Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Your physical well-being wouldn’t be as strong and healthy if it just stays still all day and lacks exercise. The same goes for your mental well-being. It takes certain aspects of life to gain mental strength. You can’t control some things, and for the most part, you can.
Your mental strength has something to do with the experiences you’ve been through in the past. So as genetics and your personality. These things cannot be changed, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t give up on your mental strength. Even people with mood disorders can have strong mental capabilities.
What Mental Strength is Not
Mental strength and mental health aren’t the same things. When people with a physical illness—like, let’s say, diabetes or hypertension—can they still practice physical strength? Of course, they can. An ailment isn’t supposed to keep you from developing strength unless the ailment really doesn’t allow you to. The same goes for the mental aspect. Having a mental illness doesn’t stop you from developing mental strength unless you let it.
When talking about mental strength, it doesn’t mean that you have to act like a robot all the time. Not showing vulnerability doesn’t make you mentally strong. Mental strength is about acknowledging these uncontrollable emotions yet not letting them control you. You’re only human. It’s only right and normal for you to feel pain and depression.
Being mentally strong is not about being self-reliant all the time. It’s about admitting you need help too when time gets tough, knowing you don’t have to go through terrible things alone. You can’t isolate yourself from people who care about you because you’re vulnerable. Mental strength is also about sharing bad experiences and negative emotions, then eventually moving past them.
It’s also not about positive thinking as well. Being too positive is a toxic mentality wherein you hide from your vulnerabilities and don’t face them, which can eat you alive over time. Being overly positive is just as poisonous as being excessively negative. Mental strength is about finding balance, thinking realistically and rationally.
Practicing mental strength doesn’t necessarily mean you’re chasing happiness. Finding happiness that’s not there is just as bad as being overly positive. Being mentally strong is supposed to help you be satisfied with your life without forcing yourself to be happy and letting things come naturally.
What It Really Means to Practice Mental Strength
Naturally, it can be exhausting to be consistent in maintaining our mental strength. But that’s okay. Letting go of your emotions doesn’t necessarily mean you’re considered mentally weak. As long as your release doesn’t hurt yourself or other people, you’re good.
It takes courage and a lot of work to achieve such mental strength, especially if you’ve been going through experiences you couldn’t handle. While you’re on the road to that mental strength you’re going for, always remember that it doesn’t have to be a smooth ride. The fact that you’ve decided to get better is already a strength.
This is why it’s very important to take your time and don’t be hard on yourself. Reaching your potential isn’t obtainable overnight. Different people heal at different lengths of time and in different ways to achieve their goals. Like any goal in life, there is no one way to reach it. People can also experience relapses wherein they break along the way. But as long as you get right back down that road, you’re able to achieve it.
It doesn’t matter how long you’re on this journey. In a year, be assured that you’re going to look back on the moment you can’t even get up in the morning.
Practicing mental strength is about being present and having a mindful state of mind. It means having more confidence in yourself and being able to respond to things appropriately and rationally. It’s also about developing good habits to make yourself better.
Trying new things can be a good way to develop mental strength. Perhaps you can take a fitness class, such as meditation classes, online yoga, or online tai chi classes if you want a little physical. If that doesn’t work for you, you can discover ways to express yourself or find new hobbies. Such as journaling, painting, photography, fiction writing, or you can blog to share your experiences and might help someone who’s going through similar things as you are. Having mental strength is also being aware of what you lack and then trying to improve it.
You know your mental strength has improved if you notice that your focus is being distracted by your thoughts. This alone can be difficult to achieve. If there are other things you notice that are improving, don’t forget to acknowledge them and celebrate them as well. Gaining such mental strength is a difficult thing to reach.