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Mental Strength – Theory, Examples & How To Become Mentally Strong

Mental strength has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years. Many successful actors, entrepreneurs, and public speakers attribute their success to having mental resilience.

Some go so far as to say the right mindset is the key to success. However, developing mental strength seems just as difficult, if not even more challenging, than gaining physical strength.

How can the average individual develop personal resilience and what benefit does building resilience have on one’s everyday life and long-term goals?

In this article, we will address these questions and help you develop a personal strategy so you can start building mental toughness.

Mental Strength – Building Resilience and Mental Toughness

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Mental Strength – Definition & Meaning

Mental strength is often associated with mental health, but these two terms are quite different. Mental resilience is the ability to deal with the stress and adversities of life.

It is being able to manage your unhealthy habits and perform your best regardless of the circumstances.  As you can see, there are many aspects of resilience and there are a few other definitions of resilience. Other psychologists have proposed a slightly different definition.

Mental Strength – Definition & Meaning

It is described as a flexible personality trait that allows individuals to deal with their own unique challenges while allowing their strengths to shine.

Mental strength combines anxiety control and personal development so individuals can tackle challenging times effectively and come out of difficult times as stronger person.

People with psychological resilience do not simply cope with their stressful life events, but rather maintain a positive outlook on life regardless of their current situation.

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Mental Strength – List of 15 Benefits

Since developing a strong mindset takes time and effort, you may be curious about the specific benefits of pursuing personal growth.

  1. Increased life satisfaction.
  2. Greater productivity at work.
  3. An increased degree of resilience and perseverance.
  4. Finding ways to address your sources of stress.
  5. Gaining an appreciation for life, both the positive and negative moments.
  6. You will learn to filter out negative comments and understand which advice is appropriate and which is unhelpful.
  7. Develop a positive self-image.
  8. Address your bad habits and overcome your desire to participate in unhelpful activities.
  9. Increase your level of confidence.
  10. Makes you more comfortable with calculated risks.
  11. Gives you an opportunity to learn about anxiety management.
  12. Provides you with the courage to face your fears and push beyond your boundaries.
  13. Helps you regulate your negative emotions.
  14. Keeps you motivated even when confronted with the challenges of life.
  15. Helps you explore new ways to learn from your mistakes.

Why is Mental Strength Important?

Mental and emotional strength is crucial for personal and career development. It provides a plethora of benefits to nearly all individuals and improves one’s mental health.

The amount of mental strength someone has is directly associated with their level of success later in life. Mentally strong people meet deadlines, are on time, and have better outcomes.

However, mental toughness is an important life skill for activities outside of work as well. Inevitably, all relationships will go through difficult times.

Mental toughness helps people build up stamina over time, so they can overcome such challenges without leaving their partners.

In fact, tough and confident people understand that the uncomfortable emotion associated with relationships are often temporary.

They create strategies to deal with this stress together with their partner, and come out of difficult times as a stronger person. There are even more important reasons to focus on mental resilience.

For instance, mental strength gives people a better sense of well-being, improves positivity,  assists in building positive mental habits, increases aspirations, and lowers one’s stress when subjected to a changing environment.

As you can see, toughness is important as it gives people a better chance of succeeding both in their careers and relationships.

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How to Train & Develop Your Mental Strength

Just like improving physical health requires consistent exercising of physical muscles, becoming mentally strong requires consistency of action.

Start working your mental muscles by reframing your negative beliefs into more positive ones, and changing your negative self-talk into positive beliefs.

You can do this by acknowledging your strengths and setting realistic goals, then recognizing your strength once you accomplish a goal. Try to set yourself up for success.

Modify your environment so persevering is not as difficult. For instance, do not surround yourself with high-calorie food if you are trying to lose weight.

Instead, try to develop healthy daily habits like planning quick healthy snacks so you are not tempted by unhealthy food. This will make achieving your goal easier.

It prevents you from exhausting all of your mental energy so you can remain strong. Challenge yourself every day.

Mental Strength – How to Train & Develop

You need to consistently push beyond your boundaries and gain exposure to anxiety to build up resilience. These challenges do not have to be immense but try going outside of your comfort zone (at least a little) every day.

Being strong involves tolerating negative human emotions and discomfort from time to time. Remind yourself of the big picture each time you feel like quitting because of high levels of stress.

It will help you gain the confidence necessary to tackle your goals. Avoid creating excuses. Instead, try to examine why you did not succeed if your goals were not met.

Analyzing the reason behind your failure gives you an opportunity to create successful future strategies for tackling the same goal. It is difficult to commit to a plan if you do not recognize your overall purpose.

Understand why you are trying to improve your skills so you have a clear reason to keep going when met with challenging situations.

Throughout your daily life, you will likely encounter times where you feel unmotivated and wish to chase success. Remind yourself of that powerful reason which makes all of this time investment worth it to you.

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Importance of Mental Strength in Sports

Many individuals overlook the importance of mental toughness in sports. In actuality, mental strength is as important, if not more important, than physical skills in the sports world.

The world of sports is immensely emotional and filled with lots of highs and lows. Athletes need to be able to push through and address their negative feelings to move on instead of sulking in their negativity.

