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7 Effective Ways to Improve Your Mental Strength

“It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus

Life will always present its challenges and how you deal with those challenges will determine the quality of your life. With a little mental strength, you can learn to handle adversities and turn negative situations into positives.

How to Build Mental Strength

Just as a physically weak person can become strong through consistent training, a person who lacks mental strength can develop it using the strategies below.

Just as  you can build physical strength with training, these strategies can help you build your mental strength.

1. Be willing to tolerate discomfort.

Your willingness to push through when things get tough will go a long way in building your mental strength, and it takes practice.

For instance, if giving a presentation makes you anxious, go ahead and do it anyway instead of assigning it to someone else. If you feel like quitting in a marathon, push through and finish.

Developing this mindset will improve all aspects of you your life.

2. Practice gratitude.

You’ve probably heard that gratitude increases happiness and eases depression, but did you know that gratitude causes physical changes in your brain?

Identify at least three things you’re grateful for every day. They don’t have to be extraordinary things. You can be grateful for your hair or legs. You can also add these gratitude practices to your daily routine.

3. Maintain steady emotions.

Are you usually over-excited in one minute and sad in the next? This frequent change of emotions can make you overwhelmed in situations you could have otherwise handled well if you were calmer.

If there’s something that makes you too excited or uneasy, visualize being calm and composed while doing it. Starting a meditation practice can help with this, as well (more on that below).

4. Be prepared.

Knowing that you’ve practiced something gives you the faith that you’ll be able to do it well. If you’re going to give a speech, for example, write it down and rehearse it in front of the mirror.

5. Develop internal motivators.

Skills, relationships and experiences are great internal motivators to help you develop authentic mental strength.

If you focus on internal motivators, you can maintain mental strength no matter what happens, but if you focus on external motivators—such as money, possessions, fame or a job—you may end up being miserable when these things disappear.

6. Practice meditation.

Meditation is to your brain what strength training is to your body. Meditation causes physical changes in your brain and these changes can make you less responsive to fear and stress.

If you’ve never meditated, start with short sessions of five to 10 minutes. Increase the duration of your sessions to 20 minutes as time goes by.

7. Maintain a positive attitude.

Psychologists estimate that 70 percent of our self-talk is negative. Therefore, you need to make a conscious effort to have positive thoughts.

If you have negative thoughts while running your first 5k, chances are you won’t complete it. Maintain a positive attitude and you’ll be amazed by how far you can go.

Images via Getty

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