Life is a rollercoaster. Sometimes we enjoy the highs; other times, we deal with the pains of the lows of life. As a reaction to these moments, we experience emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. But because of negativity bias, we tend to dwell more on negative rather than positive emotions. This reduces our motivation and causes a loss of focus on the most important things in life.
However, as part of human life, we must learn to grit our teeth through difficult times and risk stagnancy. Mental strength is essential in controlling negative emotions and helping deal with life challenges better. With a high prevalence of mental issues globally, mental strength is a critical skill that helps to be resilient in every aspect of life.
Here are five habits that can make you a tough nut to crack, even amidst adversity.
Meditation has been used for centuries, for example, in Buddhism, one of the largest and oldest religions. Buddhists believe that meditating frees us from suffering. In recent times, however, yoga has been the most renowned form of meditation. Generally, meditation is best for isolating an unwanted negative psychological state to accomplish clarity, awareness, and relaxation.
Neuroplasticity in meditation
Neuroplasticity is a scientifically proven phenomenon that results from meditation. Your brain can be rewired to be more positive and relieve you from negative feelings like anxiety and sadness through mindfulness concentration.
Less negative emotions
Meditation helps you focus, understand what you feel, and deal with your emotions. You can then successfully avoid sad feelings and focus on the positive ones instead. This is particularly useful when you need motivation. Meditation also helps in clearing out stress to avoid mental breakdowns.
Meditation is known to help clear a clouded mind, allowing you to increase your concentration. For example, it can help an athlete focus on the race and compete even after receiving bad news.
2. Connection with nature
Whenever you think about a vacation, your mind probably automatically goes to a sandy beach, rocky mountains, and wild animals. This is because there is a sense of relaxation that nature provides. For example:
· A simple, early morning walk at the park can help lower stress levels and concentrate better. Listening to birds chirp is known to improve mental well-being.
· The splashing sound of ocean waves provides tranquility.
· Breathing in the fresh air in a park or garden can help clear the mind.
· Swimming in the ocean or relaxing on a sandy beach is refreshing.
Subsequently, we cannot overlook that people tend to be more productive at the workplace after a vacation break. Hence, it’s certain that a regular connection with nature will do the magic for you.
Connection with nature doesn’t always happen outdoors. If you are a pet person, you can always count on your fur buddy to help you handle stress. Pets can make you more responsible, social, and outgoing, which helps avoid cabin fever, or prolonged confinement indoors, which is known to cause depression. If you don’t have a domestic animal but want to have one, cats and dogs are the best options. If you can’t decide whether you’re a cat person or a dog person, this research from Nuwber will help you out.
3. Attainable goals
When chasing results, it is easy to experience negative feelings that can lead to procrastination and the feeling of mediocrity. However, setting attainable goals helps with achieving the mental resilience you need to hit every target you’ve set. For example, setting a goal of 20 push-ups a day is achievable and a motivation to do an extra set after the challenge is beaten.
Setting realistic and achievable goals is a psychological technique to motivate yourself to push through the limits via small manageable challenges. This improves confidence and self-efficacy. On the other hand, setting unrealistic and tough goals will frustrate and demoralize you into quitting.
4. Being positive
Negativity poisons the mind. Being pessimistic about your abilities heightens self-doubt and anxiety, which may cause depression. Always be optimistic about yourself and face challenges with your chin up. Positivity trains the mind to focus on the positive and avoid feelings of anxiety, stress, and worthlessness.
Words of affirmation to self can rewire the conscious and subconscious mind to be more positive, motivated, and stronger for any challenge. For example, repeating words like “I am strong” and “I am worthy of love” can help your mind embrace positivity. Even celebrities like supermodel Miranda Kerr and singer Jennifer Lopez use affirmations to make their days a bit brighter and more positive.
Dealing with Imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is a condition that makes one constantly doubt one’s competence and abilities. Dwelling on such negativity is harmful to your mental health. Instead, focus on your merits to positively counter all the negativity you are dealing with.
Avoidance of learned helplessness
Learned helplessness is a psychological state where repeated exposure to a stressful condition makes one give up on finding new solutions. However, you can use learned optimism to overcome this condition. Try to be affirmative and let your brain come up with new problem-solving methods to beat your challenges.
5. Working out
Even though the idea has always been “mind over matter,” physical exercises can greatly benefit mental strength. Heading to the gym and working up a sweat is a good idea, and here are the benefits of physical activity:
- Stimulates the release of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine to help keep mental toughness when produced in optimum quantity.
- Helps clear the mind and focus on the moment, making it easier to relax.
- Improves confidence and self-esteem.
- Helps fight loneliness, as you socialize with other people who come to the gym.
- Slows down cognitive decline.
Stress is an inevitable occurrence in our lives. As such, we must develop coping mechanisms to help us regain our clarity of mind during such times. Regularly applying some of the strategies in this article is an excellent place to start. This helps build resilience and avoid mental breakdowns and moments of mental paralysis. In the face of the current world problems, mental strength is a huge concern for society. Subsequently, strive to be optimistic even amidst challenges to help your mind generate toughness to overcome difficulties.
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