Mental strength helps individuals focus on the positive and address and analyze failure. Many athletes start to quit when faced with extreme challenges.

Mental toughness sets true athletes apart from the crowd, as they are able to push beyond their comfort zone to achieve more than what they believed was possible. In the long term, mentally strong athletes improve more and stay positive.

Importance of Mental Strength in Sports

This positivity helps motivate the entire team, thus creating collective resilience in a sports team. Mental strength also allows individuals to maintain their calmness when faced with the immense pressure of professional sports.

Mentally tough athletes use a long-term perspective when it comes to analyzing their success. If they fail, they will focus on the big picture and continue pushing for their success. Weaker athletes may dwell on this failure and start thinking negatively.

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Mental Strength – List of 13 Inspiring Quotes

Quotes can be a powerful way to remind yourself of the importance of mental toughness. Here are just a few inspiring quotes from strong people.

These quotes can motivate you throughout your strength building journey:

  1. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
  2. “Strong minds suffer without complaining; weak minds complain without suffering.” ―Lettie Cowman
  3. “If your mindset is defeated, the results will be the same no matter how often you put up a physical fight.” ― Mac Duke
  4. “You can never be free until you develop the mental strength to stop fretting over things you cannot control.”- Robert Ringer
  5. “At the end of your struggles, challenges, and obstacles comes the mental strength to cross many boundaries in the future.”– Edmond Mbiaka
  6. “You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.”– Dr. Robert Anthony
  7. “Mental Toughness: The ability to consistently perform toward the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of the competitive circumstances.”- James E. Loehr
  8. “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”– Thomas Jefferson
  9. “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”- William Jennings Bryan
  10. “I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.”– David Goggins
  11. “Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.”– Peter T. McIntyre
  12. “It’s when the discomfort strikes that they realize a strong mind is the most powerful weapon of all.” ―Chrissie Wellington
  13. “Fundamentally, what everyone needs is mental strength and confidence, to manage the mind, just as we manage the outside world.”- Mata Amritanandamayi
Mental Strength Books

Best Books on Mental Strength

In addition to quotes, books are another great way to keep yourself motivated throughout your strength development journey. Understanding someone else’s journey can also expose you to unique strategies and a plethora of positive cognitive exercises.

A few of the best books on mental resilience include:

1.) 1. The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles – Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte Ph.D.

This book features a plethora of engaging, science-based exercises that help individuals develop their inner strength. The authors focus specifically on using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help increase your resilience.

You will first learn to assess your current resilience level and measure your level of confidence. Later, the authors discuss how to regulate emotions, address negative feedback, cope with adverse life events, embrace life, and achieve greater mental and physical health.

2. The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child – Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Siegel and Bryson center this book around setting your children up for success. They share strategies on how to instill creativity, resilience, and passion into your kids.

Specifically, they address when children need to be pushed beyond their comfort zone and when they need to stay within their boundaries.

Additionally, they address multiple strategies for increasing a child’s positivity and steering them away from negative emotions. Overall, the book assists parents in instilling a creative mindset for their children.

3. The Mental Toughness Playbook: The Tips You Need to Conquer Adversity, Develop Mental Strength, & Think Like a Warrior – Malcolm Smith

Malcolm Smith takes a unique approach to teaching resilience: he writes about the many resilient behavioral exercises used by famous people throughout history.

The book features strategies used by everyone from Marcus Aurelius to Malcolm X. He uses real-life examples to teach readers how to maintain their strength no matter what occurs in their life. Smith teaches how to overcome almost any life circumstances with a hands-on and resilient approach.

Mental Strength Book

4. The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond- and what to do about it – Henry Cloud

A New York Times bestselling author and leader in the field of resilience research, Dr. Henry Cloud uses his neuroscience knowledge and clinical experience, as well as personal experiences with business leaders, to teach readers about relationships.

He explains how such relations are a key resource for personal growth, but they can be equally detrimental if not utilized properly. Dr. Cloud makes a clear point throughout this book: choose your relationships wisely.

5. Mental Training for Peak Performance, Revised & Updated Edition – Steven Ungerleider and Nick Bollettier

Sports psychologist Steven Ungerleider describes how mental resilience is a prerequisite to success in the sports and physical world. He gives a list of effective emotional exercises which increase your ability to succeed physically.

A few of these techniques include: deep breathing exercises, improving sports performance with guided imagery, harnessing the power of dreams, and building confidence with positive self talk and affirmations.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Mental Strength

Why is Mental Strength More Important Than Physical Strength?

Physical strength can be acquired with the help of mental resilience, but the reverse is not true. Even if an individual is physically strong, they will inevitably be met with challenges.

Mentally weak people will simply quit and dwell on this failure, which decreases their self-esteem and limits their potential. On the other hand, having mental strength provides individuals with a plethora of advantages.

How Do You Increase Mental Strength and Concentration?

There are many strategies you can use to increase your mental toughness. For starters, try to challenge yourself every day.

Daily challenges help you get used to feeling uncomfortable and get you accustomed to perseverance. Additionally, change your mentality.

Whenever you think of yourself negatively, reframe your thoughts so they are more positive and self-assuring. Recognize that excuses are your enemy.

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