According to psychotherapist Amy Morin, everyone has the ability to build mental strength, but most people she says, don’t know how. From personal experience, I know that mental strength can take time and sometimes, a great deal of effort to develop. Often it means challenging old beliefs and rethinking the benefits we’re getting from certain habits. Some of these habits seem inconsequential, but as Morin shares, they’re eating away at our mental strength and making us less effective.
In this Talk, Morin presents three bad habits that hold us back and shares how to perceive life in a way that strengthens our mental muscles.
Highlights from the Talk
Morin shares these three unhealthy beliefs and bad habit that make us less effective and rob us of our mental strength.
1. Unhealthy beliefs about ourselves. Those magnified self-pity where you feel put upon; that you’re the only one who experiences crisis and hard times.
You’ve probably heard the saying (or even believe it yourself): People don’t change. While there is truth to that statement, it’s a false belief. The truth is that people change every day.
- Millions have lost weight and kept it off.
- Countless people have quit smoking for good (myself being one of them).
- Many have kicked the gossip habit.
- Meditation is growing in popularity and is helping to bring calm and more self-control to many.
- Reformed criminals have walked out of prison and there are recidivism programs seeing success rates in the 80% range.
- Loads of workaholics have changed careers, reordered their priorities and are leading more rewarding lives.
- Plenty of hoarders have sought help and now look at life and having “stuff” differently; some even turned to minimalism.
There isn’t one thing that you want to do or habit that you may want to change for which there isn’t a success model. Even when there isn’t an exact example, there are similarities you can draw from.
2. Unhealthy beliefs about others. With this habit, we give away our power. We think others are causing us to feel bad or “triggering” us and forget that we’re in control of our emotions. The other person behaved the way they did and while we may not yet have the emotional maturity to stop ourselves from feeling bad or insecure because of the feelings that were triggered, we have the control over how long we hold onto that.
3. Unhealthy beliefs about the world. When we think that the world owes us something, we’re always wanting more and never satisfied with what we have.
Pick one habit to work on now. My suggestion, as always, is to start with what will benefit you most now… what will make the most difference in other areas of your life. For each habit, I’ve shared just that single first step. If this step takes you somewhere, take the next step and the next. If you have problems coaching yourself, send me a note.
1. Unhealthy belief about yourself
ASSIGNMENT: When you wake up, greet yourself in the mirror with, ‘Good morning you!’
- Stand straight, shoulders back and legs spread slightly apart.
- Look into your own eyes with the wonder of your 7-year-old self as you remember him or her.
- Smile and keep smiling until your smile is genuine and deeply felt.
2. Unhealthy belief about others
ASSIGNMENT: Be happy for other’s success and examine the envy
- When you look through your friends’ social feed, be happy for them and fight the urge to feel resentment. The pleasure you take in their success will let fortune know that you’re ready for your share.
- Examine the envy you might feel. Sometimes the green monster popping up is not a bad thing. It could be a gentle reminder that there’s something you’re not doing to also get yourself to that level. Let your friends’ happiness and success motivate you to work harder. Call her up even and ask for advice.
3. Unhealthy beliefs about the world
ASSIGNMENT: Get into the gratitude habit.
If you’re the “keep-it-real” type, you may balk at this advice. You may be thinking that gratitude is all about wearing rose-colored glasses and not being honest. Far from it! Practicing gratitude is one of the most honest things you can do. When you do, you’re acknowledging that the world owes you nothing and that everything you have is a gift. Yes, even the weave you paid for with the money you earned. It’s all a gift. Be grateful and unhealthy beliefs about the world will begin to shift.