Mental strength trainers are a real thing and probably the best of them is a woman. Amy Morin had already build a career in psychotherapy, but it was an article she wrote in 2013 called 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do that made her world-famous.
She later gave an inspiring TEDx talk and penned a bestselling book with the same title. But Morin had to work hard on her own mental strength.
“When my mother passed away, my interest in mental strength became more personal. At 26, I was widowed and wanted to find out how to turn my struggles into strength so I could still live a happy life, despite the grief and pain,” says Morin.
Nowadays, Morin manages her thoughts and regulates her emotions through a daily practice of mental strength exercises.
Scroll down for her advice on jumpstarting your own mental workout plan.
A DYI mental fitness test
“There are three parts to mental strength; thoughts, feelings” and behavior Morin says.
Thoughts: Do you call yourself names? Do you experience a lot of self-doubt? Do you make catastrophic predictions?
Emotions: Do you struggle to tolerate uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, embarrassment, or anger? Do you spend a lot of time dreading things you don’t want to do?
Behavior: Do you have trouble reaching your goals? Do you give up once you stop feeling motivated?
If you have some “yes” answers, it’s a sign you could benefit from mental strength building exercises.
Three ways to bulk up mentally — Fast
Practice gratitude. Morin suggests identifying three things you’re grateful for every day and “you’ll start training your brain to look at life a little different.”
Label your emotions. With practice, it gets easier to say that you’re “disappointed” or “embarrassed,” explains Morin. “Examine how those emotions influence how you think and how you behave.”
Write down your goals. Better yet, says Morin, put a calendar on your refrigerator and check of the days you meet your objectives.
For more exercices, check out Morin’s website.
The one habit that can hinder your progress
“Overall, the one people seem to say they struggle with the most is not giving away their power. They change how they feel, think, or behave based on the people around them,” Morin says.
But don’t think you have to become a human RoboCop.
Too often, people confuse “being strong” with “acting tough,” Morin warns. “Being mentally strong is about being aware of your emotions and that might mean crying at a funeral or feeling really nervous before you give a big speech.”
Snack On This Key Technique:
Challenge your limiting beliefs.
If you believe, “I’m not likable,” you won’t act friendly when you meet new people, Morin points out. This behavior will keep you from developing healthy relationships, which will reinforce to you that your belief must be true. “It takes time and effort, but changing the scripts you tell yourself can be life altering,” Morin says.
Morin’s upcoming book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, will be released in September of 2017.
Responses are edited for space and clarity.