Some people power through stressful situations like they are nothing. Others struggle to get beyond the emotional reaction that happens when stress occurs. Being mentally strong isn’t something that only a select group of people is able to be. If you struggle with stress, then begin increasing your strength with the 9 habits of mentally strong people.
#1. Be confident in yourself. The moment that self-doubt appears is the moment you lose mental strength. Reassure yourself. Eliminate the negative thoughts that try to creep in. Tell yourself “I’ve got this,” and then go do it.
#2. Minimize your focus. You don’t need to tackle the entire problem you face at once. Take small problems and focus on those. Step by step, you’ll find yourself solving the big problem by solving the smaller ones along the way.
#3. Don’t exaggerate the issue. Look at the stressful situation factually. Don’t try to imagine different outcomes or how people might react. Keep the problem in perspective and take action where you decide it makes sense. You’re not going to please everyone 100% of the time, so make the decision you think is right and go with it.
#4. Identify the triggers. If you know where your greatest stress generators happen to be, then you can avoid them or manage them more effectively. Identify the warning signs you feel when a trigger may be near so you can be proactive about beating back stress instead of being forced to be reactive.
#5. Develop social supports. Positive energy will always build you up. Negative energy will always tear you down. Spend more time with the people who build you up and you’ll discover that your mental strength will increase as well.
#6. Do the difficult stuff first. Prioritize your tasks based on importance and difficulty. Instead of getting the easiest stuff done first, tackle the most difficult project. That way, when you have low levels of mental energy at the end of the day, you’ll still be able to get some work finished.
#7. Keep your personal space your own. Ever noticed how “drama” can drain you physically and mentally? That’s why it is so important to make sure your personal space stays your own. Keep physical and emotional boundaries intact and up at all times. Don’t be afraid to tell people to respect those boundaries so you don’t get drawn into the time-wasting, energy-draining debates that happen.
#8. Create and use real coping skills. Slapping on some headphones or zoning out in front of the TV are not coping skills. They’re distractions. Keep a journal, implement time for meditation, or speak with a trusted colleague to process the difficult emotions.
#9. Have some fun. This is where watching TV or listening to some favorite tunes comes into play. Spend time with your family. Turn projects into games that keep you competitive with your colleagues, but in a friendly way.
Staying mentally strong may required some lifestyle changes. It takes commitment. The effort to maintain these habits, however, will always pay dividends. Get started today and there will be no limit to what you can accomplish.