Being mentally strong isn’t something we are born with; it’s a skill we develop over time. And it’s an essential skill—for being mentally tough is like being a superhero in today’s stressful world.
Remember the childhood dreams we had? To be Superman, or Wonder Woman, or any kind of superhero that the world looked up to? What if we told you that being a superhero was possible? Would you believe us? Chances are in the negative. As adults, we are too grown up to believe in superpowers and tales of lore. But the superpower we are talking about here is the brain power we all have, but are too busy, dejected, or stressed to put to use. Mental strength is a superpower, for faith and belief alone can move mountains when needed.
Think back to the last time you went to pieces because of a stressor. It could have been physical, emotional, financial, physiological, or just about anything. Going to pieces did not take strength, picking up those pieces and putting them all back did. So how about we learn to be a superhero mentally, with enough strength to make sure we never fall into pieces ever again…And it doesn’t matter if we fail; our mental strength will see us through over and above the challenges to the other side. Try these ten easy-to-do tips and tricks that will help you achieve perfect balance and superhuman mental strength that will make you like a reed in strong winds; you may bend, but never break!
Try The “Why Worry” Flowchart
I was watching a video of an Iskcon Guru the other day, and in that video, he shared a flowchart slide. It basically went something like this:
- Do you have a problem in life? No? Then why worry!
- Do you have a problem in life? Yes? Can you do something about it? No? Then why worry!
- Do you have a problem in life? Yes? Can you do something about it? Yes? Then why worry!
Break It Down
When faced with a big obstacle, stop staring at the enormous proportions and tackle the problem in smaller portions. Basically, instead of hiding underneath the covers with a comfort blanket, break down the problem into smaller, solvable parts. Make a doable list of how to solve the problem. Take, for example, losing weight: for most of us it is a problem—so make a list.
- In the first week, strike off added sugar.
- In the second week, walk for 30 minutes each day.
- In the third week, make most of your lunch or dinners around soups and salads.
- In the fourth week, increase the walk to 45 minutes.
- At the end of the month, your weight should have reduced a tad. Now take inspiration from that and move on from that to the second month.
Find Your Statement
Another way to become a mental superhero is to find your own statement, a sentence that defines you. Here, we are not talking about your profession or your role in the family. Rather, find out what truly defines you as a person. Fill in the blanks of “I am __________ who does ___________.” For me, something like “I am a perfectionist who does not take no for an answer” works. It has to be a positive statement, and it has to have positive intent. So every time you face a problem, remember this affirmative statement and challenge the issues headlong. With enough practice, the solutions will automatically fall into place.
The 4x4x4 Breathing Technique
The amount of stress a Navy SEAL has to face—first to get trained and then to complete missions—has to be OTT incredible, right? So the SEALs have a way to get Zen, and they call it the 4x4x4 technique to center yourself. It’s as simple as it is effective: start by breathing in for 4 seconds, breathing out for 4 seconds and repeating it for 4 minutes. The problem will still remain, but you’ll be mentally calmer—enough for you to focus on the problem, not become part of the problem! (You can check out more such breathing techniques to calm you down.)
What Do You Fight For?
Most people give up in life because their very reason for fighting has been taken away, or they cannot find something to fight for. So when faced with tough situations that bring you to your knees, ask yourself what you fight for. In fact, ask yourself at least five questions to get to the root cause of what moves you to do the tough stuff. This works for me: Why do I work for long hours on the computer? To improve my finances. Why do I want to improve my finances? Because I want to give my children a good life. Why do I want to give my children a good life? Because I love them. Why do I love them? Because I am a good mother/parent…So I fight to be a better mom for my kids because they deserve it.
“Don’t” Use Don’t!
Instead of talking in the negative, try using a positive and affirmative sentence. Imagine your little one falls down and is bawling away to glory. Instead of telling him “don’t cry," try saying, “let’s smile through the pain.” It’s the same with any other problem—instead of starting with a “don’t,” start positively. Try a “let’s win” instead of a “don’t lose.” Or a "let's do this project" instead of "can't we pay attention to work now?"
Be Kind, Rewind, & Look At The Bright Side
Whether you believe in coincidences, or things happening for a reason, or that the world is nothing but chaos…try this the next time you are faced with negativity. Instead of questioning why something so deplorable and disturbing happened to you, try figuring out what good could come out of it. View it as a hurdle, as penance, as a lesson, as a milestone…This looking-for-the-silver-lining may not always work, especially if you are faced with a tragedy of immeasurable proportions, but even when grief is bringing you to your knees, remember your loss with all the love and joy they brought to you, rather than as all that you had and was taken away from you. This ideology may not make a situation any less painful, but it might give you the strength to bear it and carry on…
Journal It Out
Not all of us are good at sharing our feelings. And sometimes what we are going through is too personal for us to be able to air it out with friends or family. Bottling it all in is pretty bad for us as well, so when something needs to be shared privately, do it in a journal. Or better still, do it in a bullet journal. Bullet journals work because they are succinct and even people who do not like to write can manage to put down a few words in them because all it takes is 10 minutes. You can use headers like:
- What has to be done today?
- What do I want to do today?
- What will I not do today?
- What am I thankful for today?
Be Grateful & Thankful
On days it seems as nothing works in your favor, try looking at your glass-half-full instead of half-empty. When everything is going wrong, stop and take a deep breath. Now surround yourself with the thoughts of all that you are happy to have in life and are grateful to the powers that be for giving them to you…Imagine life without these people or things. Unthinkable, right? Now make these very people and things your goal and give it all one big effort again, with all your mental might and positivity. Remember: seven times you fall, stand up eight…So keep trying, and keep being grateful for all the beauty you have in your life, rather than crying for what you don’t.
Hang With A Positive, Strong Gang
Find your tribe, the kind that can pull you up when you are down and believes in you and your dreams. To be mentally strong, you don’t need realists around you. You need your tribe of cheerleaders who egg you on and celebrate your every success and mourn your every fail, as you do theirs. Keep all naysayers off your couch and out of your life and just be with the gang that is your family.
Remember that these changes will not come overnight and will take will and practice to enforce. But where there is a will, there is a way. So if you have decided to be a mental powerhouse, well, more power to you!