13 things that mentally strong people don’t do [Infographic]
Facing problems that life puts in front of us is never easy. Many times there are situations that surpass us, and we don't know how to act. Instead of helping us, we resort to some habits that can cause us more problems in the long term.
If we want to grow stronger mentally and better address the obstacles that life puts us, we must eliminate certain habits and attitudes.
In this post, you will find out 13 things that mentally strong people don't do.
Amy Morin, psychotherapist, and author of the book "13 things that mentally strong people don't do", believed that the best way to address problems and difficulties was to identify and subsequently increase our strengths, talents, and support systems in which we affirm to overcome adversities.
After losing her mother, her husband, and her father-in-law, she realized that, in the presence of tragedies and bitter sorrows, focusing on her strengths (without addressing her weaknesses) was not an effective plan.
She understood that if she wanted to get through those anguishes and become stronger than before, she needed to pay attention to the bad habits that were holding her back.
Sometimes mental strength is not found in those things you do but in those you DON'T do.
Complaining about our circumstances, taking on the role of victims, and trying to distract ourselves from pain can make us feel better, but in the long run, this brings us more problems.
Amy learned that a couple of small bad habits might be enough to impede progress. To manage our lives better, it may not be necessary to acquire new routines for existing ones. On the contrary, it is enough to eliminate those routines that obscure our mental strength, and that worsen our health, effectiveness, and productivity.
Becoming mentally strong is achieved by controlling three main focuses: our thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
These are the 13 things that mentally strong people DON'T DO:
1. Don't waste time feeling sorry for yourselves
It is a waste of time to focus on our sufferings and lists our misfortunes. Regardless of these economic, family, work, emotional or health problems, feeling sorry for oneself only makes things worse, generates negative emotions, and corrupts our relationships. Also, by staying focused on the issue, we make it challenging to find a solution.
Going through painful situations is something that we cannot avoid. However, we are always free to decide to control our attitude.
Action: Give thanks for three positive things in your life. Everyday! Write them in a booklet or repeat them out loud every day when you wake up.
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2. Don't waste your power
We are all responsible for using ourselves and controlling our actions. Complaining about the circumstances, how our boss makes us feel, or how much a specific person bothers us is to give others the power over oneself. We must raise our self-esteem, set our goals, and use all our worth to achieve our dreams.
Action: Changing our internal dialogue is key to realize that the decisions we make are ours. Instead of saying I have to go to a meeting, change the phrase, for I choose to go to that meeting. Not going to the meeting can have certain consequences, but finally, it is I who decides to go. This allows us to see our responsibilities and the actions we take from another perspective.
3. Don't run from change
No matter how much fear the changes produce, it is finally fleeing from the change that keeps us stuck and deprives us of growing. The more we develop our tolerance for change and the fear it causes, the more confident we will feel of our ability to adapt and make positive changes in ourselves. Amy states that "the longer you wait, the harder it will become."
Action: The five stages of change, according to Morin: Think about your habits. See them in full. Get ready to change. Take the action of making the change. Be sure to keep it.
4. Don't waste energy on things you can't control
We all like to have things under control, but we can't always control everything that happens in our lives. Wanting to do it creates anxiety and is an unnecessary waste of energy.
Instead of focusing on what we cannot control and respond to the anxiety that this causes us. Better to invest this energy in our immediate surroundings and on what we do have an influence on, which will allow us to better prepare for whatever may life hold us.
Changing our focus away from what we cannot control, decreases our stress, increases our chances, and brings us closer to success in any area of our lives.
Action: Pay attention to the occasions when you are tempted to worry about things you cannot control (for instance, the decisions other people make). Next time this happens, dedicate this energy to something more productive, like working on a project that you wanted to finish or help someone close who needs support.
5. Don't care about pleasing others
Trying to make others happy through actions that do not satisfy us or make decisions based on what others may think of us is the exact opposite of mental hardness. This depletes our mental forces, makes us lose sight of our goals, and makes people easy to manipulate us.
Making decisions based on our preferences and principles regardless of whether this disappoints others requires courage, but living an authentic life requires acting in accordance with our values and principles.
Action: Write down your main values and focus your energies on staying true to them, even if your decisions do not please everyone around you. This will make you stronger and increase your confidence.
6. Don't be afraid to take calculated risks
We often fear taking risks when we perceive fear. Other times we risk more than the account when we discover a new opportunity that excites us.
The key lies in taking risks correctly and knowingly. This means not being carried away by the emotions we feel at the moment, but rather evaluating the possible costs and benefits of each option and based on the result of this evaluation, make a decision. The lack of knowledge about how to calculate risks causes an increase in fear.
Achieving an extraordinary life certainly requires taking risks. Mentally strong people know how to calculate and distinguish better opportunities and what threats hide behind each decision, and take them into account before taking action.
