Becoming Mentally Tough – 12 Tips for Developing Mental Toughness

Let me ask you a question…are you mentally tough? Now, as YOURSELF that Q…Am I mentally tough?

Chances are, I think a LOT of us have quite a bit of room to grow in the mental toughness category, if we’re honest with ourselves. Mental toughness. It’s an often-Googled topic which often results in articles about US Marines or other “rough-and-tough” societal figures. But we ALL need a solid degree of mental toughness to succeed in life.

But what the heck IS mental toughness?

Mental toughness is the grittiness that gets you through the harder sh*t in life. It’s the attitude of “can do” + “will do” that gets you to a point of “did.” It’s not by any means a lack of compassion or a lack of empathy or emotional expressiveness – it’s more of a mindset and thickness of skin that proves most useful if/when discipline is needed in mind, body, or spirit.

When it comes to how to BE more mentally tough, we can ALL do with a bit more mental toughness – and it’s a skill + state of being worth making a habit. I got into a total rabbit hole of research last week, and 2,000+ words later…here we are. 😉 SO. The below are 12 different “steps,” of sorts, to learn exactly *how* to be more mentally tough and foster that mental toughness in your life no matter the circumstance.

Need more mental toughness in your life? YUP - we all do! On Coming Up Roses today, Erica shares 12 important ways to become more mentally tough. Bookmark this post!

  • Let yourself feel pain

So many articles online jump straight to “be positive always” and “always be happy.” And I call bullsh*t. Funny, since Coming Up Roses is a positive place on the world wide web where we DO keep things upbeat + happy…but not without acknowledging when stuff ain’t so. Too often, I think people mistake messages of positivity as messages that things should never be not positive. Or, rather, that we should all have this innate ability to flip a switch and think differently the second a not-so-positive thought wanders into our brain.

But that’s not necessarily healthy in the long run. Those who never feel pain, sadness, or disappointment aren’t stronger – they might just be sociopathic. 😉 It’s a perfectly normal + healthy human emotion to feel pain, and trying to train yourself to NOT is just training yourself to have a really weird, warped response to the unavoidable not-so-good stuff that may come your way in life. Which can lead to not-so-good emotional management and bottled UP pain, which is never good.

A key to mental toughness isn’t never feeling pain.

It’s learning how to get through it with grace to come out better + stronger on the other side. So, let yourself feel pain…

  • …then acknowledge how to get through it

Mentally tough folks are really emotionally self-aware and know what they need when they need it. They’ve got a sortof personal routine worked out to take them from Point A to Point B whenever pain or some other personal crisis or adversity pops up. When they feel pain, they don’t panic. They call it what it is FOR what it is, and they figure out next steps to persevere. They don’t wallow in self-pity, nor do they just try to make it all go away ASAP. They feel the feels, respond, then carry on.

  • Act like you’re in control

Fact: We feel freaked out when things feel out of control.

We also tend to feel less freaked out when we feel more in control of things ourselves.

While we arguably are never truly in control of everything (hollah @ God), it can help us feel more mentally tough when we at least *act* like we’re in control. Or, rather, make decisions like we’re in control. With confidence + clarity.

Mental toughness 101: fake it ’til ya make it. Sometimes just ACTING like you know what you’re doing can give ya the confidence needed to get through it with some semblance of correctedness. Similarly, acting like you’re in control can trick your mind into thinking you are, giving you the peace needed to get through it with some semblance of sanity. 😉

Wanna be more mentally TOUGH? Of course you do! Mental toughness is something we all benefit from and need everyday. Philadelphia lifestyle blogger, Erica of Coming Up Roses, shares 12 ways to be MORE mentally tough ASAP. Bookmark to read!

  • Be grittier.

I loveloveLOVE the idea of GRIT. While “grit” in + of itself has been a thing forever, it really picked up steam in psychology world a few years ago, actually all thanks to a professor at my alma mater university! Angela Duckworth wrote a book on the topic and made a name for it as basically THE key to success in life. Fun fact: She guest lectured in my favorite college class of all time (which was taught by Adam Grant), and her studies on grit came out while I was still at Wharton, so I had the opportunity to hear her talk about it all firsthand. #blessed. Grit in a nutshell: the perseverence + passion to achieve long term goals. And that, most significantly, it TRUMPS actual talent + smarts in life.

Grit is that uncanny ability to just go at it for hours on end because you’re just so damn passionate about it, and so hell bent on getting to the end, whatever that end may be.

 

  • Learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it.

The past is in the past – what’s done is done, it can’t be changed, and no matter how many times we replay the same dang scenario over + over in our heads…it isn’t changing. Mentally tough folks don’t dwell on the past – they learn from it. And then if/when mistakes were made, they’re better able to not make the same mistake twice because they’ve looked at it all as arbitrarily as possible to find patterns, identify common denominators, and just move the heck on into the present + towards the future.

 

  • Use the 2-minute rule.

I first learned about this rule here and lovelovelove the concept. The gist: when you’re facing some sorta stressful situation, take 2 minutes to think about how you WOULD accomplish the seemingly impossible task you’re facing IF it “were possible.” Chances are, if you set a timer and dedicated a *solid* two minutes to a good think sesh, you’ll have somewhere to go with it beyong “it just can’t be done.” And then, the task will feel a whole heckuvah lot less daunting, AND you’ll have a clearer head going into it.

