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Developing Mental Strength

We all have ups and downs in life and experience some really tough times. How we handle these times is a sure sign of mental strength. Avoiding emotional times and difficult situations will not serve as well and will make you vulnerable to when the tough times come.

I remember as a young police officer dealing with death, violence and witnessing incidents that simply stay with you. I developed my own mental strength on the go. It helped me years later experiencing family bereavements and stresses in the workplace. I explore how to develop mental strength

What is mental strength?

Mental strength means that you regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances.

Picture a mentally strong person. Whether you imagine a real person or just think about the characteristics of a strong person, you are most likely thinking about qualities like resilience and perseverance.

This is exactly what mental strength is all about – the ability to remain calm and composed under pressure.

When a disaster strikes, mental strength helps you look beyond the disappointment and tears, quickly helping you to move forward.

Mental strength means you aren’t stifled still in the face of adversity.

You can think of mental strength as your companion. That one friend who sticks by you in good and bad times telling you to keep moving and pushing forward. It’s the inner voice of respect, trust and confidence.

Stop Negative Thoughts

Although most of us don’t spend time thinking about our thoughts, increasing your awareness of your thinking habits proves useful in building resilience. Exaggerated, negative thoughts, such as, “I can’t ever do anything right,” hold you back from reaching your full potential. Catch your negative thoughts before they spiral out of control and influence your behavior.

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. A more balanced thought may be, “I have some weaknesses, but I also have plenty of strengths.” Changing your thoughts requires constant monitoring, but the process can be instrumental in helping you become your best self.

Increase Emotional Intelligence

Allowing your emotions to control your life will deplete your mental strength. While there’s nothing wrong with being in a bad mood sometimes, staying stuck in a negative rut can be a slippery slope:

A lot of problems stem from our desire to avoid discomfort. For example, people who fear failure often avoid new challenges in an effort to keep anxiety at bay. Avoiding emotional discomfort, however, is usually a short-term solution that leads to long-term problems.

Develop an awareness of how your emotions impact your life. Decide that you’re going to be in control of your emotions so they don’t control you. Face uncomfortable feelings head-on and take charge of your life. The more you practice tolerating discomfort, the more confidence you’ll gain in your ability to accept new challenges.

Don’t be a Martar

We tend to think that mentally strong people “power through it all” by avoiding rest and working 24/7.

Over the long-term, the exact opposite holds true.

“Resilience is how you recharge, not how you endure.”

Shawn Achor

Staying up late and avoiding relaxation has an incredibly negative effect on your brain power. You’re at increased risk for succumbing to impulsive desires, inattentiveness and questionable decision-making, amongst other effects.

To gain mental strength, know when to put down your phone or turn off your laptop, and prioritize the much-needed recuperation of your body and mind.

You have to learn to work with your thoughts, manage your emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Over time with regular practice, attention, and focus, your brain will actually physically rewire itself, through a process called neuroplasticity, so that stronger and healthier becomes the default. Increasing your mental strength is the key to reaching your greatest potential in life.

 “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher,” said Oprah Winfrey.

Striving to expand your network with inspirational people is a great stepping stone for improving your mental strength.

The Way Forward

You have to learn to work with your thoughts, manage your emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Over time with regular practice, attention, and focus, your brain will actually physically rewire itself, through a process called neuroplasticity, so that stronger and healthier becomes the default. Increasing your mental strength is the key to reaching your greatest potential in life.

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Nick Marr
 

Nick Marr is an author, speaker, digital marketing executive and coach with a passion for inspirational leadership. He started his coaching career as a police officer helping to deliver a change to senior officer leadership styles. He also represented minority police officers in various roles throughout his 20 year career. His move into business saw him as founder of one of the first online estate agencies in the UK. He has worked as Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Sales for Digital Marketing organisations. He once created a social media viral that went global just by using his head... His innovation in business led to him being featured in the Financial Times and appearances on BBC TV.