Action: To better analyze a risk, ask yourself: What are the potential costs and benefits? How will this help me achieve my goals? What other alternatives do I have? What would be the best and worst scenario? How could you reduce the risk of the worst-case scenario taking place? Will this matter to me in 5 years?
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7. Don't live in the past
Amy explains that "Living in the past can be self-destructive and prevents us from enjoying the present moment and planning the future." Also, she adds that "it is useless and can cause depression."
Mentally strong people know that learning from the past makes us stronger, and how important it is to make peace with yourself. Either by forgiving someone who caused us harm or by abandoning repentance and forgiving ourselves since this is the key to overcome the emotions that keep us stuck.
However, learning and reconciling with the past is different from continually reliving it and living in it.
Action: The next few times you find yourself negatively reliving your past, take a booklet, and write and answer the following questions: How can I learn from this? How can I grow from this experience, and how could I act in a better way in the future?
8. Don't make the same mistakes over and over again
The author explains that, from the first time we feel ashamed at school for giving an incorrect answer, we learn that mistakes are bad. Therefore we tend to hide or excuse ourselves for them, which prevents us from really learning from them.
Morin explains that reflecting on the mistakes we have made is essential to ensure that we learn from them and that every misstep is an opportunity to grow. It also encourages us to set aside our pride, humbly analyze what we did wrong, and use that knowledge to move forward a little wiser than before. This is what mentally strong people continuously do.
Action: Acquire the routine of each Sunday to sit down and reflect 15 minutes on the mistakes you made during the week, and write down what you learned from them. Performing this exercise will allow you to internalize your mistakes and help you act a little better next time you are in the same situation.
9. Don't feel resentful of others
Although it is not easy to admit, it is not uncommon to feel jealous when listening to a friend talk about his achievements, to learn that they are going to promote a colleague, or to find out that former partner founded a business that made him a fortune.
However, focusing on the resentment of not having achieved those things, only interferes with our ability to achieve our goals, interferes with our path, and causes us to overlook our talents and values.
Resentment is like anger, and that anger remains hidden and bottled.
It is necessary to understand that the fact that others reach their goals does not mean that their achievements minimize yours. If you achieve a certain type of success, but you continue to focus on the accomplishments of others, you may never feel happy.
Action: Write your definition of success. Once you feel confident about that definition, you will stop feeling resentful that others have reached their goals and will stay focused on fulfilling yours.
10. Don't give up on the first failure
Most successful people were rejected again and again before being accepted, and many failed even more times before achieving success. (The Beatles, John Travolta, and Walt Disney are clear examples of this.)
Many of us try to avoid failure at all costs and resign as soon as we suffer our first fall because this lowers our self-esteem. We immediately prefer to return to our comfort zone, and we end up wasting the opportunity to reach our full potential.
Interpreting failure as a defeat, and as a sign that you are not enough reflects a lack of mental strength and Morin explains that recovering from failure makes us stronger.
That is why we must face our defeats, demand beyond our limits, and never let the lack of success define us as people but take it as an opportunity to try again with a little more wisdom.
Action: The next time you feel defeated, write down everything you learned before feeling that failure, that you could do differently next time and be proud to have tried. Not everyone dares to try things and go for their dreams, so value yourself for daring.
11. Don't fear your alone time
Mentally strong people value time with themselves, and although for many, loneliness may feel unproductive or frightening, they take advantage of this silence to reflect on their personal growth, development, and future goals.
Most people avoid silence in their lives and fill their days with distractions; however, being alone with our thoughts can be an enriching experience.
These are some of the benefits that, according to the psychotherapist, loneliness can have: Increase your empathy, Pop your creativity, Offer renewal, Improve your mental health, and increase your productivity.
12. Don't feel that the world owes you anything
Some of us feel that if we have tried hard and endured bad times, then we deserve success. Sometimes we blame the rest of our failures and mistakes; however, we must feel responsible for our circumstances, nobody else.
Waiting for the world to "give you what you deserve" is not the best way to look at things, and as the author says, "Life is not made to be fair." And if some do better than others in life," such is life - but it doesn't mean they owe you something if they handed you a bad hand," says Morin.
How mentally strong people approach life is by focusing on what they can do - without comparing with what others have - striving to achieve their goals, accepting criticism, and recognizing their shortcomings.
Action: Write down the following sentence on a page and read it every morning: "I am responsible for my life and my circumstances, and day by day I direct my efforts to achieve my goals, and I commit myself not to look guilty and establish myself as the architect of the work of my life."
13. Don't expect immediate results
Go step by step and be aware that each small improvement contributes to the achievement of your goals. Achieving lasting and real changes takes time, and it is for this reason that it is crucial to stand firm towards our goals and not be fooled if immediate results aren't achieved. Mentally weak people tend to be impatient.
Action: Propose small victories day by day, write them down on a large calendar that looks every day of the year. The key is to cross out every day you meet the small victory and keep the chain of days crossed out.