Mental Strength

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We live in a fast-paced world. There are fewer guarantees and more uncertainties these days. Thankfully this also means that there are plenty of opportunities, too. People who learn to welcome them as they come are the ones who are keeping up and making progress in the turbulent times we live in today. Usually these people are mentally strong and manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. If you are wondering whether you are a mentally strong person, here are 25 signs that show you have nerves of steel:

1. You avoid conflicts

The true mark of maturity is when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back. Holding grudges has never been a solution to problems, nor has anyone achieved anything out of it. Instead of spending your time hating people who hurt you, you choose to let go of the pain and learn from the incident. Even in the harshest stress factors, you choose to stay calm and you try to handle situations smoothly. You think that raising your voice is a sign of weakness.

2. You don’t judge or envy

You’ve hardly ever made assumptions without first being fully aware of the situation. You avoid believing in the negative stuff that you’ve been told and you don’t resent other people’s success. You celebrate other people’s success and don’t grow jealous when somebody is better than you in a particular area. You know that success comes with hard work and you are willing to work hard for your achievements.

3. You are open to receive the help of others

You are not trapped by your ego. You are not afraid of asking for help if you are in need. You are confident to admit that you don’t know everything and you are open to ask for help in order to learn.

4. You apologize when necessary

You are not worrying about losing face when you apologize when you’ve said or done something wrong. You don’t fear admitting your own mistakes and are ready to suffer the consequences from them. That makes you a responsible and honest human being.

5. You are open to other people’s opinions

You handle different opinions easily- you don’t reject them because you believe that the opposite of what you know may be true for someone else. You embrace diversity and are ready to listen to what everybody has to say.

6. You are selfless

You love helping others and you don’t expect anything in return when you do something good for a friend. You know that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

7. You know you can’t always please everyone

Although you are a kind and genuine being, you are aware that you can’t always make everyone happy. You know that spending time on yourself is as important as containing a good relationship with the people around you but are willing to say “no” when somebody tries to steal from your time for yourself.

8. You know that the world does not owe you anything

You don’t feel entitled to things in life. You are willing to work hard for achieving your goals and you know that your world is what you make it. You don’t take anything for granted and are thankful for what you have.

9. You embrace change

You don’t try to avoid change and understand that it is inevitable. You welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible because you believe in your abilities to adapt.

10. You follow your heart

You believe that you can’t go wrong by following your heart and instincts. You understand that by doing that, you’re helping your soul grow and you are never sorry for following your heart.

11. You forgive yourself

You know that being angry at yourself is not going to take you far. Instead, you are willing to forgive yourself and by doing that you are able to learn. Leaving the past where it belongs instead of dwelling on it is the key of moving on and making progress.

12. You are financially responsible

You are a responsible human being and know that by spending your money foolishly you are harming your future self.

13. You believe that persistence pays off

You have goals and nothing can distract you from working towards them. Although you may have failed several times, you don’t view failure as a reason to give up. On the contrary- you use failure as an opportunity to grow stronger and improve. You find ways around any obstacle. Giving up just isn’t your thing, but looking for alternatives is.

14. Self-improvement is a way of life

You know that life is about learning new things and you live your life by always trying to improve yourself- whether it is for your job, health or any other area of your life. You agree that if a person stops learning, he is dead.

15. You are taking care of your mind and body

You can’t have a healthy mind without a healthy body. You know that by maintaining a balanced life, you are able to grow stronger and be the best version of yourself. Your body is your mind.

16. You are willing to step away of your comfort zone

You believe that the comfort zone isn’t a good place to be stuck because nothing grows there, so you try to challenge yourself on a daily basis and take calculated risks.

17. You don’t waste energy on things you can’t control

You know that sometimes the only thing you can control is your attitude towards the events in your life. Wasting your energy on things you can’t control is something that doesn’t suit you and know that blaming something that’s beyond your control is useless and silly.

18. You use your time wisely

You value your time and believe that by killing time, it actually is killing you. You fight procrastination and choose to spend your time productively.

19. You handle crisis calmly

You remain calm and clear of thought during a crisis. Good result of anything comes out when it’s done with a peaceful and a calm mind.

20. You are not co-dependent

You don’t rely on others to do your work and by doing so, you maintain a healthy relationship both personally and professionally.

21. You know you are responsible for how your life unfolds

You believe your own happiness and success is a byproduct of your own thinking, beliefs, attitudes, character and behavior.

22. You know that gratitude is the best attitude adjustment

The more goodness you see, the more you create, and the more good things you have to smile about. Happiness doesn’t start when “this, that or the other thing” is resolved. Happiness is what happens now when you appreciate what you have.

