How to be the strongest version of Yourself

Emotion is the greatest motivating factor behind every action. Our emotions can drive us in any direction, including the wrong one. This is why emotional strength and stability is key to one’s overall success and happiness.

The ability to overcome challenging obstacles by turning them into an opportunity for growth and development, characterizes a mentally strong being. Being mentally stronger doesn’t mean it has to be a tough grind. Just like if you want to be stronger physically you have to do exercises to keep the muscles strong, to build mental strength you have to do exercises to help build those habits and beliefs.

There’s a pattern in common qualities among emotionally strong people that is apparent in the way they act and go about their daily lives. Here are 10 essential habits and practices of the emotionally strong that all people should do more of:

  1. Understand what it means to be emotionally resilient.

Being emotionally and mentally strong, or resilient, means adapting well to things like stress, trauma, adversity, or tragedy. Resilience is not something you are born with — it is a process that can be learned by anyone, and is found in ordinary people.

Being emotionally strong doesn’t mean you don’t experience pain or suffering — resiliency is often learned when one is faced with an extremely painful situation. What it does mean is that you learn to rebuild or “bounce back” from these experiences.

  • Say nice things to yourself daily.

Make a commitment to cut down on the negative self-talk and pump up the nice things you say to yourself. You may feel ridiculous at first as you become your own cheerleader in your head, but think about how great you’ll feel as you make stronger and stronger decisions about your life. Those same decisions are what will keep you moving toward your goal.

Be mindful, negative thoughts can sneak their way in really quickly, when you catch them, just recognize them as untrue (even if you have to say it out loud) and replace them with a positive thought.

  • Enrich your mind.

Challenge yourself to keep learning all the time. You’ll get mentally stronger and wiser the more knowledge you accrue. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut, either mental or physical. Be curious, aware, and informed about the world.

Read books, watch good films, go to concerts, go to plays, watch ballets, and take in art in some form. You could also make your own art. Write, paint, make music, do sculpture, knit — anything that stimulates your creative side.

  • Practice 20 minutes of self-care daily.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you don’t take some time to really deeply care for yourself, you’ll eventually run your well dry and not be able to love and care for those around you.

Exercise, healthy food, rest, and relaxation will help you to develop and maintain your mental and emotional strength. By taking good care of yourself, you are sending your mind signals that you deserve to be taken care of. Make sure that you are devoting enough time to meeting your basic needs for exercise, food, sleep, and relaxation.

  • Let go of the people pleasing tendencies.

In an effort to be a good person, we often over-extend ourselves and commit to things we really don’t want to do.

Embrace the fact that you can’t please everyone. Let go of the need to let others’ happiness and goals overrule what’s best for you, your health, and your happiness.

  • Take a break whenever needed.

It’s possible you just need a staycation for a few days (or a couple of months) to let things settle or discover an answer to your issues.

People who don’t take vacations tend to burn out, so save yourself from that pain by taking a rest when you need to, even if you don’t really think that you do.

  • Practice saying “No” without explanation.

As a society, we’ve decided somewhere along the lines that we have to have a reason for saying no, and not wanting to do something isn’t a good enough reason. If you find yourself in that’s line of thinking, then throw it out.

Learn to say no. You don’t have to explain your actions or validate your decisions to anyone about why you don’t want to do something.

  • Calm yourself.

Building emotional strength requires daily exercise, just like building physical strength. Whether you meditate daily, or journal, or simply have a quiet cup of tea in the backyard, it will help to recharge you.

Mindfulness is about being in the moment. To get comfortable with being happy, practicing being mindfully happy. Spend some time with your happy mood. At the end of it, notice the feeling of happiness and joy, it comes from you, and it spontaneously shows up when you are in mindfully in the moment.

  • Hang out with people who love you.

This may actually be difficult if you are in a wounded place and don’t want your loved ones to see you this way, but it really is a great healer. You could say, “Hey, I’m kind of low energy today and need a break. How would you feel about just hanging out?”

This will let them know where you are without giving details, and you can have a relaxing day.

  1. Understand that happiness is a choice.

Emotions don’t reflect reality, but instead reflect the way we perceive reality. We have the power to control our emotions and how we interpret each and every situation. A bad day can easily be turned into a good day by simply changing your outlook.

Life is a lot about perspective. Change your perspective and you can change your life. Try your best to find something to be grateful about every day.

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