Mental toughness is a key trait of peak performers. Mentally toughness can help you overcome mental, physical and emotional challenges or anything else that’s standing in the way of you achieving success, however you define it.
You Can Grow Mental Toughness
Mental toughness isn’t something most people are born with. Luckily, there are many ways you can develop calluses of the mind. The following are a few of the many step-by-step processes you can use to grow your mental toughness, no matter where you are starting from.
Mental Toughness Exercises You Can Use to Help You Overcome Any Obstacle that Comes Your Way
1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a great mental toughness exercise mainly because it’s not as easy as it sounds. Also, it may look peaceful and easy to the casual observer, but there’s a lot more to it than just sitting around.
Meditation can be exhausting and uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. If you decide to practice mindfulness by sitting, it can be uncomfortable to sit in the same position. Your brain is constantly looking for stimulation so practicing being in the moment can be mentally exhausting.
When you teach yourself to stay in the moment, you are practicing mental toughness. If you are new to mindfulness and would like to learn more, check out my book, Modern Mindfulness: A Beginners Guide on How to Find Peace and Happiness in a Busy World, on Amazon.
2. Physical discomfort.
A few examples of physical discomfort are a cold shower, hot weather, an exhausting workout and staying awake when you’re very tired. When you put yourself in physically uncomfortable situations to see how long you can last you are building mental toughness. Obviously, you want to avoid causing yourself any real harm.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to take your level of discomfort to the extreme. Even mild discomfort stretched over short periods of time can be just as challenging.
3. Emotional discomfort.
This one is theoretically easy to do but oh so hard in practicality. Introduce yourself to five strangers each day. Don’t allow yourself to look at your phone for an hour. Ask someone out on a date. Sit, stare at the wall, and count backwards from 1,000 until you give up. Boredom and anxiety are the basic emotions of discomfort. Build mental toughness by making yourself uncomfortable.
4. Finish what you start.
Most of us start many things but quit before we’re done. We’ll get around to vacuuming the other rooms tomorrow. I don’t need to bench press those last three reps. I didn’t really mean I wanted to walk for an hour, 35 is pretty good anyway. I’ll just leave those dishes in the sink to soak for a while. Sound familiar?
Quitting is the result of a lack of mental toughness in the face of either physical or emotional discomfort. Learning how to finish what you start is one of the habits of all highly successful people and it’s guaranteed to help you with your overall success.
5. Focus on what you can control.
A great deal of mental toughness involves focusing all of your mental and physical resources on the things you can control. If you have no control over it – forget it. Stop worrying about things out of your control. Focus on what you can control.
6. Avoid complaining.
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “Nobody listens when I complain.” This is so true. Unless they are therapists, people don’t listen to your complaints. So why bother?
Mental toughness is about being able to handle whatever the world throws at you. Show yourself and the world that you’re a tough guy, or tough gal, by not complaining about anything.
Now this doesn’t mean you have to tolerate something you don’t like or being abused by other people. If you don’t like something, do your best to change your circumstances. If someone is abusing you, confront him or her if you can or, if this isn’t possible, get yourself out of the situation.
What’s key here is instead of complaining, do something about it.
7. Use affirmations.
There are also plenty of mental toughness affirmations online. One of my favorite places to look for them is on YouTube.
You can use affirmations to daily remind yourself just how tough and resilient you are. You can use them to fall back on when your internal dialog begins to falter. If you make this a daily habit, over time, affirmations can make a big difference.
You Can Start Building Your Mental Toughness Today
How mentally tough are you right now? This is a trick question because it doesn’t matter. Whether you rate yourself as super tough or a total wimp, you can become even tougher.
You don’t have to join the marines, live out in the wilderness in a cabin with no electricity or running water, or join a Shaolin monastery to learn how to become mentally tough. You can teach yourself using these exercises each day. So start!