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What would it mean to have a strong mind? What makes for mental toughness? We don’t want to give up when life challenges us, do we? How do we take care of mental health? How do we become so mentally strong that nothing can break us?
Build a mind of steel so that no matter what comes your way, you don’t break. You stand up, and get going. You do your job. You move. You do not break. Steel is one of the toughest metals in the world. It doesn’t break. It is used in building nation’s infrastructure like buildings, airports, bridges and skyscrapers. You bring the toughest metal in the world to create national infrastructure.
Similarly, the toughest minds are made of steel. They don’t break under pressure. They can take a lot of pain, but they don’t break down.
This article, now you know, if about mental strength and toughness. By the time you are done reading this, you would know a bunch of ways to be mentally strong- so strong that that you would not break under a lot of pressure or pain. It is beyond mental health, although you can learn about how to stay mentally healthy through the points that follow. However, it is beyond that. It is mental metal.
How do we build mental toughness?
1. Watch and control your thoughts
A careful watch over your thoughts is the first step to build mental strength. If you watch your thoughts and are able to ward off the negative thoughts before they become big, you would be building a strong mind that can control itself, no matter what the stimulus.
2. Build your mental muscles through meditation
3. Understand that pain is a given
Pain is a given in life and there is no way we can avoid it. It is trying to live in a fool’s paradise to think that we can live life without experiencing pain. Nobody’s life is perfect and there are parts in our lives that cause us pain. Some people struggle with their relationships while others struggle with their careers. We are human and as humans, we are imperfect and fallible. That leads to pain. Understanding that pain will come and we will need to bear it would make dealing with pain a little easier than when it comes out of the blue.
4. Build resilience
What is resilience? It is a complex word. As per dictionary, resilience is the ability of a person to adjust to or recover readily from illness, adversity, major life changes, etc. How does one build resilience? One can do that by building a strong financial and emotional cushion that would allow one to get over adversity when it strikes. It is a difficult skill to learn but one of the most important skills in life. Not many people are resilient but those who are, go through anything that life throws at them.
Believe in your ability to be able to ride over adverse circumstances in your life and when you face them, do not cave in.
5. Watch, read, learn from mentally strong people
There is a dialogue in the movie Rocky Balboa where Rocky is speaking to his son about winning. It is one of the most famous dialogues in movie history. You can learn a lot about mental steel just from this one dialogue itself.
This is mental toughness. You are so strong that you can take a lot of hits. This explains the nature of life. Life is tough and it will hit you hard. The ones who are able to dream big and be able to take the hits will win.
6. Decide that you will not break
A decision is a powerful force in the world. As human beings, we can decide what we want to do with our lives and we can follow through those decisions. Decide that no matter what happens, you will not break and you will carry through. Your life is a show, and no matter what happens, the show must go on.
7. Do an intense work out everyday
An intense workout doesn’t just take your physical muscles, but your mental strength as well. When you lift 100 pounds for the first time in your life, you do something that you thought you couldn’t do. That builds your mental strength and expands your vision of what you are capable of.
8. Push yourself to go through pain
Have you ever run a full marathon or even a half marathon? It is painful. However, a lot of people finish both formats. When you finish a marathon, it feels good because you learnt to go through pain and built your physical and mental muscles in the process.
There is a mission you are trying to achieve in life, and there will be obstacles. Make your purpose your guide. Let it determine what you are supposed to do in a certain situation where your emotional and mental strength is being tested. If you don’t have a purpose, you need one.
10. The more you don’t break, the more you don’t break
11. Focus on the long term
Focusing on the short-term lead us to panic and lose control. In order for us to have a semblance of mental sanity, we need to stay focused on the long-term. There are bound to be short term setbacks in a long journey that involves risk-taking and a shot at dreams, but as long as we are focused on the long term, short term setbacks would not harm us mentally as much as they could if we only focus on the short-term.
Stay focused on the long term.
12. Do not be superhuman
This is an important distinction I would like to draw here. Mental strength does not mean throwing away the emotions that make us human. None of us are immune to pain. We all feel pain, no matter how hard we are. The question is if we will let pain stop us or not. That is what mental strength is about. Mentally strong people have a higher capacity to absorb pain than mentally weak person.
A lot of masculine culture has taught us that men don’t cry. It is bullshit. Men do cry although they do not cry as easily and frequently as women do. Men do have a higher propensity to bear pain just because they have been the providers of the family. They are expected to be strong.
Yes, there is nothing wrong in being strong but there is everything wrong with this image of masculinity that expects men to be superhuman. It is important to be mentally strong, and it is also important to be human. When tears roll down your eyes, let them. It will make you feel lighter.
13. Do not dwell in self-pity
Do not allow yourself to dwell in self-pity. There is no answer to why me. Things are just the way they are, and they cannot be different than what they are. Do not dwell in self-pity. Do not feel bad about yourself.
Look at what the situation is, and what you need to do to get out of it. Make a plan and fight through it. Fight through the pain, and keep fighting till you get out of the tunnel that you find yourself in. You are there, and only you can get yourself out of it. Indulging in self-pity won’t get you out. It doesn’t matter now how you got there. You need to get out and restart. Get out of the tunnel. Stop feeling sorry about yourself.
Yes, allow your mind rest. I have realized over and over that if I am well slept, my mind works well and solves problems faster than it does when it tired and weary. Allow yours mind the rest and relaxation it needs to start working again. Mental strength and toughness also need mental relaxation.
Just keep going. When you fall down, get up and keep going. When you are broken, just get up and keep going. When life hits you badly, absorb the pain, get up and keep going. When there is emotional pain, cry, wipe your tears and keep going. Just keep going. Tell yourself that no matter what happens, you will not be broken. You will not be broken.
16. Make it easy
I am runner. When I run, sometimes, I want to stop but I usually give myself a tough target and I do not want to stop before the target has been achieved. So, I tell myself to make it easy, and then I go slow and manage my breath and running rhythm so that I do not feel tired and feel like stopping. That ways, I make it easy. No matter how tough your goals are, make them easy when it looks tough. Go slow or go a step a time, but keep walking, when it gets tough.
17. Laugh it off
Part of mental toughness is the ability to look at life and adversity and be able to laugh it off.
It means that when we are going through difficult circumstances, they are painful, but when we look at them from a distance, they are rather funny if we have the ability to laugh at them.
18. Eat well and healthy
We may not be what we eat but what we eat does impact our state of mind. Eat healthy, nutritious and powerful food. Eat nuts, vegetables and meat rich in protein. I am no nutritionist but you can figure this out. Create a diet which adds to your mental strength, and not take away from it.
19. Accept the worse in testing situations
Hey, what’s the worse that will happen? You will die. You and I will die and the world will come to an end. That’s the worst that can happen. So? If it has to happen, it will, and you will need to accept it. So, accept it mentally, and once you accept that that’s the worst that can happen, you will not feel so much load on your mind anymore. In most likelihood, the worst will not transpire.
20. Talk to yourself when in difficult situations
Talk to yourself, when in difficult situations and tell yourself that you are a mentally and a physically strong person and you can take whatever comes. Remind yourself over and over that you have seen a lot and you can see this through too.
21. Take care of your mental health on a regular basis
Mental health is important and just like physical health, it needs to be taken care of. Exercise, sleep and food are not just key elements of physical health but they contribute towards mental health as well. Read positive material and consume content that makes you mentally strong and resilient.
Thank you for reading.
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