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Tips to Increase Mental Toughness and Overcome Obstacles

“Toughness is mental, not physical.”

This quote was spoken by Vince Lombardi, a famous American football coach. Lombardi knew that mental toughness had to be present in order to overcome obstacles and succeed.

It’s often said that mental toughness is the key to success. But what does mental toughness mean? Mental toughness can be defined as the mental strength required for overcoming obstacles and achieving a goal. Mental obstacles are no different than physical ones because we must use mental energy to overcome them.

 In this article, we will discuss strategies for increasing mental toughness so you can achieve your goals in life! These tips for mental toughness are for everyone, not just athletes. After all, we all deal with hardships in our lives, and they come in different forms for us all.

Here are the tips for mental toughness

  • Reframe pain
  • Learn how to manage emotions
  • Embrace pain but don’t react negatively
  • Use positive affirmations and self-talk.

Most of the mental toughness tips are pretty straight forward, but they’re not as easy as they sound. Let’s dive right in.

Reframe Pain

“It hurts because it matters.”

-John Green

The first tip is reframing pain. Instead of seeing uncomfortable situations as something we should avoid, look at uncomfortable situations as things that are necessary for

growth in whatever we want to do. Pain does hurt physically and emotionally but it is not something to be avoided.

Meditating before sports training
Meditating before sports training

Physical and mental aspects seen as painful:

  • Lifting weights
  • Prospecting (reaching out to strangers via email or phone for your business)
  • Setting time limits for casual phone and social media usage
  • Sports Training
  • Waking up early

You can see that these habits are extremely beneficial and things we would need to do constantly in order to obtain success. If you can stop avoiding uncomfortable situations and actions, then you can start doing the important things you need to do.

Remember that the mind is a muscle just like any muscle in the body. The more we do uncomfortable things, the more we get used to being uncomfortable. When this happens, we grow and are more equipped to handle bigger challenges without freaking out.

A lot of times, the things we need to do are the actual things we feel uncomfortable doing. If you ask all successful people beforehand and then afterward, you will realize that they have continually done the uncomfortable things again and again until they became successful.

Learn how to manage emotions

Managing emotions is key to being mentally tough. You have to be in control of your mindset as much as possible, if you aren’t then you are susceptible to negative stimuli much easier and you will  be less focused. To manage emotions better, you have to keep a stable state of mind.

There are ways to help keep a stable mind. To manage your emotions better, keep a habit of positive activities like the ones below. If you get upset, notice your other choices are affected by that one negative issue that seems to be taking over your mind. So, to stay focused on the positive and stabilize, you can make a habit of several positive activities.

  • Meditation
  • Grounding
  • Prayer
  • Helping others
  • Reading

Each of these exercises will help you focus by teaching you how to focus during positive times. When something negative happens, you will already be trained to keep your cool.

Tough Guy at Fight Practice
Tough Guy at Fight Practice

 Embrace pain but don’t react negatively

This mental toughness tip is a bit more counterintuitive, as you may be thinking “why would I want to embrace painful experiences?”. When something difficult happens in life or at work, one of the best ways we can deal with those negative circumstances is by embracing them and not trying to run away from the emotions.

It is important to embrace pain as it comes but not react rashly. Once we learn how to embrace pain and stop hiding from it, we can learn from each incident.

Suffering is a choice

“Pain is what the world inflicts upon us. Suffering is our emotional reaction when we fail to make the difficult conscious decision to choose Joy.” Huie

-Jonathan Lockwood

Pain happens sometimes due to external factors and sometimes because of our own doing. How much we suffer from the pain is our choice. How much we want to suffer is always OUR choice. That is important to remember. How much pain we have in our life we cannot control, but we can always control how much we are much we suffer.

Suffering is largely a mental construct. What do I mean by that? Well, suffering is usually a mental thing you experience in your mind, and it’s not something physical or objective like seeing an apple on the table. Anything we perceive as suffering is just because of our perception.

You cannot escape pain either, that will only make it worse.  You must let it process and then learn to work through it so you can move on. Accept the pain, sit with it and then move on.  Embrace the pain but don’t react.

“If you can sit with your pain, listen to your pain and respect your pain—in time you will move through your pain.”

Bryant McGill

Tough young woman exercising with barbell
Tough young woman exercising with barbell

Use positive affirmations and self-talk

Positive affirmations and self-talk are important in enabling you to have a more positive mindset. Having a more positive mindset lets you handle harder circumstances.

Some tips on using positive affirmations and self-talk

  • Analyze any areas in your life that need to be changed.
  • Use the present tense to confirm your life affirmations.
  • Use emotions when you speak over your life
  • Don’t just do this once or twice. Be repetitive speaking positive mantras and affirmations daily.

Wrapping things up

I hope this article provided you with actionable advice on being more mentally tough in your life. Remember, mental toughness is something that needs to be developed through constant work. Only after you reframe pain, manage emotions, don’t react negatively to pain and use positive affirmations can you start to consistently have a more mentally tough attitude.

It’s something you must learn how to develop on your own. Once you start using these strategies to achieve mental toughness, nothing will keep you down for too long!

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