Build Your Mental Muscles by Doing Your Mental Push-Ups
By Veronica Vidal
Most of us understand how we can develop physical strength but are not really sure over the steps to take to build mental strength. Building mental strength is similar to building physical strength. Everyone has the ability to build mental strength, and just like building physical strength, it requires dedication and hard work. With practice, anyone can develop the ability to regulate negative thoughts, control destructive emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Learning how to flex your mental muscle is key to reaching your greatest potential in life. Whether your goal is to become an elite athlete, or you strive to be a more patient parent, mental strength will help you reach your goals.
1) PRACTICE MINDFULNESS: It’s impossible to stay strong when you’re going over and over again at something that happened yesterday, or forecasting that horrible things are going to happen tomorrow. Mindfulness is about staying present in the moment. With regular practice, you’ll be less distracted by yesterday’s problems and tomorrow’s worries. and you’ll increase your ability to focus and to enjoy the present moment.
2) BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR EMOTIONS: While there’s nothing wrong with being in a bad mood sometimes, staying stuck in a negative rut can be a slippery slope: Sadness can lead to self-pity, anger can turn to bitterness, and mild anxiety can become paralyzing fear. Decide that you’re going to be in control of your emotions so they don’t control you.
3) PRACTICE GRATITUDE: Focus on the good things in your life, not the things you lack. The simple discipline of engaging in gratitude will undoubtedly shift your focus back to the many good things you already have.
4) LET GO OF SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS: It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:
“I’m not smart enough to…” REPLACE BY SAYING: “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…” REPLACE BY SAYING “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”
When we allow negative self-talk to flood our minds, we’re effectively working against ourselves.
If you want to keep your mind strong, you have to remember one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, NOT facts.
5) TOLERATE DISCOMFORT FOR A GREATER PURPOSE: Mentally strong people tolerate discomfort when it serves a greater purpose. Whether they’re exercising when they feel tired, or they’re delivering a speech when they feel terrified, they use their discomfort to become better.
6) STOP ALL- OR – NOTHING THINKING: There is always room for improvement, but be careful not to start thinking you’re a complete failure just because you’re not a complete success in all the ways you hoped to be. You win some, you lose some. That’s life.
I hope you can use these tips to assist you in building mental strength. Paying attention to these steps on a regular basis, eventually, it will become second nature to you.