4 Things Mentally Tough People Don’t Do
As a psychologist, I hear every day about the emotional problems and challenges people struggle with — from depression and anxiety to relationship issues and low self-esteem.
But contrary to what you might imagine, people who come to therapy aren’t just full of problems. They’re actually overflowing with examples of strength, resilience, and courage as well.
And one surprising thing I’ve noticed over the years about mentally tough people is this:
Mental toughness is often about less, not more.
When we’re faced with a problem, it’s natural to want to do something — to add a solution or find a new coping strategy. However, what you might actually need is less of something you have too much of.
If you can work to identify and reduce these four bad habits in your life, you’ll find that you’re more mentally tough and resilient than you realized.
1. Getting lost in your own thoughts
Our ability to think, reason, problem-solve, and plan are all incredibly powerful and frequently beneficial. But they can also be double-edged swords that hurt us more than they help.
Consider the following:
- Is worrying about your daughter while she’s out on her first date actually helpful? Does it really solve any problems or help you achieve anything meaningful?
- Does dwelling on past mistakes in your marriage and running through all the different alternatives you could have made helpful to your marriage now? Maybe doing it once or twice helped you learn a thing or two, but if you’ve been ruminating on it for years and years, it’s hard to see the benefit.
There’s always an emotional cost to negative thinking like worry and rumination. So if you’re going to do it, you better have clear benefits to outweigh the costs.
Unfortunately, most of us assume instinctively that all thinking is good thinking.
But it should be pretty obvious with the above examples that that’s definitely not always…