Mental strength is a muscle. The more you flex it, the stronger it becomes.
The habits you cultivate become like exercise to help keep you as mentally fit and strong as possible.
There’s not really a secret to it, it’s more about effort and practice.
This article will share the top habits of mentally strong women that keep them powerful.
1) They practice radical self-acceptance
It’s easy to love our best bits.
But what about the parts of ourselves that deep down we feel embarrassed or even ashamed of?
It’s tempting to try to sweep our feelings about these under the rug.
But radical self-acceptance is where we are courageous enough to face them.
Through this, we may not always find self-love but we can at least strive for acceptance.
It’s ok to want to better ourselves, in fact, it is admirable.
But in order to be happy we need to recognize that nobody is perfect, and we’re all just trying our best.
Rather than choose to beat themselves up for every single perceived flaw, a strong woman strives for something way more courageous.
To embrace her weaknesses too.
To see the truth of who she is — the good, the bad, and the ugly— and offer love and acceptance to each and every part.
2) They watch out for that critical voice inside that seeks to tear them down
The enemy within can be the most destructive.
Living with a little devil on your shoulder who says unkind things to you day-in-and-day-out understandably gets you down.
So a strong woman doesn’t take this criticism lying down — even when it comes from herself.
She knows that it’s not so easy to simply banish this voice. But she has built a habit of creating a dialogue with it.
As crazy as it may sound, answering back this negative self-talk is her secret weapon.
She may tell it to shush or that she doesn’t want to hear it.
At other times she will directly answer it back and find clear reasons why it’s wrong. She’s learned not to take it so seriously.
But one thing is for sure. Her mindfulness towards that potentially damaging inner critic means it doesn’t get to take control.
She decides the narrative of her own life and refuses to be held hostage by its nasty negativity.
3) They feed themselves loving thoughts
Often it’s not enough to simply question negative thoughts.
If you want to be really mentally tough you need to encourage the positive ones too.
The funny thing about mental strength is that it really is a habit. It becomes about cultivating greater awareness.
I’ll give an example:
I consider myself a relatively mentally strong woman. Or at least, I’d say I have healthy self-esteem and try to be good to myself.
But it’s not always easy. Self-criticism can easily sneak in.
As a woman who is now in her forties, I’m increasingly noticing changes in the way I look as I age. Of course, that’s normal.
But I’ve caught myself feeling bad about the lines I can see when I look in the mirror.
So I made a conscious decision. Before criticism had the chance to even enter my mind, I would feed myself loving thoughts.
I’d say to myself something like: “you are beautiful” or simply, “I love you”.
As cheesy as these sorts of positive affirmations might sound, they can make a big difference.
It’s a big bad world out there ladies. We need to be on our own side. And that has to start with the way that we speak to ourselves and feel about ourselves.
Mentally strong women know that to keep their strength, self-care and self-love are non-negotiable.
4) They take total responsibility for themselves
It’s almost impossible to be mentally strong when you are stuck in victimhood.
You are always at the mercy of life. You rely on everything going your way in order to feel good.
You think that the people in your life — whether they are close to you or practically strangers — have the power to break you.
You blame circumstances and make excuses.
Mentally strong women find empowerment in letting the buck stop with them.
That’s not to say that external events or others’ behavior will never impact us. Clearly, it will.
But rather than get stuck playing the victim, mentally strong women choose to take back their power.
They do this through self-responsibility. They remind themselves that nobody can “make” them feel a certain way. Their emotions are their own.
No matter what the circumstance is, they always have a choice. Even if that choice is simply one of acceptance rather than creating more suffering for themself.
This mentality allows them to roll up their sleeves and proactively work to improve their own life, rather than waiting for others to do it for them.
5) They build resilience by pushing their comfort zone and facing their fears
I don’t care how capable, confident, or strong you are — a certain amount of self-doubt is natural.
People who say they never get scared don’t have superhuman strength, they are more likely delusional or just arrogant.
Feeling fear is a natural human instinct. And this can lead us to question and doubt ourselves.
What makes a woman mentally strong?
In a word: Practice.
She builds her strength, her confidence, and her resilience through trial and error.
When she feels fear she doesn’t let it hold her back. In a way, she strives to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
This involves trying to step outside her comfort zone and challenge herself in small ways whenever she can.
6) They strive to show vulnerability even when it feels difficult
Being a mentally strong woman has zero to do with putting on a tough act. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Rather than being merely a surface pretense of strength, it runs deep to their core.
And so mental strength certainly does NOT mean:
— Never asking for help
— Putting on a brave face
— Pretending not to care
Because the reality is that is actually a sign of weakness.
Only the strongest of people have the courage to allow themselves to be vulnerable.
It can feel unnerving, but it helps us to be our authentic selves, build greater empathy, and improve relationships in the process.
In the words of vulnerability researcher and author Brene Brown:
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
7) They remind themselves of everything they’ve got going for them
Staying positive in life is a lot easier when you look on the bright side.
But even looking on the bright side can be easier said than done.
One of the best hacks for maintaining a positive outlook that strong women use is gratitude.
As the proverb goes:
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
It’s like a shortcut to greater peace of mind. Because we can have a habit of noticing all of life’s shortcomings.
Scientists refer to this as our negativity bias, and it’s hardwired into us.
So we might be more inclined to focus on the things we want but don’t have, and all the areas where there’s still room for improvement.
Gratitude works its magic by encouraging us to focus back on what we do have, rather than what we feel we lack.
Just a few times a week, spend time really thinking about your blessings and notice how it makes you feel.
Research has proven that gratitude rewires the brain.
It makes us mentally stronger by releasing us from toxic emotions, along with making us happier, healthier, and better at dealing with adversity.
8) They find healthy ways to release stress, tension, and anxiety
Nobody lives an entirely charmed life.
No matter how grateful you manage to remain, daily frustrations can get to us all. Not to mention those tougher times when it feels like nothing is going your way.
That’s why we need an outlet that lets us release these mounting tensions.
Rather than keep it all bottled up inside, mentally strong women express and release their feelings.
They may do that with:
- Therapy or coaching
- Talking to friends and family
What these things have in common is that they can be great stress busters, and promote greater self-reflection.
Rather than hiding from your feelings, it’s far better to give them a voice.