Society is often fascinated with stories about people facing adversity. We love to root for the underdog, the person who seems to achieve their goals when it looks like the world was against them. We are often mystified by their journey and sometimes envious of their success.
How can they do it?
Research has shown that people who are mentally tough tend to achieve more goals, are better with stress management, are more positive, and are more efficient leaders.
According to Mental Toughness Partners, mental toughness is defined as “a personality trait that determines your ability to perform consistently under stress and pressure, and is closely related to qualities such as character, resilience, grit, and perseverance.”
The people who are mentally tough don’t let stress get in the way. They will be consistent in achieving their goals. They will push forward even when times get hard.
The good news is that mental toughness can be learned and strengthened. Just like doing a bunch of pull-ups, each day can make you physically strong, developing positive mental skills can build mental strength.
Studies from the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging suggest that the average person has about 70,000 thoughts per day. That gives you 70,000 chances to use those thoughts to either hinder or strengthen yourself.
How you think about yourself can have drastic impacts on your day to day life. If you are constantly thinking negative thoughts like, “I will never find love” or “I never get the opportunities I want,” then unfortunately those thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Those negative thoughts will wear you down even before you start. You are already stacking the cards against you.
Instead, change those thoughts into more realistic dialogues. Avoid using absolutes and start actively trying to recognize that those thoughts are not necessarily reality. Take steps to be gentle with yourself. Think about how you would talk to a loved one who needed advice.
Life can sometimes be unpredictable and uncontrollable with many difficult hardships. What we can control is how we perceive things. Even if it is in small victories.
We often see Mental Toughness as someone who can hold themselves together during stressful times. What we don’t see is the little battles that strengthened the mental fortitude along the way.
Think of mental toughness as a muscle. You must keep doing exercises that help build and strengthen that muscle. You cannot start lifting heavy weights till you practice with lighter weights. Doing many small exercises on a day to day basis can help you stand strong against the days when things get hard.
Start with choices that help strengthen you mentally, like not going for a donut when you have an apple or go for that job when you would rather take a nap on the couch. Choose to do more when the easier option is to do less. Challenge yourself with little battles so you can be tougher for when the storm comes.
While using your own resources and tips can be helpful. Sometimes you need an extra push or a helping hand.
Building mental toughness is an up-hill journey. Some days might be harder than others but it is important to check in with yourself and know that consistency does pay off. It is also essential to know that you are not alone.
It is okay to seek help!
There are many trained professionals to help aid you in your journey toward mental toughness all you have to do is reach out.
If you are experiencing symptoms of mental or physical distress and would like to discuss your treatment options, schedule an appointment with one of our providers today by using our online form or by calling (805) 341-3416 during normal business hours.