Now more than ever, we need to develop Mental Strength during tough times. While mental health is an important and popular topic nowadays because it can make you happier, less stressed and emotionally stable, it is quite different from Mental Strength or “Grit”, which is the trait that helps you stay strong, endure hardships, persevere and succeed against all odds—-something that we can all learn from Olympic Champions like Hidilyn Diaz (Congrats, Champ!).
Mental Health vs. Mental Strength
Mental Health focuses on emotional, psychological and social well-being. It helps people manage stress and stay sane. Keen awareness of mental issues and immediate response to relieve stress or trauma can help prevent mental breakdown and even save lives of people who are vulnerable to clinical depression, mental illness and suicidal tendencies. This is an important issue that should not be neglected. But at the same time, it should not be abused, used as a “popularity symbol” and made as an excuse by others because this impacts people who are truly afflicted and in need of help.
Mental Strength, on the other hand, focuses on being tough amidst adversity. It does not aim to take away tension or stressors. In fact, mental resilience or “grit” manifests itself when people rise above challenges and powers through tough times. Mental Strength builds character. It is what differentiates whiners vs. winners. A person with Mental Strength prepares for trials and test and works hard without always complaining. It is an essential trait of champions. It helps people achieve things and go beyond ordinary feats. It makes you mentally, emotionally and psychologically strong as a person.
Building Mental Strength
Mental Strength is not something you are born with. It is developed as you go through life and its challenges. Here are 7 ways to build Mental Resilience:
1) Self Awareness – Pay attention to your true thoughts, feelings and motivation. It’s okay to experience several emotions but make sure to identify and process them to make good decisions that is best for you.
2) Physical Health – A strong body leads to a strong mind. Develop healthy habits that will help you be physically fit which will then lead you to become mentally and emotionally healthy.
3) Focus on Solutions, Not Problems – Dwelling on problems, complaining about issues, whining and self-pitying are just drama that can fester and deplete your energy if you allow it to drag on. Instead, nip things in the bud and focus on finding solutions.
4) Compartmentalize – When faced with a problem, challenge or difficulty, make sure to pause and think about it with the right perspective. Work to fix each problem area. Separate and define each problem Do not lump it all up as one giant burden on your shoulders.
5) Attitude of Gratitude – If you have a grateful heart, you won’t complain, whine or whimper too much. You would feel lucky and strive to be worthy of the blessings. This will make you mentally healthier and happier.
6) Support Coach – Ask for help from people who can be honest with you and challenge you to grow. If you want to build mental strength, cuddlers, enablers and yes-men will hinder you from truly achieving what you are capable of or of taking the often difficult but right path.
7) Prayers – Praying (or getting in touch with your center) sharpens your mind and resolve. By thinking and saying your intentions, you pull in the strength and let the world surround you with a positive force that you can believe in, which in turn makes you mentally strong.
Facing Challenges Head On
There are so many ways to make yourself mentally resilient but ultimately, it is about facing challenges bravely even if you are afraid… and believing that you will survive and eventually thrive each hurdle at a time. Trials and tribulations will pass by and you will surpass these if you power through. Be strong and stay healthy. You can do it!