We often hear advice like, “Think positive, and good things will happen,” or “Try your hardest, and eventually things will work out.” I plead guilty of giving such advice. I do believe in it. However, while such words certainly have merit and work most of the time, they will not help you if you’re simultaneously engaging in unhealthy thinking behavior. Recognizing and replacing the unhealthy thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that may be sabotaging your best efforts is the key to building mental strength.
Therefore, I thought of a few things that mentally strong people DON’T do and that you should avoid if you want to stay mentally strong:
Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Many of life’s problems are inevitable, but feeling sorry for yourself is a choice. Indulging in self-pity won’t fix problems. If you’re prone to feeling sorry for yourself when life gets rough, train your brain to exchange self-pity for gratitude. Mentally strong people don’t waste their time and energy thinking about the problem, instead they focus on creating a solution. And believe me it works. I have tested this!
Run Away from Responsibility
It can be very tempting to blame other people for our problems and circumstances. Take back your power by accepting full responsibility for how you think, feel, and behave. Empowering yourself is an essential component to building mental strength and creating the kind of life you want to live.
Stay Away From Change
Although we feel safest when we stay within our comfort zones, avoiding new challenges serves as the biggest obstacle to living a full and rich life. Learning to recognize when you avoid change because of the discomfort involved in doing something new could be the first step in a long journey toward improving your life. The more you practice tolerating the uncomfortable feelings associated with change—whether it involves taking on a new job or leaving an unhealthy relationship—the more confident you’ll become in your ability to create your future. It’s a tough one this one, but it liberates you once you manage it.
Waste Energy on Things You Can’t Control
So often, we worry about all the wrong things. Rather than focusing on preparing for the storm, we waste energy wishing the storm wouldn’t come. If we invested that same energy into the things we do have control over, we would be much better prepared for whatever life throws at us.
Fear of Taking Calculated Risks
We make hundreds of choices every day with very little consideration of the risks we’re taking. Whether we choose to wear a helmet on a snowboard, or we decide to take out a loan, we often base our choices on our emotions, not the true level of risk. Making decisions based on your level of fear isn’t an accurate way to calculate risk. Emotions are often irrational and unreliable. You don’t get to be extraordinary without taking risks, and learning how to accurately calculate risk will ensure you’re making the best choices.
Complain and be Stuck in the Past
While reflecting on the past and learning from it is a helpful part of building mental strength, thinking about it too much can be harmful. Making peace with the past so you can live for the present can be hard, especially if you suffered a lot, but it’s a necessary step in becoming your best self.
Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over Again
The reality is that we’re prone to repeat the same mistakes sometimes. Learning from our mistakes requires humility and a willingness to look for new strategies to become better. Mentally strong people don’t hide their mistakes or make excuses for them. Instead they turn their mistakes into opportunities for self-growth.
Give Up After Failure
It’s normal to feel embarrassed, discouraged, and practically defeated when your first attempts don’t work. From a young age, we’re often taught that failure is bad, but it’s nearly impossible to succeed if we never fail. Mentally strong people view failure as proof that they’re pushing themselves to the limits in their efforts to reach their full potential.
Fear of Alone Time
In today’s fast paced world, obtaining a little quiet time often takes effort. Many people avoid silence and solitude because the lack of activity feels uncomfortable. But time to yourself is an essential component to building mental strength. Mentally strong people create opportunities to be alone with their thoughts, reflect on their progress, and create goals for the future.
Expect Immediate Results
Wouldn’t it be nice if everything in life could happen at the touch of a button? We often grow so accustomed to our “fast paced. no waiting” world, that our brains begin to believe that everything should happen instantaneously. But self-growth develops at a slower pace, rather than at lightning speed. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or trying to go up the corporate ladder, expecting immediate results will only lead to disappointment. Mentally strong people know that true change takes time and they’re willing to work hard to see results.
The good news is, everyone has the ability to build mental strength. But to do so, you need to develop self-awareness about the self-destructive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that prevent you from reaching your full potential. Step away from pessimist thoughts or the focus on THE problem, and be more optimistic and look for SOLUTIONS no matter how grim a situation can be. There is always a way out!