Being mentally tough isn’t a quality one develops overnight.
Like anything of value in this life, gaining it requires dedication–and the active acceptance of new ways of thinking and behaving.
Once you get there, you’ll be armed to deal with the inevitable curve balls life throws your way, without having to depend on anyone else.
In this article, I’ll take you through some of the behaviors mentally strong people never engage in.
When you have an awareness of what habits to avoid, you’ll be in a far better position.
Let’s dive in!
Here’s the thing: You don’t achieve greatness by putting things off.
When you procrastinate and watch opportunities pass you by, you’re creating unnecessary stress and anxiety for yourself.
Personally, when I delay things, I feel bad about myself–which only spirals into regret, demotivation, and ironically, more procrastinating. A toxic cycle.
And when I do actually finish tasks in a prompt manner, not only do I feel more peace internally, but I also gain a sense of accomplishment and the rhythm to keep going.
This opens the door for more positive feelings, like enhanced focus and an overall boost in my mental strength.
2) Engaging in negative self-talk
Have you heard of the Illusory truth effect?
Well, in short, it refers to people’s tendency to believe false information after they’ve been told it enough times.
In today’s world, the illusory truth effect is typically used by news media outlets or politicians who want to shape public opinion on certain matters.
But it can also apply to the views we hold about ourselves.
If, for instance, you have a finite way of thinking about yourself, i.e. “I’m a loser, nobody likes me” or “I’m just a bad person” — this can destroy your mental resilience, even if it’s untrue.
Negative self-talk is a horrible habit–and one that can stunt your growth.
It’s normal to feel blue every now and then, but when the self-loathing becomes a pattern, this isn’t sustainable.
Actively cultivating more optimistic and accurate views of your capabilities and achievements is the move here.
For every negative thought about yourself, think of five more positive ones.
You got this.
3) Comparing yourself to others
Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that comparison is indeed the thief of joy.
We, however, currently live in the golden age of comparing.
Through social media, we’re being exposed to people’s best versions of themselves on an almost per-second basis.
Prolonged subjugation to such madness can create feelings of inadequacy, envy, and even resentment.
I think we’ve all been there to some degree.
But remember, the digital world is not often an accurate portrayal of the reality of things.
The majority of content people upload is often deeply exaggerated and meticulously curated.
Concentrate on yourself and your own journey and improvement, instead of being excessively caught up in what others are doing.
Delete your socials if you feel it’s necessary.
Trust me, you’ll feel mentally stronger in no time.
4) Resisting change
Real talk: Mentally strong people tend to embrace and evolve with change instead of resisting it.
When you’re mentally weak, you might not be inclined to think critically–instead, you stick to established norms.
I wouldn’t exactly call myself religious but over the years, I’ve come to grow a mild fondness for Pope Francis.
Instead of clinging to the ultraconservative Catholic status quo like previous popes, he has taken quite progressive stances on the LGBTQ community, refugees, capitalism, the environment, etc.
It’s a breath of fresh air in a traditionally uptight institution that for centuries has been hung up on rigid theology and doctrines.
By breaking away from the mold, Pope Francis is showcasing a great deal of mental fortitude–all the while breathing new life into the Church, making it more accessible to the next generation.
5) Pleasing everyone
Mentally vulnerable people might feel the need to be “friends” with everyone they come across.
Maybe the superficial exchange of pleasantries gives them some fleeting fulfillment.
But the fact is, trying to meet everyone’s expectations is tiring, impractical, and not fair to oneself.
Personally, I’m naturally wary of the person who is buddy-buddy with everyone; something about it just feels a little disingenuous.
When you strive to please everyone, you’re often sacrificing your own sense of authenticity and integrity.
So be yourself. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat every now and then. Society needs it.
Take it from wartime UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Weak-minded people tend to overthink.
They can spend hours at a time, ruminating and obsessing over meaningless details, often without taking action.
They also worry excessively over things they have no control over; they might dwell on the past or be overly concerned about the future.
Intrusive thoughts are powerful, and if your mind isn’t trained to combat them they can overcome and debilitate you.
Mentally strong people know how to recognize these thoughts and diligently shift their focus rather than succumb to them.
7) Avoiding difficult conversations
The strongest people I’ve encountered in life are almost always effective communicators.
They don’t sweep uncomfortable issues under the rug, hoping for the best, as this tendency can lead to strained relationships.
They bite the bullet and tackle problems head-on, which often means faster resolutions–something that takes courage and assertiveness.
Avoidance almost always means exacerbation.
For instance, my ex and I were horrible communicators.
Looking back, I can say that the final stretch of our relationship was equally miserable for us both.
Our romance had run its course.
We were left coasting through the days in limbo, silently building resentment towards each other.
For about a year, our relationship felt deeply strained, uncomfortable, and even awkward.
We both sort of knew the end was inevitable, but we did nothing proactive about it, drawing out our suffering.
Moral of the story?
For your own sake, always seek to communicate instead of ignore things–or they’ll likely spiral out of control, making a smaller problem a much bigger one.
8) Fearing failure
People with shaky dispositions are often deathly afraid of failure.
Maybe they’ve taken risks in the past and failed and let that feeling define them.
The mentally strong person realizes that failure in life is always a possibility; it’s how they respond to adversity that counts.
Do you lick your wounds and retreat after shortcomings, or do you use your blunders as platforms for growth?
If it’s the latter then, you’re acting like a mentally strong person.
Think of some of the greatest innovators in history who have overcome failure: Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah, and Stephen King, to name a few.
If these illustrious names didn’t have the mental strength and resilience to persist through rejection, the world would be deprived of their unique gifts.
To be physically strong is great, I mean who doesn’t want a chiseled physique and low body fat?
But being mentally strong is on another level.
When you’re mentally strong, you’re fully equipped for the trials and tribulations of life, like a Navy Seal going to battle.
So if you want to get there, start working on eliminating the above behaviors gradually.
Take it a step at a time. Celebrate milestones.
Once you make the transition, you’ll never look back.
- 10 you’re on the right path in life, even if it doesn’t feel like it
- 10 non-obvious signs that someone is a deep thinker
- 11 things you shouldn’t do when you’re frustrated (because you’ll eventually regret it)
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.