without first embracing failure. By revealing when you’re on the wrong path, your mistakes pave the way for you to succeed. It’s this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box, and to see the solution that you’ve been missing.

Yet, they don’t dwell on mistakes.Mentally strong people know that where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. Mentally strong people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success.

They don’t compare themselves to others.Mentally strong people don’t pass judgment on other people because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves. Mentally strong people don’t waste time or energy sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up. Instead of wasting your energy on jealousy, funnel that energy into appreciation. When you celebrate the success of other people, you both benefit.

They exercise.A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more socially, intellectually, and athletically competent. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, which is key to mental strength, it was the immediate, endorphin-fuelled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.

They get enough sleep.It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your mental strength. When you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins, which are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep, so when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.

They’re relentlessly positive.Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time, and you’ll see that it’s just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. Instead of trying to start a revolution overnight, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power—their attention and their effort.

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