23. You know that you don’t have to be perfect

You believe that when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are. So you don’t fear other people’s judgments because you know in your heart who you really are and are not ashamed to show your real face to the world.

24. You know who you are

You are at peace with yourself and you aware of what you want to achieve. You have certain limits that you’ve established for yourself and you’ve embraced them because you know well that that is who you are.

25. You expect less and learn more

Although things don’t always go as you’ve planned, you’ve realized that this is what life is about. You don’t always get what you’ve wanted and that’s a good thing because you learn from this experience and keep going.

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Over-Thinking

8 Ways to Stop Over-Thinking and Find Peace in the Present Moment

on 9 September, 2014 at 05:05

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We all do our best to stay positive, but occasionally we can slip into negative thinking patterns that can wreak havoc on our lives. We might worry about our past mistakes or current stresses, and how these could lead to negative outcomes in the future. We might obsess about or over-analyze regular experiences and interactions, reading into them things that aren’t actually there. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with all the other bad things that have happened in our lives and begin to feel miserable. We might feel anxious in the present, having a hard time getting out of our own heads as we worry and obsess about the things that could go wrong.If you find yourself in this place frequently, you are what psychologists call a ruminator, or, an over-thinker, and this way of thinking can be harmful to your health. Psychologists have found that over-thinking can be detrimental to human performance, and can lead to anxiety and depression, especially in women, who are much more likely than men to ruminate on stress and disappointments than men.

As a psychologist and recovering over-thinker myself, I have a lot of compassion for people who end up in these spiraling negative thought patterns. Many over-thinkers are lovely, intelligent, nurturing people who value relationships and care deeply for the people in their lives. Unfortunately, they often push away the very people that they are worrying about or seeking support and reassurance from, because they can become obsessive, anxious, depressed, negative and difficult to be around. This is not a switch in the brain that can be easily flipped off, but rather, a pattern from which it requires dedication and work to recover. Based on research in psychology and my personal experiences, here is my advice for how to stop over-thinking and find peace in the present moment:

1) Accept that You Have a Problem with Over-Thinking.

The first step to healing is acknowledging that you have a problem. If you feel like you can’t get out of your own head and over-thinking is stopping you from living a happy life, making decisions, getting things done, or forming meaningful relationships, then you have a problem. If you find yourself spiraling into negativity and depression when a bad thing happens, you have a problem. If your anxiety about the future is stopping you from enjoying the present, you have a problem. Burying your head in the sand or denying this reality will only make the situation worse. If you are not sure if you have a problem, ask your friends and loved ones to be honest with you, because they are usually the ones who will see it even if you cannot.

2) Forgive Yourself: Our Brains are Hardwired This Way

Once you can admit that you are an over-thinker, forgive yourself, because the brain is actually wired to make over-thinking a natural tendency. According to Psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, the leading expert in this field, “the organization of our brains sets us up for over-thinking” because our thoughts and memories are intrinsically woven together, not compartmentalized. So when stressors are triggered or you get into a bad mood, it can unlock a ‘cascade’ of racing negative thoughts that have nothing to do with the original trigger for the bad mood. Nolen-Hoeksema gives the example of “when poor job performance causes you to think about your aunt who died last year.”

Furthermore, when something bad happens or someone is feeling negative, they are more likely to think negative things and also see connections (that may not actually exist) between all the bad events that have happened in their lives. The more frequently this happens, the more likely the individual is to engage in this over-thinking pattern in the future.

While the brain might be wired to make these associations, once you become aware you can begin to solve the problem.

3) Breathe More

If our brains are wired in this ‘interconnected spider web’ where one bad event can trigger a tidal wave of negative thought associations, how can we break this pattern?

The first and easiest thing you can do is BREATHE. Breathing will relax you, calm you, connect you to the present moment, and ground you to Mother Earth. It sounds so simple but often when our mind starts to race to bad places, we become manic and frantic when what we need to do is relax the body and mind.

The breathing technique that works for me involves lying down and taking a two-second long deep inhalation in through the nose, followed by a four-second long exhalation out through the mouth. This breathing pattern increases the CO2 in the bloodstream, which can relax the body and calm the adrenal system’s response to the obsessive thoughts. Do this for 10 minutes or until the excessive thinking slows down.

4) Talk Less

So many over-thinkers, especially those of us of the female persuasion, can’t help but want to ‘talk it out’ when we are feeling stressed and worried. While talking about the worries can sometimes help, it usually will make things worse, especially if the person you are talking to is also an over-thinker, and you spend the entire time over-analyzing and dissecting every detail of every negative problem in your lives. You might end up working yourself up into a frenzy of negativity and feeling even more upset after the conversation.

