Mental toughness is a combination of tenacity, curiosity, and a desire to learn new things, as well as interpersonal confidence and belief in one’s own talents.
Mental toughness is linked to traits like tenacity, resilience, and grit, but it is a larger notion. Many people think of resilience as the ability to bounce back from adversity. Resilience is reactive by definition. Mental toughness is a proactive quality that complements resilience in terms of pursuing challenge, change, and opportunity with self-assurance.
‘Resilience makes you survive, Mental Toughness makes you thrive,’ as the distinction between the two is commonly defined.
Before we delve into the strategies of cultivating mental toughness, allow me to share the three divisions of mental strength.
Thinking: It entails the ability to reason in a realistic manner. This entails being able to spot erroneous ideas and replace them with a more realistic inner monologue. It’s also about expressing kind words to yourself. When you’re tempted to be harsh on yourself, mental toughness permits you to respond with compassion.
Feelings: Mental toughness does not imply rejecting or concealing your feelings. Instead, it’s about admitting how you’re feeling. Accepting an unpleasant mood or even calming down before having a difficult conversation are examples of this.
Taking action: Taking action is a sign of mental power. It entails doing things like working exercise even when you’re fatigued or allowing yourself to indulge in self-care.
It is important that you are aware of these 3 divisions so that you can monitor yourself based on these 3 areas. Mental toughness is usually associated with athletes, so let’s learn what they have to say about mental toughness.
Mental toughness, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, is defined as having a psychological advantage that allows you to:
- Handle pressures
- Continually deliver
- Under duress, be steadfast, focused, and certain.
Researchers enlisted the help of professional athletes who had competed on an international level in a variety of sports to discuss mental toughness. They devised a list of 12 qualities:
According to professional athletes, there are 12 characteristics of mental toughness.
- Belief in your own ability to attain your objectives
- Consistent belief in your own special characteristics and talents.
- Strong desire to succeed and intrinsic motivation
- Recovering from failures with a renewed sense of purpose
- Thriving in a competitive environment
- Accepting and coping with competition anxiety
- Allowing the good or terrible performance of the competition to have no bearing on your own performance
- Maintaining concentration in one’s personal life
- Maintaining concentration during a competition
- Activating and deactivating attention as needed
- Mentally pushing over physical and psychological barriers
- After unforeseen circumstances, getting back on track and refocusing
Researchers disagree on how to define mental toughness, including what it involves and how it applies to different aspects of life. Some experts believe that mental toughness should be limited to the sphere of sports, while others say it is a more general ability that affects many other aspects of life.
Researchers Peter Clough and Doug Strycharczyk define mental toughness as “the quality that determines in large part how people deal effectively with challenges, pressures, and pressure…irrespective of prevailing conditions” in their book “Developing Mental Toughness.”
So how do we cultivate mental toughness? There are numerous ways but here are the ones that can be most relatable to you.
- Create a Positive Mental Attitude
If you want to improve your mental toughness and stress management, the first step is to focus on cultivating a strong, positive mindset in your daily life.
The Cleveland Clinic estimates that the average person has 60,000 thoughts every day. 95 percent of those thoughts repeat themselves every day, and on average, 80 percent of those concepts are negative. That equates to around 45,600 negative thoughts every day!
Carrying these negative thoughts about with you is like going on a mountain hike with a rucksack full of boulders. The hike is difficult enough on its own, but adding more baggage to the mix is a surefire way to fail.
- Let Go of Limiting Beliefs in Yourself
When you’re continually berating yourself, it’s difficult to be psychologically tough. Any thoughts that hold you back in some way are considered self-limiting beliefs.
Negative self-talk takes over when we allow these self-limiting thoughts to overwhelm our minds, and we lose our ability to think positively.
When you notice a self-limiting idea arising in your head, swiftly silence it by telling yourself that it isn’t true, followed by some positive affirmations.
- Get Rid of Your All-or-Nothing Mentality
All-or-nothing thinking is another type of negative thinking that may be hindering you from developing mental toughness.
Thinking in extremes is known as all-or-nothing thinking. Either you are a success or a failure. Your performance was either fantastic or dreadful. You’re a failure if you’re not perfect.
- Get Rid of Your Dwelling
Self-limiting views and all-or-nothing thinking can lead to an unhealthy obsession with the negative, which is harmful to one’s mental health. You must abandon the dwelling if you want to develop mental toughness and maintain your mind strong.
When we focus on our misfortunes, we waste a lot of energy that could be better spent on achieving our objectives. When this occurs, we are more prone to give up completely.
That isn’t to say you aren’t psychologically tough; it simply means you are wasting your energy.
It’s not about obtaining a huge dose of inspiration or fortitude to be mentally tough. It’s all about developing the everyday routines that allow you to keep to a schedule and overcome obstacles and distractions time after time.
Mentally tough people don’t need to be more brave, brilliant, or intelligent; they only need to be more consistent. Mentally tough people build strategies that allow them to focus on the vital things no matter how many challenges life throws at them. Their habits are what form the foundation of their mental views and, in the end, what distinguishes them.