Finding the Strength for Happiness

Mental Toughness

Athletic coaches know this term well. If you play sports or played sports, you probably have considered this concept before. But the rest of us may not be familiar at all with the idea of mental toughness. As a therapist, I am always challenging my clients to find their own mental toughness so they can go beyond whatever is limiting them from finding joy.
And often this is what they need, the stamina and ability to venture “beyond.” Imagine that there is happiness for you right over this giant hill, you are stuck in a muddy field for a long time, but finally you find a road to walk over the hill. When you begin your journey, you may find the road loses its shape a bit, and there maybe some jagged rocks you have to carefully navigate around. At this point, you have a choice; you can give up and go back to the muddy field without losing too much, but gaining nothing. (And let’s remember, it’s difficult to maneuver around the muddy field.) OR, you can chose to be mentally tough, and let go of your fear of the potential “scrapes and bruises” as you navigate the jagged rocks along the road to destiny.
I understand trying a new and unknown road can be difficult and scary, but ask yourself, “Is my way working?” Sometimes the best way to conquer fear is just take one step at a time. I bet that every time you take a step it will get easier and pretty soon you will find you are walking towards joy and freedom from fear. You can learn to go beyond, but just lie in athletics, it takes repetition and practice.

How do I develop mental toughness?

As we begin to practice mental toughness, we begin to learn to develop confidence in our strengths. We begin to know ourselves better; as we identify our strengths and our weaknesses. We are able to let go of the past, focus on the moment and practice active listening, say we are to say sorry when wrong and not take things so personally. We learn to live in the moment, trust our gut and be unafraid of the future. We let go of judgment and criticism of others, and ourselves, and we are honest about where the root of our fear lies. We practice letting go of the fear and taking the next step. Other things that will help build mental toughness are eating right, getting enough exercise and rest, helping others and minimizing the amount of alcohol consumed.
As you can see this is a long, bold list of initiatives that won’t happen without a desire to change some grittiness and action. It will not happen overnight. But if you keep the attitude that you are in charge of your own happiness, and take action by taking one step at a time, before long you will realize you have climbed your first giant hill. Developing mental toughness will allow you to experience a life of joy. I would love to help you take that first step towards change.