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5 Powerful Exercises To Increase Your Mental Strength

https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2013/12/03/5-powerful-exercises-to-increase-your-mental-strength/

forbes.com

5 Powerful Exercises To Increase Your Mental Strength
The following guest post is by Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker in Lincoln, Maine. In addition to working as a psychotherapist, she is also an adjunct college psychology instructor and she serves as About.com's Parenting Teens expert. Psychology often discusses mental health -- but what's not often discussed is a clear definition of mental strength.

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Evaluate Your Core Beliefs

Over time we all develop core beliefs based on our experiences about ourselves and the world. Whether you’re aware of them or not, they influence your thoughts, behaviors and emotions.

Identify and evaluate your core beliefs to ensure yours aren’t inaccurate and unproductive, or even harmful. Look for beliefs that are black and white, and then find exceptions to the rule. 

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Use Your Mental Energy Wisely

Ruminating about things you can’t control drains mental energy quickly, leaving you less energy for what you can control. The more you practice expending your mental energy wisely, the more it will become a habit.

Save your mental energy for productive tasks, such as solving problems or setting goals. 

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Replace Negative Thoughts With Productive Ones

Replace Negative Thoughts With Productive Ones

Exaggerated, negative thoughts, can spiral out of control and influence your behavior if you don’t catch them.

Replace overly negative thoughts with productive and realistic ones. Changing your thoughts requires constant monitoring, but the process can be instrumental in helping you become your best self.

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Practice Tolerating Discomfort

Mental strength requires you to accept and be acutely aware of your emotions so you can respond better and consciously.

Mental strength also involves an understanding of when it makes sense to behave contrary to your emotions and enduring the discomfort that comes with it. Practice behaving like the person you’d like to become.

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Reflect On Your Progress Daily

Developing mental strength is a work in progress. Reflecting upon your progress can reinforce your ability to reach your definition of success while living according to your values.

At the end of each day, ask yourself what you’ve learned about your thoughts, emotions and behavior. Consider what you hope to improve upon tomorrow.

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Write Everything Down

When you suddenly have an idea while you are in the middle of something else, write it down. It will clear your mind. It is a catch-all for the light bulb moments.

Financial Awareness

Know exactly where you spend your money. Create a system for tracking profit and loss, and returns on investment. 

De-clutter

De-clutter your work and living space. It encourages a de-cluttered mind.

Anxiety is rewarding

Each time we worry and nothing bad happens, our mind connects worry with preventing harm:

Worry → nothing bad happens.

And the takeaway is, "It's a good thing I worried."&nbs...

Beliefs about worry

  • If I worry, I'll never have a bad surprise.
  • It's safer if I worry. We believe that the act of worrying itself somehow lowers the likelihood of a dreaded outcome. 
  • I show I care by worrying. We need to distinguish between caring about a situation and worrying needlessly and fruitlessly about it. 
  • Worrying motivates me. We need to differentiate between unproductive worry and productive concern and problem solving.
  • Worrying helps me solve problems. Extreme worry is more likely to interfere with problem-solving. 

Tools to assist us with worry

  • Calm the nervous system with guided muscle relaxation, meditation, and exercise. 
  • Notice when you're worrying and any beliefs that reinforce worry.  Awareness of the process gives us more choice in how we respond.
  • Embrace uncertainty. Most of the things we care about in life involve uncertainty. It takes considerable practice to begin to embrace it.
  • Live in the present. Practice focusing your attention on the present in everyday activities like taking a shower, walking, or talking with a friend, as well as in more formal practices like meditation or yoga.
  • When we face our fears head-on, they tend to diminish. Deliberately accept what you're afraid of: "It's possible I'll miss my flight." 

Beliefs As Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

What you believe influences the way you interpret events, how you feel, and how you behave. And much of the time, those beliefs turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.

Give Up Self-Limiting Beliefs

Challenge your beliefs by testing them to see if they're really true.
  • If you believe you're too socially awkward to make friends, ask yourself "What would I be doing if I were socially savvy?" Then, use a skill called, 'acting as if.' Act as if you were a socially savvy person.
  • That doesn't mean you need to be a phony. Instead, behave in a way that brings out another side of your personality.

Challenging Your Beliefs Takes Time

It's likely that everyone has a few self-limiting beliefs. 

To discover yours, spend some time thinking about your potential and assessing the assumptions you make about yourself that keep you from living your dreams.

It's likely that your beliefs, rather than your lack of ability, could be the biggest hurdle.