Being in shape and having big muscles do not determine your internal health. Many times, mental health issues are not physically detectable, much like cardiovascular disease. The big beautiful toned body can often lead to a false identity. Much like a boxer who shows mental toughness, he was maybe hiding his emotional fragility behind an emotional stone wall, impacting his mental health negatively. Mental toughness and strength must be optimized and used in the right way to maximize and boost mental health. Just like making your muscles strong, think of your mind like a muscle.
“Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change”. Buddha
Mental Health is your overall state of wellness that includes emotional, physiological, spiritual, and social wellbeing. Its structure and function are based on how you handle stress, react and communicate with people, and make life choices. Basically, mental health is the fusion of how you think, feel, behave, and act. Thoughts create feelings that produce emotions that invoke a reaction, action, or a certain behavior.
For example, if you think of something sad, let’s say the death of a loved one, the thought triggers feelings of sadness. Sadness changes your emotional state mentally and physically. And, maybe this causes you to cry or feel weak and affect your behavior to be more quiet or distant. Furthermore, the same can happen vise-versa, being positive, making you feel good.
Mental strength is the ability to withstand and cope with negativity. It is how you stay positive and realistic to turn around your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behavior. To do this, you have to learn how to control and manage your emotions and feelings. It requires a proactive and productive approach no matter the situation. It can be challenging, but repetition is the key to practice and practice, you must do, to make things easier.
Three Ways To Develop Mental Strength
1) How You Think is How You Feel
You have to think realistically. This requires you to replace the inner dialogue of your mind to be rational and not reactionary. To feel more positively and not negatively.
2) How You Feel
Mental strength revolves around how you feel. It is not about ignoring or hiding your issues. These issues you experience do not make you weak. They only make you feel weak. The real power is in expressing your feelings. Do you know the expression, “Get your problems off your chest”? When you express your feelings or talk to someone about them, it makes you think clearly, feel energetic, and play better. It alleviates stress and tension. When you keep issues inside, it disrupts your mind and emotions and makes you feel heavy.
Instead of denying and hiding them, he learned to accept feelings and emotions, his mental strength and power.
3) Your Actions Speak Louder than Words
Being proactive is the name of the game when it comes to mental strength. What you do is more important and sincerer than what you say. It is the ability to stay cool, calm, and collected, as the saying goes. Positively continue your life, control your reactions, and stay positive and balanced in times of trouble or when problems arise.
Many things will happen beyond your control. The only thing you can control is you, your mind. If reacting negatively does not solve any problems and is bad and weakens your mind, and the problem will surely pass, and you will be happy again. Why ride this wave. There is no productivity in being negative, but there is when being positive.
How to Become Mentally Strong
Your feelings are real. What is essential is you have a process, a plan in place to maintain good mental health. Negative things will happen. Sometimes too many negative things happen at once that start to wear away your mental defenses. What’s important is to understand the positives in the negatives, the successes in failures, and the lessons in the losses. Internalizing a negative outcome or comment, leads to imbalance your mind. In order to balance, you need to have control. You need to develop a healthy inner voice that can lead you in a more positive way. And, that takes strength and practice to do it. The more you practice managing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, the more mentally strong you will defend your mental health.
Changing how you think, feel, and act is not easy. Like developing strength at the gym, you have to be regular to maintain it. Repetition is key. Developing mental strength is similar to working out. It takes consistent practice. Here are some tips to help you develop mental toughness and strength.
- Be mindful. Being mindful is being present. It will help you gain perspective of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions to focus and understand what is happening.
- Control your reactions. Breathe and relax first or go for a walk to rationalize your thoughts and emotions. Don’t ignore your feelings, just put them in check.
- Think positive. Don’t think negatively. This will help you better deal with stress and understand the issue is just a stepping stone to move forward.
- Don’t let your feelings and thoughts bully you. Control them and don’t look for sympathy or attention. Thinking negatively leads to becoming an emotional victim.
- Don’t be scared. No question is ever stupid, and no feeling is ever silly or embarrassing. All problems and issues are different. There is no norm when it comes to dealing and understanding them. Mark Twain said, “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain“. Be comfortable being uncomfortable, and you will be comfortable.
- Don’t react and train your mind to see the positives first.
- Let go of thoughts and feelings and people that bring you down and are negative. When you can let go, you will open the window to mental strength.
Mental strength is often misunderstood. Just because a UFC fighter cries does not make him weak. In fact, mental strength is about letting emotions out. It takes more strength to express your feelings and emotions than it does hiding them inside. Showing emotions, sympathy, empathy, or compassion are hidden secrets to mental strength, not weakness. Increasing mental strength will improve physical performance, enhance your happiness in life, and make you more resilient.
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” Marcus Aurelius
The content of the web pages in our Mental Health section are provided for general information only. They are not intended to, and does not, amount to advice which you should rely on. They are not in any way an alternative to specific advice.
If you or a loved one is struggling with Mental Health please call 911 and reach out to a medical professional or SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service. Please find more help at https://seizetheawkward.org/