Welcome back to The Shower Thoughts Series! Super glad you could join me for today's shower thought: mental toughness. Yep, it's a tough one (no pun intended) - and something I still struggle with. But, don't we all? Being mentally tough is not as easy as it sounds. Whenever we get down, we may hear things like, "just rub some (metaphorical?) dirt on it", "you'll get over it", "stop being so sensitive." Well, first of all, I want to say, expressing your emotions is healthy and suppressing them is not, contrary to what we may have been taught. Many of us growing up were taught that men especially are supposed to suppress their feelings and be "mentally tough" at all times. But, what good does this serve? This not only teaches you to fake your true feelings, but also bottle things up to the point of overflowing, unresolved emotions.
Okay, so we get it, it's okay to have some bad days, and even let it show. But, we all want to have some mental toughness, right? We want to be able to shake things off, and not let every single inconvenience, criticism, or breakup shake us to the core and make us feel like our entire world just flipped upside down. So - how do we like...get tough? So glad you asked. Although I'm certainly no expert, (I am quite sensitive myself), I've learned some things throughout my (almost) 23 years that have helped me grow this, and I hope helps me continue to grow this even further.
#1: Get a Therapist
Yep, I'm knocking this one right out of the gate. You've seen all the memes "my therapist says"...I mean, are you even a Gen Z-er if you don't have a therapist? But really, we've all heard it, but it's actually true - therapy helps. You get a third-party, unbiased perspective, you get to talk about whatever you want, AND they can't even tell your deep dark secrets to anyone. Just a few months ago, I finally found my own therapist. Coming into 2020 this was a goal of mine, and even if you don't think you have any life-altering issues to discuss, everyone can benefit from therapy. You may come to realizations you've never even thought of, and regardless, you're most likely coming out of a session feeling better, even lighter. It's like confessional, but productive.
#2: Journal Your Thoughts
I know what you're thinking: I'm not keeping a damn diary. But, don't knock it 'til you try it! If not an actual journal, write it in your notes on your phone, or on a word doc. on your laptop. Wherever you want to do it - just write. This can help you clear your head, and help you focus on your current emotions. Also - don't just write when you're stressed, upset, or feeling down. Write about the good things! You don't want to look back on your entries, and just see all negativity. Write about the good, bad, and the ugly, and free your mind from clutter. This really will help you internalize what's happening in your life at the moment, and also keep you present.
#3: Get That Body Movin'
Throwing a curve-ball here: exercising. Yes, we all know the benefits of exercise, the spike in endorphins and all that good stuff. But, this really does help your brain. It also can help you become more disciplined and determined. I mean, think about the mental strength you need to pump out those last 5 push-ups, or run that last half mile. Willingly going through pain to achieve the benefits builds mental toughness. And, you don't have to go train for a marathon or become a body builder. Walks, jogs, yoga, short at-home workouts - whatever it may be, just getting your body moving is going to help you not only physically, but leaps and bounds mentally.
#4: Create a Routine
Here it is again - discipline. Those who are disciplined are mentally tough. Create a routine for yourself that you can't break. Now, hang on - I'm not saying you have to turn into a drill sergeant. But, little things. Make your bed every day. Do the dishes right after you cook. Fold your clothes right after you wash them. Basically, cut the laziness. Doing things like this will build your mental toughness, and discipline.
#5: Tell Yourself Affirmations
You heard me! Tell yourself, you love yourself! Right now. Every morning. Every night. Write down things that you love about yourself, go in the mirror, and read them to yourself every day. Now, you may be wondering, this creates mental toughness? And, I'm here to tell you, it does. When you love yourself fully, outside factors can't break you down. When you know who you are and you not only accept, but love that, that is when you are the most powerful. What's more tough than not needing anything or anyone but you?
So, there's my tips! Do you have any tips on how to become more mentally tough? If so, shoot me a message! I hope this resonated with you, and maybe you even learned a little something. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in my next post!