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How to become mentally strong

Wellness - By Audrey Masitsa
You have the power to control how you react to situations around you (Photo: Shutterstock)

At the beginning of each year, most of us come up with a list of goals we want to accomplish. However, as the year wears on and we have to deal with the curve balls life throws at us, we end up forgetting our resolutions, leaving us feeling unfulfilled come the end of the year.

After years of feeling like I have failed, and a desire not to have the same resolutions year in, year out, I decided to look for a different approach.

If you’re struggling to maintain the same momentum you had when you first set your goals, you might want to look at self-discipline. According to Psychology Today, your body cannot do what your mind doesn’t tell it.

Discipline is the glue that bridges the gap between the desire to accomplish a goal and actually achieving them. For you to be disciplined, you need to be mentally strong. Mental strength, like physical strength, comes with a lot of practice.

Below are ways you can become mentally strong and, as a result, accomplish your goals and become mentally healthy.

1. Practice gratitude

It’s very easy to get caught up in all the difficult things that are happening in the world that you forget how to recognise the good things that happen every day. Make it a habit to write down at least three things you’re grateful for every day. You can do this in a journal or write them down on pieces of paper that you put in a jar. At the end of the year, go back and read your little gratitude notes and remind yourself of all the things you celebrated during the year.

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2. Say positive things to yourself

Get into the habit of saying positive things to yourself (Photo: Shutterstock)

When was the last time you stood in front of the mirror and told yourself how beautiful you are? Or have you ever sat back and admired a piece of work you’ve done and given yourself a pat on the back?

Get into the habit of saying positive things to yourself. You will become more aware of your strengths giving you even more confidence to make the necessary decisions in your life to meet your goals. And when negative self-talk creeps up, counter it with more positive thoughts.

3. Practice mindfulness

When you practice mindfulness you choose what you want to focus on instead of letting your surroundings dictate this. According to Inc.com, when you practice mindfulness you have a curious, non-judgemental, accepting and open attitude towards everything. For instance, you can choose to be mindfully happy by focusing on those moments when you felt at your happiest. Indulge yourself in these thoughts and notice how your body and mind responds to this.

4. Look at challenges as stepping stones

I’ve been there. You face a challenge and all you can do is worry about overcoming it, or you recall every challenge you’ve faced in life. To build your mental strength, change your perspective on challenges. Look at them as a propeller to the next phase of your life, a step closer to your goals and a learning opportunity.

5. Do at least one tough task every day

To increase mental strength, do one tough task each day (Photo: Shutterstock)

Just like you grow physical strength by exercising your body’s muscles, you will increase your mental strength by exercising your brain. One way to do this is by doing one tough task each day. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and push boundaries by doing something you find difficult. This will teach you how to handle stress and prove to you that you can accomplish even those things that don’t come easily to you.

6. Take control of your reactions

You can’t control what happens to you or how people treat you but you can control how you react. Practice how to react positively no matter what is happening.

7. Practice self-care

Before you give to others you need to give to yourself. You cannot give what you don’t have. Ensure that you make time for yourself every day. This could be as simple as ensuring your surroundings are tidy, taking a nice long bath/shower, spending 10 minutes alone, reading a chapter of your book, etc. The options are endless and they don’t have to be complex or break the bank.

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