Being mentally strong is sometimes a skill that sneaks up on you.
Maybe life has weathered you and you’ve only managed to hold on and suddenly you’re 5 years older!
Or maybe you went to the mental gym every day and got jacked through dedication and conscious effort. Mental resilience is something complex and can go underappreciated.
Not on my watch!
Here’s 7 things mentally strong people do every day.
1) They practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as a meditation practice where you become intensely aware of your thoughts and feelings – without passing judgment on to them.
There’s many ways you can do this at home:
- Intentional journaling
- Listening to a guided meditation
- Practicing focused breathwork
If you have a set practice that you do daily, it’s proven to stabilize moods and increase general objectivity in your thinking. That kind of dedication to yourself is an indication that you love yourself beyond the surface level!
And I believe that kind of love is strength.
As you grow this love for yourself, it gets a lot easier to make choices in your life that benefit your soul. Whatever that means for you.
I believe this is a great benefit, but I think mindfulness can go a lot further than what you choose to do for work, or what you do between your time at work and your home.
It’s also an incredible tool to help you grow your capacity to hold nuance. That means more space for all of your different selves.
Which brings me to my next point!
2) They make space for all of their different selves.
If you’ve gone through complex situations, you will feel a reflection of that: complex emotions.
That can mean a lot of things. Some days you might feel good, and some not. Life can feel like a rollercoaster.
You might have a lot of contradicting thoughts and opinions. I’m here to tell you that while it may not always feel pleasant, it’s totally normal to experience these things.
The truth is that life is not simple at all and while it seems that’s the goal (because the media is always selling you solutions), it’s important to create and maintain space in your life for many things to be true at once.
Life is not BEDMAS, your negativity doesn’t cancel out your positivity. And it doesn’t work the other way either. If you practice mindfulness, you will build within you an awareness that all thoughts and feelings are signs of what you need.
In a world that values results and instant gratification, these little moments of self-compassion (that aren’t little at all) can go underappreciated.
It takes grace to pause the rest of the world and listen to yourself because you are showing compassion to the parts of you that society has declared as not enough.
Mentally resilient people acknowledge the setbacks they feel, but know that it isn’t the end of the world. Nor are these setbacks a reflection of some singular truth!
So if you’re able to exist as a slew of contradictions, be proud of yourself for existing beyond societal expectations of illusory perfection.
3) They show others patience.
This one was particularly a tough one for me.
As I grew and made room for myself, I felt like I could take on more challenges that I previously felt I wasn’t cut out for. It resulted in me feeling like I couldn’t relate to a lot of people. I felt like I had solutions that they just weren’t taking.
But the truth is that I had only found solutions that made sense for me. Based on my unique perspective, experiences, and preferences. Whether they could work for someone else or not, was for them to find out.
A huge part of mental resilience is flexibility. It’s holding space for others to exist as they are. And a huge part of that is letting go of feeling responsible for their actions in their life.
Codependency is another thing that is normalized in our media. It seems the best and only way to care for someone is to hold them by the shoulders and insist on knowing what’s best for them. But showing people patience means you trust them to be their own person and seeing them as a limitless human being, just as you are.
This part came a lot more naturally when I was able to be patient for myself with ease.
I give advice honestly if I’m asked, but just as I would meet myself where I’m at, I try my best to meet people where they’re at. So long as it isn’t somewhere barren, of course.
4) They speak up for themselves!
Speaking of avoiding somewhere barren, if you’re able to stick up for yourself for the sake of your own wellbeing, I believe that’s another sign that your mental resilience is alive and thriving.
It might seem like holding your tongue and just sticking out uncomfortable situations might be more ideal. But life is not a plank! You do not need to do all that.
The truth is that a lot of us are afraid of being a burden by speaking up. Especially if you belong to a marginalized group, silence was often the line between safety and harm.
It takes a lot of guts to stand up for yourself. Bonus points if you do it for someone else. And this doesn’t have to happen in a conflict. Speaking up can also be something you do by giving yourself a minute before saying yes to someone.
As a recovering people pleaser, saying yes without thinking was one of the ways I really harmed my relationship with myself. A little “one second, I’m just thinking” can go a long way.
And saying yes less often can make room for more of what I’m going to talk about next.
5) They love to have a laugh!
Laughing with yourself, others, at the TV or maybe your cat! They say laughter is the best medicine and I think it’s the only one that you can’t overdose on.
More than sitting in silence, laughter has helped me see situations objectively.
If life was a grayscale, humour makes it feel like colours. I think it’s because when I’m able to laugh at something, it makes it a lot less daunting.
It’s my way of reminding myself, human beings are so serious for a bunch of meat sacks on a floating rock.
And while I believe in being a very serious person in moderation, if you’re able to step back and have a humorous perspective, it’s a huge sign that you’re able to juggle life like a pro. A professional clown, if you will!
Speaking of juggling:
6) They invest their time in hobbies!
I’ve read once that variety is the spice of life, and I do like my food seasoned. Whether you actually juggle, or maybe you listen to true crime podcasts, I think having hobbies is a sign that you can take your mind off of things in a healthy way.
It’s like granting yourself time to be a child for a second and just be curious about whatever it is you’re doing.
Like I mentioned before, mental strength is characterized by flexibility more than brute force!
So if you’re able to balance your time between your obligations and something fun without feeling guilty, you’ve just touched your toes!
And last but certainly not least:
7) They go outside.
I’m not trying to humour you, although if I did, I wouldn’t be mad about it.
I think a lot of us who have been through a lot of hardships can indulge in self-isolation as a means to protect our peace.
And as I keep preaching, flexibility is key.
But sometimes, a little brute force in the form of dragging yourself outside to sit in the sun can do wonders.
And sitting in the sun can be a metaphor! It can be eating 3 meals, organizing your vanity, or googling for self-help articles.
I don’t believe anyone remains stagnant and isolated out of weakness or choice.
If you’ve been through something difficult and you’re still holding on, that’s a sign that you’re incredibly resilient. As someone who has been there, I give this acknowledgement with the utmost sincerity.
But I also encourage you to go outside.
Do you meet yourself where you’re at? Or do you drag yourself where you think you should be?
Mental strength is a huge spectrum that even the wisest and most adorned spiritualist needs to learn to exist on. For themselves and others.
If you stick around and get to know yourself and what you need, I believe you can take yourself anywhere you want to be. Even if that’s a million different places at once.