7 Ways People With Phenomenal Mental Toughness Fight Stress
by Amy Morin
While stress causes some people to crumble, mentally strong people continue to thrive in the midst of added tension. In fact, they view adversity as an opportunity for self-growth. Whether they’re dealing with financial setbacks, health problems, or workplace difficulties, mentally strong people don’t let stress drag them down.
Here are seven ways mentally strong people handle stress effectively:
They accept that stress is part of life.
While some people waste time and energy thinking things like, “I shouldn’t have to deal with this,” mentally strong people know that setbacks, problems, and hardships are inevitable. When stressful situations arise, they devote their efforts into doing what they can to move forward. Even when they can’t change the circumstances, they know they can always take steps to improve their lives.
They keep problems in proper perspective.
Rather than think a flat tire has the power to ruin their whole day, mentally strong people keep inconveniences in proper perspective. When they’re tempted to catastrophize a minor event–such as thinking one mistake could ruin their whole career–they respond by reframing the message they give themselves. They refuse to allow a pessimistic inner monologue to take hold.
They take care of their physical health.
Mentally strong people recognize the importance of keeping their bodies in smooth operating condition. They recognize they won’t be able to combat stress if they’re worn out and running on empty. They exercise, get plenty of sleep, and maintain a diet that keeps them healthy.
They choose healthy coping skills.
While some people turn to alcohol, junk food, or other unhealthy vices to help them escape stress, mentally strong people choose to cope with discomfort in a productive manner. They allow themselves to feel uncomfortable emotions, like anxiety, fear, and sadness, head-on. They use healthy activities, like going for a walk or participating in a hobby, to cope with emotional pain.
They balance social activity with solitude.
Sometimes, in an attempt to avoid facing problems, people fill their schedules with social activities. Others deal with stress by withdrawing from their friends and family. Mentally strong people, however, strike a good balance. They maintain a healthy social life even when they’re stressed, but they also reserve time to be alone with their thoughts.
They acknowledge their choices.
Stress can cause people to feel like a victim of bad circumstances. But mentally strong people acknowledge that everything they do, from the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep, is a choice. They’re willing to say no to things they don’t want to do and they accept responsibility for their behavior.
They look for the silver lining.
Mentally strong people don’t necessarily see the world through rose-colored glasses–their outlook is a realistic outlook–but they do look for the silver lining in tough circumstances. They recognize that good things can stem from stressful circumstances. Rather than allowing hardship to turn them into bitter people or helpless victims, they choose to use stressful circumstances to become stronger and better.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, psychology instructor, and speaker. Her book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is on sale now. She’s frequently quoted in national media outlets. She also writes for Forbes and About.com. For more visit AmyMorinLCSW.com