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5 Exercises for Mental Strength

5 Exercises for Mental Strength

The conversation about mental health is finally out in the open, at least compared to decades past. But what's not often discussed is a clear definition of mental strength. Mental strength means that you regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances. Developing mental strength is about finding the courage to live according to your values and being bold enough to create your own definition of success.

First and foremost, you need to know this – you're stronger than you think. And with the right tools, you'll quickly start to think strong in day-to-day life.

Here are five tips that can get you started.

  1. Evaluate your core beliefs.

    Core beliefs develop over our lifetime and largely depend on past experiences. These beliefs influence our thoughts, behavior and even emotions. Sometimes, core beliefs can be unproductive or inaccurate depending on the strong emotional ties they may have. For example, if you believe that you'll never succeed in life, you may be less apt to apply for new jobs – and inadvertently, you may not present yourself well during job interviews. Therefore, your core beliefs may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Identify and evaluate your core beliefs. Look for beliefs that are black and white, and then find exceptions to the rule so they become productive to your end goals.

  2. Use your mental energy wisely.

    Wasting brain power ruminating about things you can't control drains mental energy quickly. Save your mental energy for productive tasks, such as solving problems or setting goals. When your thoughts aren't productive, make a conscious effort to shift your mental energy to more helpful topics. The more you practice expending your mental energy wisely, the more it will become a habit.

  3. Replace negative thoughts with positive and productive ones.

    Although most of us don't spend time thinking about our thoughts, increasing your awareness of your thinking habits proves useful in building resilience. Catch your negative thoughts before they spiral out of control and influence your behavior. Identify and replace overly negative thoughts with thoughts that are more productive. The process can be instrumental in helping you become your best self.

  4. Practice tolerating discomfort.

    Being mentally strong doesn't mean you don't experience emotions. In fact, mental strength requires you to become acutely aware of your emotions so you can make the best choice about how to respond. Practice behaving like the person you'd like to become. Instead of saying, “I wish I could be more outgoing,” choose to behave in a more outgoing manner, whether you feel like it or not. Some discomfort is often necessary for the greater good and tolerating that discomfort will help make your vision a reality, one small step at a time.

  5. Reflect on your progress daily.

    Create time to reflect upon your progress toward developing mental strength. At the end of each day, ask yourself what you've learned about your thoughts, emotions and behavior. Consider what you hope to improve upon or accomplish tomorrow. Reflecting upon your progress can reinforce your ability to reach your definition of success while living according to your values.