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Mental Strength: a Choice, not a Natural Trait

Are You Looking Outward or Inward?

Hiding from life’s challenges is not realistic. Avoiding them is unproductive. Refusing to acknowledge they exist is unhealthy.

Have you ever met someone who seems to always be moving forward despite setbacks? Do you know someone who collapses at the first obstacle? What makes the difference?

According to many experts, it all comes down to a choice. It involves understanding how your thoughts and emotions affect your behaviors, then consciously choosing your actions. It seems so simple, but getting out of autopilot behaviors is really tough.

So what to do?

The Secret to Mental Strength: Practice

In the aftermath of a divorce, a break up, illness, job loss or other life-altering event, developing mental strength can help a person go from being not only a victim to a survivor, but a thrivor.

Mentally strong people don’t just ‘push through’ whatever the circumstances are by acting tough and alone. They are not isolated or withdrawn. They take the time to really think about the actual situation, what they think about it and how they feel. They manage their thoughts and emotions, so they act productively despite the circumstances, in spite of the circumstances, and especially when they just plain don’t feel like it.

Exercise Your Mental Muscle

Mentally strong people have all the same fears and self-doubts as anyone. Most people are not ‘born’ with a well-developed mental strength, but it can be learned. Despite the fears and self-doubts, they are willing to try, sometimes over and over to reach their goals.

Mentally strong people practice:

1. Self-motivation:

Do it. Don’t ask yourself if you feel like it.

2. Positive attitude:

Don’t waste time on blame, self-pity, look forward. Have self-compassion and self confidence

3. Emotional self-control:

Respond, don’t react. Acknowledge your emotions, choose your actions.

4. Level-headed under stress:

Practice operating under pressure, a little at a time.

5. Enthusiasm for change:

Try looking at the positives change can bring.

How Does Mental Strength Pay Off?

With intentional practice, you can rewire your brain to think your way through a stressful situation, remain optimistic and maintain a positive forward focus.

So, the next time life boomerangs on you, try to think your way through it, not hide from it, avoid it or refuse to admit it happened. It will be a chance to practice and strengthen your mental resiliency. And it will prepare you to face other life challenges.

Curious about your own mental strength? There some great, free tests that can give you some general, non-professional information. Just search “mental strength test” and give them a try.

©Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation

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