Let’s get one thing straight: Mental strength is a process and not an innate quality.
In our everyday lives, our mental and emotional rigor are tested by people we socialize with. It is our reactions to those situations that define who we are as people.
It’s natural to want the best things for ourselves: better friends, a better job, better pay. On the other hand, these things aren’t easy to achieve especially when you feel like you can’t change your life. Breaking the norm and changing your lifestyle to achieve greater things requires qualities that most strong people have.
Instead of looking down at obstacles, they see these as challenges they could use to build up character and skill. Negativity is non-existent because bad forces in life turn out to be potential learning opportunities.
This is just one of the habits strong individuals routinely exercise to keep their head above water.
Below are more personality traits you (and any other strong person) could grow into:
1) They are optimistic
The world is a terrible place, as most news outlets would report. Nonstop famine, war, sadness, and crime are reported from all around the globe.
This barrage of negative vibes makes it hard to have a positive outlook on life, but strong people know better than to let bad events affect them.
The world may be a bad place, but strong-willed individuals understand that getting caught up in these things won’t magically transform all humans into peace-loving creatures.
Instead of trying to change things they can’t control, strong people shift their focus on their individual pursuits instead of worrying about the world.
2) They don’t need validation
There’s a saying that goes, “If you make enemies in your life that’s when you know you’re doing something right.” People are made differently, which makes it pretty inevitable to get into disagreements with people.
The fact is, you can’t please everyone, so why even bother fitting in every single social circle in the first place?
Social anxiety is one thing, but trying your hardest to get praise and admiration from everyone around you is another. Holding on to these emotions leads to stress and can have dire impacts on your general well-being.
(To learn how to let go of what people think about you, read this brilliant advice from a spiritual master here)
3) They understand the value of rest
Nowadays, we associate all-nighters with success because our culture has changed the way we look at productivity, where more hours automatically means a job well done..
Still, our bodies haven’t changed and we still need enough work to function throughout the day.
Multiple studies have proved time and time again that sleep deprivation affects concentration, focus, and willpower. People who don’t get enough sleep are literally less mentally tough than people who enjoyed an 8-hour shut eye.
4) They don’t rely on caffeine for energy
Too much caffeine in your system automatically releases adrenaline into your body. This causes you to go into a state of fight-or-flight, in which you make a decision based on speed and quickness rather than rationality. As great as this may be in a life-or-death situation, it’s not so great when you’re struggling with an important decision in your everyday life.
Caffeine takes away some of the strength you have over your decision-making and limits how well you can think. People who are mentally strong know to avoid caffeine, especially on days when they need full control of their thoughts.
5) They Don’t Need An Apology to Move Forward
A lot of people concern themselves with grudges; who did what, how they were hurt, what they deserve, and the pain that was caused them.
But this takes a lot of time and emotional turmoil, which brings you down and limits your happiness. It’s stress that you don’t need, stress which can bring you mental and physical consequences. So instead of waiting for an apology, just move forward.
6) They Keep Their Bodies Fit
It was recently found at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute that individuals who engage in intense physical activity at least twice a week were more intellectually, socially, and athletically fit.
They had a better perception of themselves, rating themselves physically and mentally higher than those who didn’t exercise, and the confidence brought upon by their fitter bodies helped them with general mental toughness.
7) They Never Stop Anyone From Having Fun
Being the master of your own happiness means that you don’t care about the joy and experiences of others. Those who are weak-minded spend too much time dwelling on whether others are experiencing better joys than them. But those who have the mental toughness to think about themselves and make their own experiences the best they can be couldn’t care less about what other people are doing.
Jealousy and resentment can sap your own joys in life. Wasting your energies on these negative emotions pulls you down as well, so why do it at all?
8) And They Never Let Anyone Stop Them From Having Fun
Experience life the way you want to experience it. Live life to the fullest, and take advantage of every bit of joy and happiness you have.
Mentally tough people don’t let the thoughts and opinions of others define the way they experience situations; instead, they let themselves be the judge of how they feel and how they act.
No matter what people think, that will never change the reality of how you are.
9) They Let Themselves Fail
Some of us are terrified of failure. We don’t want to lose and don’t want to be laughed at, to the point that we can’t stand the act of participating at all.
But people who are mentally strong have no fear of failure. In fact, they embrace it: they understand that each failure is a lesson for them, adding value to their overall character.
10) And They Don’t Obsess Over Their Mistakes
With failure comes mistakes. We all make mistakes, but the way we approach mistakes defines our relationship with them.
For some of us, we are intrinsically terrified of mistakes and failure, and we refuse to even try, in the fear of doing something wrong.
But mentally tough people make mistakes, just like the rest of us do; the difference, however, is that they don’t let their mistakes define them. They learn from them and move on.
(If you’re looking for specific actions you can take to stay in the moment and live a happier life, check out our best-selling eBook on how to use Buddhist teachings for a mindful and happy life here.)
11) They Love Change
Adapting is the favorite thing to do of the mentally tough individual. Being afraid of change can limit what you can achieve in life, so instead of fearing it, they look for every opportunity to unravel it.
12) They Know When To Say No
When your boss asks you to do something, you might have this built-in feeling that you simply can’t say no.
But mentally tough people know that “no” is important. “No” is the affirmation that you care about your own time and space, and you know when to protect your personal wants and needs rather than letting themselves be taken advantage of. Secondly, they also know how to say “no” to vices.
Sometimes, enough is enough.
13) They Get Rid Of Toxicity
Toxic people are anchors to our lives; their toxicity brings us down, and if we don’t watch out, they can turn us into toxic people as well. Mentally tough people have realized this, and do everything in their power to cut toxic people out.
They don’t allow their anger or frustration to build chaos within themselves and know how to separate the toxicity of others from their own true, healthy feelings.
14) They Are Confident No Matter What
Confidence is something that comes and goes for some of us, depending on the day or the compliment we receive. But mentally tough people create their own confidence, and it’s something that lives with. They also inspire confidence in others, making them better leaders and role models.
15) And They Have High Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is one of the most important qualities of a mentally tough individual. Knowing how to understand and tolerate the actions and thoughts of others is key towards controlling your own emotions.
And the great thing about EQ is that it is something you can develop and learn. Unfortunately, not many people have strong EQ; it was found in a recent study that just 36% of people can accurately identify their own emotions while they are feeling them.
Now that you’ve read about the habits of mentally tough people, check out our recent article on how to get over social anxiety.
(If you’re looking for a structured, easy-to-follow framework to help you find your purpose in life and achieve your goals, check our eBook on how to be your own life coach here).
For more inspirational articles on mindfulness and self-improvement, like Hack Spirit on Facebook.
New eBook: The No-Nonsense Guide to Using Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy for a Better Life
If you want to learn more about eastern philosophy and how it can help you reduce anxiety and stress, check out my new eBook: The No-Nonsense Guide to Using Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy For a Better Life.
By unwrapping iconic Buddhist teachings, this eBook focuses on specific actions you can take to alleviate stress, cultivate healthier relationships, and live a more satisfying life.
Sign up to Hack Spirit's daily emails
Learn how to reduce stress, cultivate healthy relationships, handle people you don't like and find your place in the world.