You visit the gym to strengthen muscles. You learn new things to grow your mind. But what do you do to keep your emotional and mental health resilient? Here are six ways to develop more mental toughness.

Prioritize alone time

Making alone time a priority is a sign of stability—a core component of mental toughness. Time spent in introspection will help you reach a deeper state of concentration and become more resilient when the outside world feels overwhelming.


Contribute more, consume less

We live in a consumer society, and that means we often identify ourselves by what we consume—favorite movies, favorite music, game days and celebrity gossip. But what we contribute to society is much more important and can provide a better sense of personal identity. What do you give to your community? What do you offer at work? How do you help your family? When you focus on what you contribute versus what you consume, you’ll be rooted in a sturdier and more resilient identity.


Show up

Mental toughness comes from choosing to show up even when you don’t want to. The days you want to stay in bed and just check out are the days you should rally and keep moving forward. Some days that will feel impossible, and that’s okay. But the more often you try, the more often you will, and slowly, you’ll become more mentally tough.


Measure yourself against yourself

Comparison is a slippery slope, and most of us usually crash land at the bottom. When we watch the highlight reels of people’s lives on Instagram or hear about their sunny vacation in the Bahamas, it’s hard to feel like our messy house and trip to the local zoo are anything but boring. That’s why the only measure of your value, success and happiness should be yourself. You are valuable because you are you. You are successful because you continue to grow and learn. You should be proud because of what you’ve survived.


Assume responsibility

Not everything is under your control or a result of your choices, but when something goes wrong, you do have the choice of how to respond. Try to keep sulking and pleading “Why me?” to a minimum. Decide to resolve conflict and move past hurt for the sake of yourself. You deserve to be happy regardless of how others choose to behave, and making that choice for yourself is another way to build and maintain mental toughness.


Embrace discomfort

Just like at the gym, you can’t grow stronger until you challenge yourself. Maybe it’s becoming more comfortable with vocalizing your thoughts and emotions. Maybe it’s finding ways to cope with thoughts and emotions without looping in others. Whatever the challenge is for you, do it. Stretch, grow and find new ways to be a better version of yourself.

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