As a society, when we think of strength, we tend to think of physical strength. This is because we can see tangible ways to build physical strength. You go to the gym, you lift weights, you push yourself, etc. But, mental strength is just as important (if not more important) than its physical counterpart.
Unfortunately, mental strength doesn’t always get the same kind of attention as physical strength because many people are not aware of how to build upon it. After all, you can’t “mentally” lift weights – or can you? There are actually plenty of things you can do each day to build mental strength and make your mind stronger and fitter. Most of them are simple habits that can easily become a part of your daily routine.
Let’s look at seven of these habits so that you can start implementing them into your life. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start giving your mental strength a boost to feel better than ever.
1. Focus on the Present
The practice of mindfulness is gaining a lot of attention lately. But, it is more than just a buzzword. We live in a world where people think multitasking is the best way to feel accomplished and get everything done. But, more often than not, this can make you feel scattered and overwhelmed, and even more stressed. Instead of focusing on several different tasks at once, focus on completing each task individually. Give all of your attention to one thing, and if you start to feel overwhelmed, focus solely on your breathing and your surroundings.
2. Get Moving
Mental and physical health are actually heavily-connected. Regular exercise helps to reduce stress and boosts levels of serotonin in your brain. It also normalizes the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain, which can help you feel focused and mentally-healthy. By exercising for 30 minutes each day (even if it’s taking a walk around your neighborhood), you are doing more than just keeping yourself physically fit. You are improving your mental fitness and focus, too.
3. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is another popular term, but it has gained popularity for a good reason. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed when you are working long hours while also trying to find a work/life balance, managing relationships, etc. If your focus is on everyone else and everything else in your life, you are not going to be able to give yourself the care and attention that you need and deserve. Unfortunately, this can cause you to burn out quickly.
Not only can a lack of self-care lead to exhaustion and fatigue, but it can also lead to mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Take the time to do things you enjoy every day, whether it is going to a movie by yourself, writing in your journal, getting a massage, or even reading a good book. Everyone practices self-care differently. It is about finding the things that fill you up in a world that is constantly asking for more of you.
4. Set Limits
Do you find yourself saying “yes” to everything? Maybe you feel guilty saying no, or you think doing more will make you feel more productive. Unfortunately, stretching yourself too thin will only cause you to burn out and feel more stressed.
Set limits for yourself each day. You can get very specific in choosing what you do and don’t agree to, or you can take a more casual approach depending on how you are feeling at any given time. The bottom line, though, is to avoid overloading your days with so much that you cannot take time for yourself. Remember, self-care is essential. Make sure that you are setting yourself realistic limits so you actually have time to do what you have to do.
5. Ask for Help
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might still find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. This depletes your mental strength and can cause you to lose focus. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking for assistance is not a sign of weakness and it does not mean you are not doing everything you are supposed to be doing. We are put here to help others and also receive help when it is needed. If everyone solely relied on their own strength (physical and mental), there would be no great collaborative ideas, and we would all suffer as a result.
6. Believe in Yourself
Every morning when you wake up, choose to believe in yourself. It can be a hard habit to get into at first, especially if you are naturally a self-doubter or you have to fight negative self-talk. People will say positive and negative things about you throughout your life. None of that matters. What does matter is that you believe in the positive things about yourself. Look in the mirror and be firm in your convictions. When you do that, you will feel better and also be able to achieve the things you truly desire each day.
7. Take Accountability
Some of the biggest success stories in the world were born out of tremendous failure. People like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Oprah all had to overcome great losses and failures before they found success. But, what really sets people like these apart is that they didn’t run away from their failures or struggles. They acknowledged and accepted them, and worked on getting better. It is important to take accountability and responsibility for your actions. While it might seem easier to blame others when something goes wrong, being accountable will not only improve your mental toughness, but it will push you to learn and grow every single day.
These simple habits can serve as a mental health “fitness regimen” every single day. It can take some time and effort to make these changes a part of your daily routine. But, once you do, you will enjoy being in the best mental shape of your life.