8 ways independent thinkers keep themselves mentally strong

Navigating through life’s ups and downs requires a certain degree of mental toughness, and independent thinkers seem to have this in spades.

You’ve probably wondered how they do it, right? How they maintain such a strong mental state amidst the chaos that often surrounds us.

It’s not about having an iron-clad will or being devoid of emotions. Nope, it’s much more nuanced than that.

In fact, it usually comes down to a handful of habits and behaviors that these free thinkers have mastered over time.

Let’s dive into the eight ways independent thinkers keep themselves mentally strong, even when life gets tough. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find a tip or two to incorporate into your own mental strength routine.

1. Embracing solitude

Independent thinkers often hold a deep appreciation for solitude.

This isn’t about being anti-social or shunning human interaction. Far from it.

Rather, it’s about valuing the time spent alone for personal growth and introspection.

Solitude allows for self-reflection, and it’s during these quiet moments that independent thinkers build their mental strength.

They use this time to reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, developing a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

This mindful solitude enables independent thinkers to maintain their mental strength in a world that is constantly demanding their attention and energy.

So if you’ve been shying away from solitude, maybe it’s time to embrace it. Just like independent thinkers do. You might be surprised at how much mental strength you can gain from these moments of quiet introspection.

2. Cultivating self-awareness

Closely linked to embracing solitude, independent thinkers also prioritize self-awareness.

It’s not just about knowing your strengths and weaknesses, but also understanding your triggers, values, and emotional responses.

I remember a time when I was caught in a cycle of habitually reacting to situations without much thought. Whether it was snapping at a colleague who missed a deadline or feeling anxious every time I had to make a big decision, I realized that my reactions were more reflexive than reflective.

But as I started to spend more time in solitude and introspection, I became more aware of my emotional patterns. Slowly but surely, I began to understand why certain situations triggered specific responses in me.

This newfound self-awareness allowed me to anticipate my reactions and manage them effectively. It gave me a sense of control over my emotions rather than allowing them to control me.

Cultivating self-awareness takes time and effort, but it’s one of the most powerful tools an independent thinker can possess for strengthening mental resilience.

3. Embracing change

Aristotle once said, “Change in all things is sweet.” Independent thinkers don’t just understand this concept, they live it.

Change can be a terrifying concept for many of us. It’s often accompanied by uncertainty, doubt, and fear. But independent thinkers perceive change differently.

For me, the realization came rather late. I had always been resistant to change, clinging onto familiarity like a safety blanket. But as I started to embrace the wisdom of Aristotle’s words, I began to see change not as a threat but as an opportunity for growth.

Independent thinkers adapt and thrive in the face of change. They understand that with change comes the chance to learn, evolve, and become mentally stronger.

So whether it’s a new job, a different city, or a drastic shift in your lifestyle, embrace change. It’s sweet indeed.

4. Practicing mindfulness

Did you know that our minds wander approximately 47 percent of the time? That’s nearly half of our waking hours spent on auto-pilot, not fully present in the here and now.

Independent thinkers, however, strive to break this pattern through mindfulness.

Mindfulness is about grounding yourself in the present moment, observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It’s about being fully engaged in whatever you’re doing at any given moment.

I began incorporating mindfulness into my daily routine a few years ago. Whether it was while eating my breakfast, walking to work, or having a conversation with a friend, I made a conscious effort to be wholly present.

And the impact? It was like seeing the world through a new lens. I started noticing details I’d previously overlooked. My interactions improved as I listened more attentively. I even found myself handling stress better because I wasn’t constantly worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.

Mindfulness, as simple as it sounds, is a powerful practice that independent thinkers use to stay mentally strong.

5. Valuing personal growth

The pursuit of personal growth is a never-ending journey for independent thinkers.

They understand that every experience, every interaction, every decision, is an opportunity for learning and self-improvement.

This doesn’t mean they’re constantly chasing perfection. Instead, they’re focused on progress. They’re more interested in becoming a better version of themselves today than they were yesterday.

A few years ago, I adopted this mindset and it’s been a game-changer. I stopped beating myself up over mistakes and started seeing them as invaluable lessons. I began to value feedback, even when it was hard to hear. I started setting personal goals and celebrating small victories along the way.

This commitment to personal growth not only builds resilience but also fosters a sense of fulfillment and self-worth. It’s a key way independent thinkers keep themselves mentally strong.

6. Cultivating resilience

There’s no denying that life can throw curveballs our way. We all face challenges, setbacks, and hardships. But it’s how we respond to these situations that truly tests our mental strength.

Independent thinkers have a knack for bouncing back from adversity. They cultivate resilience by viewing difficulties as temporary hurdles rather than permanent roadblocks.

I’ve had my fair share of obstacles along my journey. There were times when things seemed bleak and giving up felt like the easiest option. But each time, I reminded myself of the way independent thinkers approach such situations.

Instead of dwelling on the problem, I focused on finding solutions. Instead of playing the victim, I chose to learn from the experience and grow stronger.

Cultivating resilience is a choice, one that independent thinkers make consciously and consistently to keep themselves mentally strong. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it in the end.

7. Maintaining a positive outlook

Optimism and mental strength go hand in hand. Independent thinkers know this and strive to maintain a positive outlook, even in the face of adversity.

This doesn’t mean ignoring real-life problems or pretending that everything is okay when it’s not. It’s about choosing to focus on the good, believing in possibilities, and maintaining hope amidst challenges.

I’ve had moments in my life where everything seemed to be going wrong. In those times, it was easy to slip into a negative mindset. But I soon realized that negativity wasn’t solving anything. It was merely adding to my stress and anxiety.

So I started practicing positivity. I began each day by counting my blessings, no matter how small they seemed. I made a conscious effort to look for the silver lining in every situation.

It wasn’t always easy, but with practice, positivity became second nature. And I found that this positive outlook gave me the mental strength to navigate through life’s storms with courage and resilience.

Independent thinkers use positivity as a tool for mental strength. It’s a habit worth cultivating.

8. Nurturing healthy relationships

Finally, independent thinkers understand the value of healthy relationships in maintaining mental strength.

They surround themselves with people who inspire and motivate them, who challenge their thinking and encourage their growth.

I’ve learned the hard way that not all relationships are beneficial. Some drain your energy, cloud your judgment, and impair your mental strength. Cutting ties with such relationships was difficult but necessary for my mental well-being.

On the other hand, nurturing relationships that uplifted me, provided a sounding board for my ideas, and offered support during tough times played a key role in enhancing my mental strength.

Independent thinkers are discerning about who they let into their lives. They prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to relationships. After all, we are influenced by the company we keep.

To stay mentally strong, be mindful of your social circle. Nurture relationships that fuel your growth and let go of those that hold you back.

Final thoughts

There you have it – eight ways independent thinkers keep themselves mentally strong.

These practices aren’t reserved for a selected few. They are habits and mindsets that can be nurtured and developed by anyone willing to put in the effort.

The journey to mental strength is exactly that – a journey. It’s not a destination you reach overnight, but a path you tread, learning and growing with each step.

As you embark on this journey, be patient with yourself. Recognize your progress, however small it may seem. Celebrate your victories and learn from your setbacks.

Remember, the goal isn’t to become perfect. It’s about becoming stronger, more resilient, and authentically you.

So, take a moment to reflect on these practices. Which ones resonate with you the most? Which ones can you start incorporating into your daily routine?

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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