This type of co-rumination, where two ruminators get together to over-think about their lives together, can lead both people deeper into negativity and stress. For example, research has uncovered an association between co-rumination amongst female friends and increases in the stress hormone cortisol.

If you really feel the need to express your issues, you can always write them down, to clear them out of your mind and realize that your concerns might sound silly when you read them back to yourself. This type of free-association journaling has been incredibly beneficial for me.

5) Get Physical and Get Busy

What should you do instead of talking? Well, you already know to breathe to calm the body and mind, but sometimes you just want to let the energy out! In this case it can be incredibly beneficial to do something physical, whether it is going for a brisk walk, playing with a pet or children, doing yoga, playing sports, swimming, or running. Activities that are both mentally and physically engrossing are the best, because they require enough absorption to pull you out of obsessive thinking patterns and into a state of flow.

In addition to physical exercises, engrossing activities that stimulate the brain can also be effective for redirecting obsessive thought patterns. Playing cards, learning a language, or playing all different types of games can be great diversions or interrupters of these thoughts. Or you could always learn a new hobby, make art, draw, paint or take up crafting, such as making jewelry, clothes, dream catchers, hair extensions, really anything, You might actually discover a hidden talent you never knew you had, or be able to start a new career or meet new people as a result.

6) Practice Mindfulness

One of the big things that over-thinkers struggle with is the ability to live in the present moment. So consumed by the failures of the past and the worries over the future, the present moment does not get the attention and love it deserves. Lao Tzu said that “if you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, and if you are at peace you are living in the present.” So how can we live in peace in the present moment?

Well, we have already discussed some of the strategies that can help you quiet the mind and ground yourself to present moment, including breathing, talking less, getting physical and doing other activities that help redirect attention and bring the mind into flow. But one of the best things you can possibly do is practice mindfulness, a form of meditation where you focus on the present moment without judgment. As the obsessive, worrying thoughts come in, you acknowledge them, and then let them go, energetically releasing them and clearing your space. I strongly recommend learning mindful meditation techniques such as Transcendental Meditation, or if you are having trouble doing it yourself, seeking counseling from someone who practices Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.

7)   Surrender to the Universe

When we worry, we are essentially hoping to control the flow of life because we are attached to the outcome of a situation. We want things to happen a certain way, and we are terrified that things could go wrong or that bad things could happen. In reality, we have little to no control over the unfolding of events in life, at least not from the conscious standpoint that our worrying will directly impact the outcome in the way we want. So, we can worry and obsess, or we can accept all that IS and let go of our attachment to the outcomes. The universe is way older and wiser than us, and instead of obsessively worrying, we can let go of control and with love and trust, surrender to the universe.

Surrender does not mean giving up; It just means you are willing to go with the flow of the current, instead of trying to swim against it and getting repeatedly bashed into the rocks. Surrender is a form of release and a form of peace, because it means you are willing to trust that everything will work out as it is supposed to: Trust that everything happens in its proper time and place and you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Even the concept of worrying about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ outcomes is flawed from this perspective and nothing more than a symptom of duality, which is only an illusion. As you zoom out to the grand scheme of the universe, there is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – it is all ONE, two sides of the same coin.

8)   Remember, Your Thoughts Create Your Reality

Even though I just said that ‘we have no control over the unfolding of events in life,’ and this is true at least from the part of the conscious mind and its ability to dictate events, our thoughts do energetically shape and create our reality over time. Like attracts like, and so the more you worry about something, the more you will begin to attract exactly the energy you are worried about! If you still haven’t seen the wonderful online series Spirit Science, I strongly recommend you view Episode 1, which does an excellent job explaining how our thoughts create our reality.

We must be mindful of our thoughts because our thoughts have power, more than we realize. If you obsessively fear losing your job, you are actually INCREASING the likelihood of getting fired, not decreasing it. Same if you are worrying about contracting a life-threatening disease or medical condition: The more energy you send in that direction, the more likely you are to unknowingly give permission to your body to manifest this condition.

Your thoughts and feelings will energetically create your life, which is why my life partner, sound healer Jimmy Ohm always says, “Worrying is a misuse of creative energy.” Do you want to create a happy life, living at peace in the momentt? If so, you have all of the tools to make this a reality by being mindful and present in your thoughts. You also have all of the tools to create a life of worry and negativity, if you continue to over-think and obsess about negative events. The choice is yours and I lovingly hope that you choose wisely. Blessings and Love!