By Amy Morin
Mental Strength Trainer And Host Of The Mentally Strong People Podcast
Whether you’re tempted to give in to that craving for a cupcake, or you’re about to give up on your goals, perseverance isn’t easy. But before you blame your lack of God-given willpower and before you make an excuse for your less than stellar performance, consider this; it only takes a few minutes a day to build the mental muscle you need to reach your greatest potential.
Building mental strength is similar to building physical strength. Doing 50 push ups a day would only take a few minutes of your time, but doing it consistently would help you build a tremendous amount of upper body strength.
The same can be said with your mental muscle. In just a few minutes each day, you can train your brain to think differently, manage your emotions, and behave productively. With consistent exercise, you’ll build mental strength.
While there are many exercises that can help you grow stronger, here are three exercises that will help you build mental muscle in five minutes or less:
1. Identify three things you’re grateful for.
Counting your blessings — as opposed to your burdens — has a big impact on your psychological health.
Studies consistently show gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
Make gratitude a daily habit by intentionally identifying three things you are grateful for in your life. It could be as simple as feeling thankful for the clean water that comes out of your faucet or appreciating the cool breeze on a warm day.
Studies show you can physically change your brain by making gratitude a habit. Write in a gratitude journal, list the things you feel grateful for over dinner, or make it a habit to identify what you're thankful for before you go to bed. Over time, being thankful becomes like second nature and you’ll experience benefits ranging from improved sleep to better immunity.
2. Practice mindfulness.
It’s impossible to stay strong when you’re rehashing something that happened last week or when you’re predicting horrible things are going to happen tomorrow. Mindfulness is about staying present in the moment. And since the only time you can change your behavior is right now, it’s important to be able to focus on the here-and-now.
Science shows mindfulness has a multitude of physical and psychological benefits. Among those benefits are reduced stress and a more compassionate inner dialogue.
So take a minute to just focus on what’s going on around you. Listen to see what sounds you can hear.
Look around the room and see what you notice. Do a quick scan of your body and pay attention to how it feels.
With regular practice, you’ll increase your ability to focus — which is tough to do in today’s fast-paced world.
And you’ll also be able to enjoy each moment because you’ll be less distracted by yesterday’s problems and tomorrow’s worries.
3. Act “as if.”
It can be tempting to wait until you feel different to make a change. But waiting until you feel good about yourself before applying for a promotion or waiting until you feel happy to invite your friends out for a night on the town could backfire.
Instead, studies show you should behave like the person you want to become. When you change your behavior, your thoughts and your emotions will follow.
When you’re sad you might hunch your shoulders and look at the floor. Doing so keeps you in a depressive state. Put your shoulders back and smile, however, and you’ll feel an instant boost in your mood.
And don’t expect feelings of confidence to come out of nowhere. Instead, ask yourself, how can I act confident? even when you’re filled with self-doubt. Acting like a confident person helps you feel surer of yourself. And research shows acting confident even increases other people’s confidence in you.
Try asking yourself what would a mentally strong person do? Then, act as if you feel strong already. And you’ll grow a little stronger.
Do Your Mental Push Ups
Every day is an opportunity to develop some mental muscle. Simple, short exercises performed consistently over time will help you build mental strength.
Additionally, pay attention to the bad habits that rob you of mental strength. Feeling sorry for yourself, giving up after your first failure, and giving away your power are just a few of the bad habits that could wreak havoc on your mental weight lifting routine. Giving up those unhealthy habits will help you work smarter, not harder.
Amy is a Clinical Psychologist who experienced the loss of three close loved ones in a very short time early in her career and she chose to put the following principles into to practice she gave to others in her practice and they worked for her – they may work or you.
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.
1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves
Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.
2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power
They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.
3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change
Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.
4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control
You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.
5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone
Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.
6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks
They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.
7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past
Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.
8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over
They accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.
9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success
Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.
10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure
They don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.
11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time
Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.
12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything
They don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.
13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results
Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.
Find Amy’s Book, Kindle and Audible Book by this title on Amazon HERE