In this post, you will learn how to be mentally strong and fearless no matter what life throws at you.
Does it ever seem like some people are better programmed to beat the odds than others?
Individuals with disabilities who go on to achieve great physical feats.
Or people with shocking childhood experiences and traumas that go on to become motivational speakers and live inspirational lives?
Or those that tragically lose loved ones and then use it as a reason to help others?
No matter how these people may look on the outside, I think of them as being mentally strong and muscular on the inside.
Mental bodybuilders, if you will!
You see, a mentally strong person is able to adapt well, bounce back and grow when they are faced with “adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress”.
Lucky for us, this is something that we can all learn to be.
Mental strength is not genetic; it’s not something that only some people are born with.
It’s something that anyone can learn, practice and improve over time.
And to help you do so, here are 15 strategies to help you become mentally strong and fearless.
1. Cultivate a Healthy Perspective of Adversity
If I wrote a handbook named “how to make yourself strong emotionally,” my first chapter would be about realizing that adversity is inevitable.
Sorry to say but…you will encounter failure and you will encounter surprising challenges.
You must shed any expectations you have that life should be obstacle free or that you deserve a smooth ride.
This life has never promised us fairness.
What’s worse is that the majority of the time, there is nothing that you can do to reverse or control the bad events that happen to you.
What you can control, however, is your mindset & your reaction.
Coming face to face with this fact is the first step to figuring out how to get unstuck when life happens to you.
2. Invest in Yourself
Uncomfortable events often highlight the areas where we could use some improvement.
Once you’ve done the soul-searching to figure out where that area is, you need to invest the time, energy and/or money necessary to get better.
That may mean reading a self development book.
It could be seeing a therapist or taking a class that helps you deal with overactive worrying.
It can even mean hiring a personal trainer to help you become more flexible or active or a coach to help you stop emotional eating.
Whatever it is, just remember that you deserve the investment. If not you, then who else?
3. Dwell on the Positive, Silence the Negative
Negative thinking drains your energy, motivation and confidence. It does nothing to help you become more fearless.
Unfortunately, we’re kind of hardwired to hold onto bad events and memories more strongly than positive events and memories.
For that reason, if you want to learn how to be mentally strong and happy, you have to intentionally work at becoming a more positive person.
You must learn how to think positive things about yourself, reframe automatic thoughts, change your environment and set boundaries and then you have to do those things over and over again until they feel like second nature.
Make it easy on yourself by joining my email group, where we work on positive & confident thinking on a weekly basis.
4. Overcome Bad Habits By Replacing Them with Good Habits
Just like cast iron pans become more resilient the more you cook with them, the key to building resilience for yourself lies in your daily routine.
While you can build mental toughness by investing in yourself and changing your thought patterns, you maintain that mental strength with the choices you make on an everyday basis.
Work on developing more constructive habits like using daily affirmations, prayer, journaling, meditation, therapy and waking up early.
The more focus and time you dedicate to those good habits, the less you give to the bad habits making it easier for them to fall away.
5. Challenge Yourself Daily
Doing hard things increases your confidence.
Even if those hard things are “smaller” accomplishments, like completing a new book, eating a days worth of healthy foods or finishing a gallon of water.
By doing them, you prove to yourself that you are strong, capable and courageous.
You also flex your critical thinking skills and discover better ways of doing things.
Start with these 30-day challenges.
6. Keep Your Mind Active
I cannot emphasize enough how much of a role your mind plays when it comes to the direction of your life. Reaching all the way back to the bible days, Proverbs 4:23 says that we should protect our mind (thoughts) more than anything because our life flows from it.
Letting your mind wander means just going with the flow of your emotions and your environment.
This makes you susceptible to distractions, toxic ideas, thoughts from people that don’t share the same values as you and many more useless things.
Mental strength means being able to tell your mind what you want it to stay busy with and creating the boundaries to facilitate that.
7. Practice Healthy Responses to Fear
It’s a bit impractical to ask anyone to have “a fearless mind”.
The reason I say that is because fear is a natural response that is hard wired into our body to keep us away from things that could hurt or endanger us.
Unfortunately, fear also creeps in to make us hesitant towards things that can’t actually hurt us physically. Think of it- the large majority of things that we fear NEVER come true!
