The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed many things in our lives – the way we learn, the way we work, the way we meet others, and to safeguard ourselves we also try to focus more on physical fitness and immunity. Along with this, it is equally important to improve our mental strength in this challenging times. Practically, both mental strength and physical strength are very much similar. As for the physical strength, in addition to doing the physical exercises, it is important to the remove junk food from your diet, similarly for the mental strength, the good habits like practicing gratitude should be accompanied by giving up of bad habits like resenting someone else’s success.
We generally hear and read about various good habits to practice in life, but in this article, we will try to understand the other side of the coin i.e. the things we shouldn’t do to become mentally strong, from one of the best self-help books “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do” which is written by Amy Morin - a psychotherapist, mental strength trainer, TEDx speaker and an international bestselling author. Being the first article of this series, it will briefly discuss the first four things, which mentally strong people avoids.

1.Mentally Strong People Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves:
We all have some or the other weakness, may be in terms of some skills or capabilities or circumstances or even some physical disability or illness. In the book the instance of Marla Runyan, who successfully completed her master’s degree, authored a book and finished New York Marathon in around 2 hours, in spite of being legally blind! This is because she didn’t waste her time in feeling sorry about her disability, but she was grateful for whatever she had and things she could achieve. Thus, Amy Morin suggests that mentally strong people replace their self-pity with their gratitude towards lessons they learned.

2.Mentally Strong People Don’t Give Away Their Power:
We often hear from many people that “He made me angry” or “because of her I am sad”. The book suggests that, to be mentally strong, do not give away power of your feelings to others. Others shouldn’t be able to make you feel inferior or sad, rather you should have complete control over your emotions and actions. One of the essential factors of taking control over your feelings is forgiveness, which will help you in reducing the negative feelings such as anger, jealousy, resentment etc. so that you can focus on important priorities.

3.Mentally Strong People Don’t Shy Away from Change:
In a VUCA world, where it is difficult to predict what could happen in the next moment, we should not shy away from the change. In fact, change is the only constant thing in the current scenario, and therefore this book advices to welcome the change and embrace the change. The comfort of certainty and familiarity restricts us from taking efforts towards making changes. That’s why mentally strong people accept the change, they themselves keep on doing small changes to explore and experiment new things, which further results in continuous improvement.

4.Mentally Strong People Don’t Focus on Things They Can’t Control:
Consider any situation of mishappening e.g. an accident or illness due to which a person has been hospitalized. Now during the period of treatment, that person has the option of either feeling sad & angry about it or start focusing on how fast he/ she could recover from it. Thus, we can not undo our past or whatever happened to us, but we can definitely choose how to respond and what to do next. In any difficult situation, we should think and write two sets of things – 1st ‘Things I can control’ and 2nd ‘Things I can’t control’. Then, we can simply tear-off the 2nd section and focus completely on the 1st section to respond to that situation.

With these four learnings stated above, we have just begun the journey of becoming mentally strong. In the further parts of this article, we will briefly discuss about other learnings from this wonderful book. However, to learn in-depth about these learnings, I would recommend you to please read this book or listen it audio book. I would like to conclude this article with a very meaningful quote by the author Amy Morin: “Developing mental strength isn’t about having to be the best of everything. It also isn’t about earning the most money or achieving the biggest accomplishments. Instead, developing mental strength means knowing that you’ll be okay no matter what happens.”

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