Understanding Resilience and Mental Toughness
This is one of a series of posts around the topic of resilience, inner strength, and mental toughness. Making a life study of these skills is crucial to your success in life and in business. Here we will explore the concept of understanding resilience and mental toughness.
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What does it mean to have resilience and have mental toughness?
In order to strengthen resilience, it’s important to understand the concept in depth. Resilience is the ability to move forward by growing through every part of life’s process. Struggling is a natural part of living. What matters is how we react to struggle.
It’s easy to let difficulty keep us down. It isn’t easy to stay afloat when the waters are rocky, and it’s okay to feel that struggle. Resilience is associated with toughness. Part of being tough means admitting to difficulty and working through it instead of ignoring it.
Psychology Today defines resilience as “that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.”
How many times have you heard someone say “just toughen up” or something similar? While it is easy to say what does mental toughness really mean?
According to Wikipedia mental toughness is defined as:
“Mental toughness is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.”
At one time being told to toughen up was thought of as being cliché. The view on mental toughness has now changed. Who isn’t leading a more stressful life these days?
Life can really throw you a curve ball at any time and it is important to have that mental toughness to deal with any situation. How you deal with a stressful situation is directly related to your mental toughness.
Having mental toughness is an asset when it comes to all types of situations including: sports, facing an emergency, dealing with a major injury and more. For example a marathon runner needs mental toughness to overcome the pain of running so many miles.
They have to dig deep and find the strength to keep on going, even when their body is screaming at them to stop.
When a person can get through these barriers they are often the people who will succeed in life. They have trained themselves both physically and mentally to keep going. This is what makes the difference between being good at something and excelling at it.
Learning to push through and deal with whatever life throws at you is possible for anyone. You just need to be prepared to train your mind and body to do this.
Research has shown that as a person ages they do become tougher. A senior person may have a weaker body due to their age, but mentally they can be super tough!
On the downside some people who appear to be mentally tough are often insensitive to certain situations. This may make them seem tough, but in fact they could be lacking in certain skills such as building relationships with people. Can you now see how understanding resilience and mental toughness will give you an advantage in your life?
The world today has evolved into a busy and stressful environment. It is important to have a certain degree of mental toughness just to survive. On the upside we have developed into a society that is not afraid to speak out. People are encouraged to discuss their stressors and so can find help more easily.
Life is something that you can either go through, or grow through. Resilience requires the willingness to grow and adapt. Life has peaks and valleys. It is always changing. If you’re able to accept this, you’ll find that you’re more motivated to get curious about the lessons of each moment. You’re not born with resilience, but you can develop this skill.
Benefits of Strengthening Your Resilience
When you practice the skills that go into being resilient, you’ll notice positive changes in your life. Bouncing back from adversity doesn’t mean that things will just get back to normal, but that they will get to an even better place.
How to Put These New Skills into Practice
It can appear difficult to implement new habits, especially when they involve making big changes in your life. Keep in mind that you can learn something from everything you encounter, and this is a good opportunity to learn something that will improve your self-worth and enthusiasm for life.
When you’re learning something new, it’s easy to beat yourself up for not getting it immediately. Let go of self-judgment and try something new. If it doesn’t work out the first time, see what might work for you in the future and go from there. Go easy on yourself when you’re seeing what works for you.
Keeping a journal can help you get your thoughts out so that you don’t have to keep them in your brain. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to have so many thoughts swirling around like a whirlpool. Writing it out can help ease that feeling. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write whatever comes to you, even if it doesn’t make sense.
One of the skills you’ll learn emphasizes the importance of building community. You can use this skill to implement changes you want to make by asking for accountability. Having people around you who know the changes you’re trying to make will remind you of your goals.
As your self-awareness improves, so will your ability to maintain a positive outlook on your progress. If you can look back at the work you do and be proud of yourself even if you were not perfect, you’ll be more confident in your ability to grow.
As you can see, understanding resilience and mental toughness includes facing difficult things head-on. That can bring up some difficult emotions. We will explore how to handle those emotions in the next skill I will be sharing soon.
In case you’ve just found this post on practicing gratitude and forgiveness and need a refresher on the 8 skills you need to live your life with inner strength and mental toughness, here they are:
- Develop your understanding of resilience and mental toughness
- Enhance your emotional regulation skills so you are in control
- Take full responsibility for your situation to grow exponentially
- Build a solid and supportive community of like-minded individuals
- Practice gratitude and forgiveness for yourself and others in your life
- Strengthen your relationship with yourself with your morning routine
- Move your body throughout each day to keep blood flowing to your brain
- Challenge yourself regularly with new skills and projects
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I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship and “inner game” thinking please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.
Thanks for investing your time and effort into sharing these powerful thoughts. I just finished listening to “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. Your work on resilience and mental toughness work in harmony with Ryan’s.
These are some things I should be striving for in my life.
Connie Ragen Green says
Tom, I’m so glad you stopped by with your thoughts on this topic. I was not familiar with Ryan Holiday’s work in this area of resilience and mental toughness but am checking it out now – thank you. We should all be striving to attain a better grasp of these skills, but remember we are all works in progress.
Connie Ragen Green