Real world example: Your boss comes to you at 11 am – you’re in the middle of one project, with 32 other things on your plate for the day. He tells you he’s got this urgent task for you to tackle, and he needs it back by EOD. You could  panic – I mean, how the HECK are you gonna get done everything on your to-do list AND this new, unexpected, “urgent” assignment from the boss, all within the next six hours?! Or, you could take a breath, and give yourself a hot sec – meaning, 2-minutes exactly 😉 – to devise a serious plan of attack for the remainder of the day. It gives you that moment to think outside the box, too. How can you realistically rearrange your day to make it all happen? But also, what can you plan to do IF something is falling short, or if you sense that something is going to need more time? You now have a moment to figure out a good, believable response that will make you look totally reasonable to all, instead of panicky and/or unprofessional.

Wanna be more mentally TOUGH? Of course you do! Mental toughness is something we all benefit from and need everyday. Philadelphia lifestyle blogger, Erica of Coming Up Roses, shares 12 ways to be MORE mentally tough ASAP. Bookmark to read!

Need more mental toughness in your life? YUP - we all do! On Coming Up Roses today, Erica shares 12 important ways to become more mentally tough. Bookmark this post!

  • Figure out what drives you most emotionally.

Any time we react (especially when we react into of respond) to situation, there’s a reason why. There’s a reason behind something just *bugging* us, and oftentimes, that reason is super emotionally charged. Maybe it’s because of something we experienced as a kid – maybe it’s someone we were exposed to often that really impacted us, whether we realize it consciously or not.

But either way, we have emotional drivers.

Things that get us going. For better or worse. To be tough enough to overcome the ones in the “worse” category, we have to at least know when we’re being emotionally driven, and by what.

 

  • Stop fearing criticism – just know when to actually take it.

Mentally tough people are not afraid of what other people think of them – pointblankperiod. They welcome *constructive* criticism (key word: constructive) as an opportunity to learn + grow.

And they ALSO know when to take it in, versus let. it. GO.

Not all criticism is created equal. Some folks go through life seeking out opportunities to criticize others. We call those people asshats. 🙂 But really, there are those who go through this life as Judgmental Judies, and ain’t nobody got time for them. The mentally tough see right through judgments from insecure and/or mean people, and jump straight to the good stuff: the legitimately *legit* constructive critiques from those who matter most.

 

  • Desensitive to your fears.

Scared of flying? Fly more. Scared of dogs? Go to a shelter and play with some puppies. Scared of speaking in public? Offer to kick off the weekly team meeting at work.

Give yourself easy opportunities to face your fears. Little by little, you’ll feel less and less sensitive to the fear itself (and your negative gut reaction may be less each time) until you’re no longer in straight up fight or flight mode whenever you come across what once scared the bajeezus outta ya.

Need more mental toughness in your life? YUP - we all do! On Coming Up Roses today, Erica shares 12 important ways to become more mentally tough. Bookmark this post!

  • Be consistently consistent.

“Mental toughness is about your habit, not your motivation.” I saw this quote here and just about flipped – isn’t it so. spot. on?!?! Mentally tough people do NOT live their lives acting on motivation alone. Cos frankly, not much would get done in the important/productive/really-big-and-a-little-scary categories in life if we left it up to if/when we felt motivated to write that book or open that business or ask out that amazing person. Motivation comes and goes, but consistency is the key to getting it all done.

 

  • Eliminate complaining + self-critizing.

You will *rarely* hear a truly mentally tough person complain. Vent? Sure thing. But there’s a difference between a quick vent sesh to get something off of your chest that just happened with Hilary from down the Hall, to incessantly complaining about the same damn things all the time.

Trust me, I’ve heard both. (and so have you, I’m sure). 😉

Some folks just lovelovelooooooove to complain, and blame everyone and their mom for their unhappiness, unfulfillment, un-ANYTHING. Really, they’re mentally weak. Because while mentally tough folks might let out the occasional sigh of pissed-off-edness on a particularly rough day, they don’t *dwell* on anything negative.

If they don’t like something…they change it. Or they at least do whatever the heck they possibly can to change it. And if they can’t change it, they figure out how to reasonably + realistically change their attitude about the unchangeable.

Need more mental toughness in your life? YUP - we all do! On Coming Up Roses today, Erica shares 12 important ways to become more mentally tough. Bookmark this post!

Wanna be more mentally TOUGH? Of course you do! Mental toughness is something we all benefit from and need everyday. Philadelphia lifestyle blogger, Erica of Coming Up Roses, shares 12 ways to be MORE mentally tough ASAP. Bookmark to read!

  • Get grateful.

When we have a *solid* appreciation for all of the good stuff, it makes it easier to get through the bad stuff. Really, it’s all in our perspective. Every rose has its thorn – but we can focus on the thorns, or the blooming petals. The stuff that can hurt you, or the stuff that can uplift you. Being grateful + counting your blessings in NO way means diminishing the not-so-good or lessening its badness. It’s just a perspective shift to ALSO not diminish the good stuff in light of the bad. And too, mental toughness involves a little bitta healthy realization that sometimes, the “bad” stuff ain’t so bad after all, if/when it ends up leading to something good. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. {Romans 8:28}. If something seems not-so-good in the moment, don’t jump to worst case scenario or pull the red alarm. Instead, get grateful. Get grateful for the GOOD that is to come from the not-so-good, and truly trust that is in, fact, coming. We may not know when or how, and it may not look anything like we think it will or “should” look. But it will come. So get grateful.

How have you developed mental toughness in your own life?

Do you already practice any of the above tips? Were any new to you that you’re going to implement ASAP?

P.S. Along the same vein, as you’re working on mental toughness, don’t forget about avoiding burnout. (Cos it happens.) And also…give yourself grace.

That is all. Happy Friday. Cheers to the friggin’ weekend.

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