So what we have to do is develop a healthy response to the fear we will inevitably feel.
What do you do when scary times come around?
Do you ignore the chaos? Do you complain and blame others?
Do you cling to unhealthy responses like criticizing yourself, drinking too much, eating too much?
Or do you look for healing and seek to make the setbacks a stepping stone forward in your life.
A favorite quote of mine says to feel the fear and do it anyways (Susan Jeffers).
It means that instead of letting fear cripple you, you should acknowledge that it’s there and then let it fuel you.
8. Actively Look for Solutions (Don’t Dwell on the Problem)
Instead of ruminating on the problem and replaying it over and over again in your brain, get into the habit of replacing “I can’t” with “what can I do?”
Yes- it might be easier to tell yourself “I am powerless in this situation; there is nothing I can do about it” but that is mental laziness.
I want you to start telling yourself that there is always something that you can try in any situation.
Secondly, I want you to tell yourself that to get different results, you have to do different things.
Because at the end of the day, if you are creative and persistent, you are powerful.
So, be a part of your own solution!
9. Exercise Gratitude
Even when it’s hard to see, you have more wins than you think. It’s just that we take so much of it for granted.
Gratitude is a practice that is widely known to be integral to happiness and mental wellness. It’s also a great way to discipline your mind.
10. Live in the Present
Two great quotes that illustrate why living in the present is important are:
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”
“Remember then: there is only one time that is important – now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”
Focusing on the NOW narrows your attention to what actually matters. The past is gone and the future is beyond your control, so don’t you waste your time on those.
Instead, spend your time and energy on where you actually have influence- the present.
11. Recognize When It’s Time to Ask for Help
If you believe that seeking help is a weakness, then unfortunately, you’re missing out on a trove of resources that could be helping you in all aspects of life.
It can help you make tough decisions when life is chaotic, offer you accountability and inspire courage within you.
Help can come in the form of therapy and these days, therapy can even be virtual.
If you choose to seek help from people that you know, seek out people who inspire you, push you and have the qualities that you are looking to emulate.
12. Work Out Your Mental Muscle
Repetition, time and initiative are how to become strong physically and mentally.
Don’t expect to become mentally strong by making one change one time. You will have to practice, get better and repeat the suggestions on this list multiple times to grow this muscle.
Think of it like strength training for your body but for your mind. Repetition is vital.
It is also vital to do specific exercises that are targeted towards achieving specific goals.
For example, to improve your ability to think positively, use my 7 exercises for eliminating negative thinking.
13. Journal Daily
For some of us (like myself), anxiousness, stress and fear cause us to overthink. They may even lead us to make emotional decisions, which is the opposite of what we want when our goal is to be mentally strong and emotionally mature.
Journaling is an optimal solution to this problem.
Like the illustration, journaling can help you untangle the mental clutter and confusion that make it hard to move forward. Instead of letting all those feelings cloud your brain, spill them onto a blank page and then put it away.
If you’re new to journaling, I’ve got plenty of journal ideas and tips for beginners as well as a wide selection of journal prompts to address your needs, like the these self-discovery prompts for simple reflection.
14. Set Goals and Work Towards Them
As mentioned many times, building resilience takes time, repetition and practice. That being said, you should expect progress to come about little by little.
To perfect these new habits, set periodic (e.g. month by month or weekly) micro-goals for yourself and work hard until you achieve them. Then, set new ones and repeat.
This method will keep you from getting overwhelmed and giving up altogether.
Also, the rewarding feeling of accomplishing one goal will give you the motivation and encouragement to keep doing more.
15. Consider Decreasing Your Social Media Intake
Reducing time spent on social media will give you more time to work on all of the productive strategies we discussed above. Instead of observing other people living their lives, get in there and live yours to the fullest!
Also, minimizing your social media intake means less time comparing your life to other people’s lives. This will remove pressure from you and help you to feel happier.
Being Fearless and Having a Strong Mind Go Hand in Hand
Always remember that being fearless doesn’t mean that you will never feel fear. It means that fear won’t stop you.
Be fearless by letting yourself make mistakes. Let yourself fail and fall and then practice healthy recovery each time.
By doing this repetitively, you learn to adapt well which is what it means to be resilient and mentally strong.
Over time, you will look back and be amazed at how far you have come.