What is mental strength? According to Dr. Amy Morin, mental strength means that you regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances. Mental Strength can be a fantastic tool, as it can be a powerful resource to be used by leaders or business executives, that so often find themselves put in the midst of various types of crisis. If one wants to, it is possible to develop your mental strength, but that doesn´t come with no effort or a miraculous decision. It implies that you are committed to discipline your thoughts and emotions in a productive way. In this article we will talk about 5 powerful ideas that can help you to develop your mental strength:
1. Know Your Fundamental Concepts
What are your fundamental concepts about yourself, and the world in general? Do you know them? Whatever these are, be aware that these are formed based on your past experiences, memories and the thought patterns you have inherited from your family and community. Those ideas are beliefs that shape who you are, your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. To examine them might be useful, as some of these are very unproductive, particularly the ones that are self-deprecating. The negatives ideas you have about yourself might become a prophecy. The question is that not all of us are actually aware of our fundamental concepts. Try to understand and access them. Some of these concepts might be radical affirmations such as: “I am really bad at interviews.” This concept comes out of a binary type of approach to the world that is actually very different from reality, which is more nuanced. Taking upon the example of being bad at interviews, if you detail through the use of various adjectives, your reactions to interviews, the description you will get is much more accurate and complex. If you want to modify your fundamental concepts about yourself, first you have to identify them in a detailed way, and then make a clear set of strategies that will help you change them.
2. Use Your Mental Energy The Best Way Possible
Every activity you do throughout your day is using the energy you have stored in your body. On a quantitative level, to sit on a chair worrying about “safety for tomorrow” will make you spend as much mental energy as when you are writing a post, making a drawing or playing with your son. In order to maximize your energy in the best possible way, you need to be clear about what you can solve, and what you cannot solve. If you have to solve a problem that is within your control, that energy is going to be spent in a productive way. Otherwise it is just a waste of time. If you notice that your thoughts aren´t being productive, just gently push them back into a more productive activity you need to do. What will happens next is fantastic: you will see that as you spend your energy in a more productive way, to manage your energy in a highly effective way, becomes an habit.
3. Replace the Negative/Positive Mind Set By the Productive/creative One
Sometimes we tend to see things through a binary approach to life, that tends to quickly classify the events we experience in our daily life, as being positive or negative. This can influence us into reinforcing in our minds black and white types of thoughts, and some of these can be quite negative such as: “ life is a jungle” or “ I am slow in my work”. What happens is that those negative thoughts are precisely the ones that can prevent you from more easily achieving your full potential, as they function as barriers that waste your energy in a fruitless way. To just replace them with positive ones, doesn’t work, as to be always positive might be stressful and not realistic. The ideal is just to become aware of whatever thought crosses your mind. As you become more self-conscious of yourself through the development of an accepting mind set that can “see” your thoughts, you might begin shifting to a different state of mind: the one of being in touch with your intuition as the source of your potential as a productive and creative person.
4. Exercise boldness by stepping out of your comfort zone
To step out of your comfort zone means here to be in touch with your emotions. If you are deeply aware of your emotions, you can use them in a more helpful way to yourself, as you know how to control them and what emotions to use. As you become aware of your feelings, your mental power increases. But first you have to exercise being in touch, in a detached way, with your emotions, which means to look at those emotions. The best way to “see” your emotions, is to observe their manifestations in your body. For example, when you experience fear what do you feel? In my case, I feel an increased heartbeat. Mental strength becomes stronger, when you become at the same time aware and detached from your emotions, which frees you to behave in whatever way you want. To know your emotions might be very useful when you venture yourself into new areas that are unknown to you. Novel experiences might trigger strong emotions of fear, discomfort, and insecurity. The question is that because of those emotions, you might be preventing yourself from trying new things that might be beneficial for you and you might loose opportunities. To increase your mental power, you can exercise being bold, knowing beforehand that you might experience discomfort. A nice exercise is to practice on your daily life, the person you want to become. Instead of saying: “Oh I wish I was less unsecure” practice being more secure. Its by practicing being secure repeatedly, that you become that secure person you so much want to be. And as you practice it, you might discover in yourself the tools to become what you want.
5. Access Your State of Mind
Our world is a busy world, always spinning with information, meetings and deadlines. How to access what is going on in your mind when always in the midst of such a swirl of activity? If you want to, it is just a question of creating some quiet space to yourself. Find a spot where you can have some solo time, just a few minutes each day and ask yourself what you have learned about your emotions, behaviors, thoughts. To reflect regularly on the way you are changing will help you to know yourself in a better way and increase your personal power.
If you decided to make an effort to consistently use these ideas, applying them to your life on a regular basis, you will see how after some time your mental strength will improve. This will be very beneficial to your business life, as you will be extremely empowered and resourceful when having to deal with unexpected challenges.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.