Mental Strength: Living Smarter, Not Harder

Be smart, be yourself.

 by Michael Corthell

Do you want to be smarter and live a more successful and productive life? Do you want to be able to face and overcome all the inevitable changes and tragedies in your life? 

''Have a strong mind and a soft heart.''
—Anthony J. D'Angelo

Below are some ways to boost your intellect, ward off forgetfulness, and maybe even lengthen your new found, productive life. You may even be surprised to learn that these methods and practices exist, but you may also be surprised to learn that increased brain power is attainable by making some simple changes here and there to your daily routine.

Following these strategies below will not only give you a boost in brainpower, but will also help you to keep mentally and physically fit and even help make you smarter in everything you do.

Boosting Brain Power:

Eat the proper foods. Just by eating a proper, balanced diet will eliminate over 80% of acquired illnesses, with many of them being mental illnesses such as depression. There are also studies that show this diet can alter DNA for the better.

Exercise, both Strength Training and Aerobics: People who exercise moderately to vigorously just three times a week are 45 percent more likely to maintain their cognitive function than those who do not exercise at all.

Sleep, and sleep well. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Avoid napping and keep an eye on stressors. Allow time for mediation before settling down for the night.

Cognitive Maintenance: Reading as a habit—novels to news and back again. Memory games and crossword puzzles. Reasoning, and thinking exercises create a winning combination for maintaining and enhancing cognitive skills.

Do not Smoke/Do not take recreational Drugs: People who do not take toxic, non-essential substances into themselves are over twice as likely to stay cognitively sharp in old age as those who smoke and/or do drugs.

Develop and Maintain Social Networks: People who keep busy working, volunteering and maintaining close-knit familiar bonds are more likely to maintain high quality cognitive skills and function as they age.

Practice Faith and Positive Thinking. A strong belief system will keep you grounded and knowing that all people and things have purpose and meaning. A positive mindset allows your mind, body and spirit to excel to reach their maximum potential.

Becoming Emotionally Stronger:

All of us want to be able to deal with the cycle of life's ups and downs and do it with emotional strength and grace. You start the process of emotional strength building first by becoming aware and accepting that change is the number one constant in life. 

Let's distill what you'll need to do and NOT do:

First, follow the above suggestions for boosting brain power. When that thinking 'machine' between your ears is functioning at full power and capacity, the emotional training will naturally be easier to attain.

Now, go Negative! Emotionally strong people DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING:

  • They DO NOT beg for attention
  • They DO NOT allow others to bring them down
  • They DO NOT stop believing in themselves
  • They ARE NOT afraid to love themselves and others
  • They ARE NOT afraid of slowing down
  • They REFUSE to be a victim or a victim of circumstance(or make excuses)
  • They DO NOT have a problem with saying no
  • They DO NOT back down from challenges
  • They DO NOT do things they don’t want to do(except, promises and responsibilities)
  • They DO NOT forget that happiness is their CHOICE
  • They DO NOT waste time
  • They are not afraid to ask for help
  • They DO NOT hold themselves back
  • They DO NOT mind hard work
  • They DO NOT overreact, they accept life on life's terms
  • They NEVER, ever give up
Be grateful. Be thankful for everything. The GOOD and the BAD. Why? Because God is your teacher, as well as your creator, and what you learn here is an eternal lesson that you will take with you into eternity

One of my favorite souls is the late Mother Theresa who talked about how grateful she was to the people she was privileged to help; the sick and dying in the slums of Calcutta. She said that they enabled her to grow and deepen spiritually. This gave her the mental and emotional strength to help even more people. 

The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong
by Amy Morin

Everyone has the ability to build mental strength, but most people don't know how. We spend a lot of time talking about physical strength and physical health, but much less time on mental strength and mental health.

We can choose to perform exercises that will help us learn to regulate our thoughts, manage our emotions, and behave productively despite our circumstances - the 3 basic factors of mental strength. No matter what your goals are, building mental strength is the key to reaching your greatest potential.

As a frequent keynote speaker, Amy loves to share the latest research on resilience and the best strategies for overcoming adversity and building mental muscle. She is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. Since 2002, she has been counseling children, teens, and adults. She also works as an adjunct psychology instructor.