How to improve your mental strength
It’s not about being mentally strong or mentally weak. We all possess some degree of mental strength, but there’s always room for improvement. Developing mental strength is about improving your ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances. Just as there are those among us who are predisposed to develop physical strength more easily than others, mental strength seems to come more naturally to some people. There are several factors at play to determine the ease at which you develop mental strength:
- Genetics—Genes play a role in whether or not you may be more prone to mental health issues, such as mood disorders.
- Personality—Some people have personality traits that help them think more realistically and behave more positively by nature.
- Experiences—Your life experiences influence how you think about yourself, other people, and the world in general.
Obviously, you can’t change some of these factors. You can’t erase a bad childhood. You can’t help it if you are genetically predisposed to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). But that doesn’t mean you can’t increase your mental strength. Anyone has the power to increase mental strength by devoting time and energy on the self-improvement exercises.
Often times, when one feels nervous about social situations, to minimize the anxiety, we tend to avoid starting conversations with people around. The less one speaks with his co-workers for example, the less they initiate conversation with him. When he enters the break room and passes people in the hallway without anyone speaking to him, he thinks, he must be socially awkward. The more he thinks about how awkward he is, the more nervous he feels about starting conversations. As his anxiety increases, his desire to avoid his co-workers also increases. This results in a self-perpetuating cycle.
To understand mental strength, you have to learn how your thoughts, behaviours, and feelings are all intertwined, often working together to create a dangerous downward spiral. This is why developing mental strength requires a three-pronged approach:
- Thoughts—Identifying irrational thoughts and replacing them with more realistic thoughts.
- Behaviours—Behaving in a positive manner despite the circumstances.
- Emotions—Controlling your emotions so your emotions don’t control you. We hear it all the time: “Think positive.” But optimism alone isn’t enough to help you reach your full potential.