It is a myth that you are born with characteristics that make you mentally strong throughout your life. The truth is, you can develop mental strength with practice, fortitude, and intention as you grow and develop your personality. 

In a previous blog for Sixty and Me, I suggested you have the power to stretch your mind at any age and defend against the negative influences that pervade your conscious as well as the unconscious mind, often hidden in your shadow life.

The following 5 characteristics that people with remarkable mental strength practice daily will stretch your mind and increase your focus and intention:

Get Through Adversity

Life doesn’t have to be difficult. Life doesn’t mean struggle. Sometimes there are challenges in front of you, sometimes there are people, places, and things that produce fear, and sometimes others cannot entirely support you.

Any or all of these situations might get in the way of your happiness and even alter your perception of self.

Life’s personal struggles make the difference between existing and living, between knowing the path and walking the path, between a life of defeat and a life filled with joy and success.

Adversity is inevitable, but overcoming adversity is not predictable. When you walk into a turbulent windstorm, you fight to push through it. As you persist, you gain strength – also, the adversity strips away all but the essential aspects of your being.

Once you come out of the storm, you see yourself as you really are – in raw form, still holding the passions and values that moved you through the challenge and that you will adhere to for the rest of your life – the inner love and values that define you.

Self-love drives you forward, even when the going gets tough. It is this kind of love that creates mentally strong people.

Focus on What You Can Control

Do you think good luck plays a role in creating happiness or success? Most people think there is an element of luck in life, but I suspect not an overwhelming proportion of luck.

Mentally strong people know that good luck plays some role in their happiness or success, but they don’t wait around for good luck to strike, or sit around worrying about the possibility of adversity.

Most of the time, mentally strong people make the intention to walk their life’s path with focus on what is in front of them. Control in life comes when you stay in the present and do what you can in the moment with the given circumstances.

Mental strength becomes stronger when you intentionally take the reins of the possibilities, instead of trying to control what is not within your power.

Bottom line: You cannot control everything that comes your way, but you are in absolute control of how you react to it. And that changes everything.

Make Every Action a Positive One

The most effective way to prevent negativity is to promote what is positive and not to control, regulate, or demand. Your best efforts are to inspire, motivate, and lead by example.

You get more reward from your efforts when they are applied in a positive direction. So, instead of rebelling against what you dislike, work to build and support what you value and admire.

Everyone goes through down-times. Moods sink with negative energy. Practice feeding negativity with positivity; with proactive and creative activity. Focus your attention and energy on what’s working and increase your stake in becoming mentally strong.

Help others, smile at people who need your praise, and compliment what is good, useful, and valuable, and you will grow mentally stronger. That is to say, nurture and promote what you love about life.

It is an unfortunate situation when there is too much negative focus and you find yourself complaining too much. Delight in the good things, and give the full power of your awareness to them.

Resolve to eliminate all that is not productive and accentuate positive energy in order to create positive actions. Every day is different, and every day deserves your embrace.

Be Committed

To be committed means having a strong mind: to work, to play, to study, to exercise, and to love. Commitment might be the most difficult ritual of mentally strong people.

You might tell yourself that you are too tired to exercise. You might tell yourself that your dreams are not achievable. You might tell yourself that you have no time to play.

How you transform these negative thoughts sets up how mentally strong you will become. Commitment is a daily practice.

It is common to think that mental strength is about how your respond to extreme circumstances: speaking in front of 1,000 people; regrouping after a failed business; keeping life going after being in the hospital; suffering a physical injury.

There’s no doubt that extreme circumstances test your bravery, determination, and mental strength. But most people are focused on common daily situations.

By stretching the muscles in your body, you gain mental strength. Tiger Woods showed us the way to winning the Masters tournament on April 14, 2019.

He exercised every muscle in his body, all the mental strength he developed over the last two decades, and pushed his way through the ultimate challenge for his life.

Your choices count in life. For the last two years, I was comfortable swimming half a mile a day. And then I began to push the envelope. I’m working on swimming a mile. It’s slow, plodding, and sometimes I cannot do one more stroke because my wrists ache or my shoulders are sore. But I keep going.

You can prove yourself in little ways and be happy with your mental and physical fortitude. Mental strength is built through many choices and with small victories. Of course, you can find something easier to do. When things get difficult for mentally strong people, they find a way to persevere.

Make a Difference

You can make a difference by knowing your values, acting with kindness, displaying consistent character, and by being a trusted friend and advocate. Mental strength is about the values you possess and how you use your gifts.

Live a life that makes you proud – one that matters and makes a difference.

Be positive, express your gratitude, be generous, and open your heart and mind. Your positivity will inspire others to become mentally strong.

What one habit or belief has helped you stay mentally strong through good times and bad? Or, on the flip side, what’s one habit or belief that has slowed you down and weakened your mental strength? Please share in the comments below, and let’s have a conversation.

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