3 Ways to Increase Your Mental Strength
Being mentally strong plays an important role in many aspects of our life. It can help us get through that never-ending Monday workday, to get through a tough time in our life, or something as simple as a hard workout. Your brain, the control center, sends signals to the rest of your body. If you lack mental strength, your body will give out long before the point of what you are truly capable of. Let’s look at a few ways you can strengthen your mentality.
Think about a marathon for a second. It’s a long grueling race that takes hours to complete. If you think about how long the race will take, or what a toll it will take on your body, negative thoughts will surely enter your mind sooner than later. That Monday workday is no different. If all you focus on is hitting that 5pm mark, the day will drag on. Instead, think short-term.
To do think, focus on the here and now. What little goal can you work on right now to reach the next checkpoint? Maybe it’s finishing that report, taking great notes in a meeting, or passing that next mile mark. Once you reach that checkpoint, focus on the next near-distance marker. Then again, and again. Before you know it, the seemingly enduring event will be over. By focusing on the short-term, you’re not defeated by a seemingly impossible or enduring big picture task. Focus on the short-term to excel in the long-term.
Listen to that Little Voice
We all have that voice in our head that provides us with feedback throughout the day. It can either propel us or hold us back. The key is to recognize and understand what that voice is telling us. If that subconscious voice is telling you that something is hard, then you’ll perceive it as being hard. Likewise, if it tells you that something is easy, you’ll view it as being that way.
When a negative thought enters your mind, recognize that it is there, and then take steps to change it into a positive thought. Instead of thinking, “there’s no way I can complete this task” alter it to, “I can complete this, quite easily in fact, and it will be fun.” What you’re thinking determines how you act, even if you’re not fully in tune with that little voice. Set a starting goal of altering 3 negative thoughts throughout the day, then increase that to 4, 5, and so on. These small mentality changes will lead to big results.
Focus on Breathing
When you’re in the heat of things, the floodgates are open, and the ship seems to be sinking, step back and focus on one thing, your breathing. When you’re stressed you tend to take short, shallow breaths as that “fight or flight” mechanism kicks into gear. It’s hard to think clearly when your entire body is tense and on edge. Again, step back for a second and focus only on your breathing.
To do this, take 5 seconds to slowly and fully inhale your lungs with oxygen. Hold the breath in for 5 seconds, and then exhale for another 5 seconds. After exhaling, hold for 5 seconds before taking your next deep breath. Repeat this 3 or 4 times, taking 60 to 80 seconds to focus solely on your breathing. How do you feel after taking these 3–4 breaths? Relaxed? Clear headed? Calm? Repeat this tactic throughout the day whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed out.