As I often reflect, so many of us are intent on exercising to keep fit and healthy, however, we focus this intention far more on our bodies than we do our minds. Our mental strength is equally, if not more, important than our physical strength. Why? Because we need to be mentally strong in order to maintain our motivation for physical exercise, and within our systems our physiological side relies heavily on our emotions, behaviour and thoughts being positive and stable.
We need to recognise our emotional behaviour as having a very big effect on our life and wellness as a whole and manage it. First of all we need to get to know ourselves and understand who our inner beings are if we want to achieve any positive changes.
In order to improve our mental strength there are plenty of things we can work towards; trying to achieve the following healthy habits will set you on the right path.
Who are you?
Knowing and recognising our emotions is the first step to improving our mental strength. Having emotions is not something we ought to hide or disguise, it is something to embrace and understand. Getting to know the reasoning behind your emotions is a huge help in becoming more aware of how they affect our thoughts and behaviour patterns.
Take away the negative
Understanding ourselves comes with realising that any negative feelings or thoughts we may have must come from somewhere. Learning to recognise links between them and situations or people, for example, can help us greatly to flip those ideas and redefine them. Coming to terms with deep-rooted pain, or that particular relationships in our lives have detrimental effects on us is something extremely positive. If we can learn to understand why we feel the way we do, then we are opening up to the possibility that such negativity can be dealt with and re-channelled.
Define your own success
Looking around at our neighbours, colleagues, friends and family for what we define as success is an extremely unhealthy exercise. Wanting to achieve what others perceive as successful should not be your goal, we all need to find our own space in the universe. You need to delve deep into YOU, what are your goals, what are your ideals and what would you consider successful to YOU and you alone? Well, of course you can include your immediate family in that, but you get my drift. We need to be unique and stop comparing ourselves to others.
Whatever it is that you decide defines your personal success in life, whether it be within your career, relationships, fitness, diet, etc., now is the time to begin setting challenges for yourself to begin to work towards those goals. Baby steps are fine, one day at a time is good, just so long as you’re making your way in the right direction. You could even try the “never zero” rule whereby once you start you must do something towards that same aim each and every day, no matter how big or small the effort, it must never be zero!
One huge concept that will hold us back in life is blaming others or outside forces. We need to take full responsibility for our entirety, our actions, our emotions, feelings, behaviour, etc. We must look for reasoning and rational understanding as opposed to finding excuses. Being in control is half the battle and if we’re not our mental strength will suffer.
Keep an eye on where you’re going. Making a journal is a great way to reflect and check on your personal progress. This way you can work out whether the path you’re on is working for you, or whether there are necessary changes or alterations to be made to the plan.
Always remember that you are the only one who matters in terms of who you are trying to prove anything to. Don’t put up with anything just to say that you can, you are not serving anyone by doing so. If something isn’t working for you, you have the power to change it rather than endure it. We also need to know our limitations and how far we allow ourselves to push for a purpose, we can be our own worst enemy if we are expecting too much from ourselves. It is ok to realise when things are too much for you, to recognise our own weaknesses, and it is also perfectly acceptable to ask for help.
Use your knowledge and wisdom within your mental strength, recognise that we only have so much time and energy available and so set goals within your range. Reject that which you cannot change and focus on that which you can.
Practice what you preach
Keep at it, don’t give up and don’t get disheartened. As I once heard quoted, “never be frightened by the size of the task”. It is OK to succeed but equally it is fine to fail, we just need to find the power to get back on the horse and try again; keep working on improving the self while remaining true to your core beliefs and values.
Our mental strength is like a muscle, it may not necessarily be naturally strong, it may take a lot of work to make it so, however, it will be worth the effort if it means a better quality of life full of positivity and meaning. Throw out old habits for new ones in terms of building yourself up and see where your new found power takes you.
Online diploma courses in Mindfulness and Meditation
- Mindfulness: one long term benefit of becoming mindful in our daily lives are the positive changes to our brain function and structure. Mindfulness helps to reduce anxiety and depression and can help us to accept our emotions. View our Mindfulness Course page.
- Meditation: this practice has long been known to improve our psychological balance. The brain produces alpha waves whilst meditating which means the mind is on idle, a state normally experienced in day dreaming. View our Meditation Course page.
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