5 Mental Must-Haves

How to pull yourself together.

Posted Jan 13, 2021

Sean Shinnock, used with permission
Source: Sean Shinnock, used with permission

I have identified that some people are extremely resilient. There are those that can walk through any situation life presents with strength and hope. I have always been interested in what these people are thinking and doing in order to combat life's curveballs. These are the same people who are extremely successful and highly productive. 

I have narrowed it down to what I believe are the five essential ingredients that will shape you into a resilient, badass warrior of life. Here they are:

1. Routine, routine, and routine. Establishing healthy daily life habits are essential for success. The time you go to sleep and awaken should be about the same every day. The time you eat your healthy meals should be about the same every day. The time you shower and work out should be about the same every day. These behaviors, if done consistently, over the course of time, will strengthen your mind and create thoughts that are not weak and excuse-ridden.

For example, a person who has healthy behavioral habits will have thoughts in their head that sound like, "I cannot eat that doughnut because I packed my lunch and will be eating it in 30 minutes." A person that does not have consistent patterns might have opposing thoughts like, "I would love to eat that doughnut, I have had a rough night and I didn't sleep well, besides, I'm starting my diet tomorrow anyway, so I might as well get this one last treat in."

The very act of eating the doughnut or not eating the doughnut will train your brain to believe you are either a disciplined/serious warrior or not. Therefore, behaving like a spartan will make you think like one! 

2. A strong life philosophy that cannot be broken. For some, it might be religion. You will want to develop a perspective that will keep you focused and goal-oriented. I really like the perspective Matthew McConaughey recommends in his book, Greenlights. Green lights are used as a metaphor to see life's challenging events as opportunities to go. You would enter any event or situation, bad or good, and view it as an opportunity as opposed to a "roadblock." You would become thankful and appreciative for any obstacle that comes your way, as it would be viewed as a wonderful chance for you to demonstrate how you can handle it.

I was diagnosed with severe OCD 10 years ago. I have been blessed to be in recovery for a very long time. This does not mean that I never get triggered by intrusive and terrifying thoughts. When I do become triggered, I view that thought and that situation as an opportunity to practice and perfect all of my RIP-R therapy skills. (See my post, "Can This New OCD Treatment Help Where Others Fall Short?") I challenge any intrusive thought to "come and mess with me!" I am always thankful to see these situations as opportunities for me to rise. 

3. Always have loved ones in your life whom you feel you can trust and confide in. It has been shown time and time again in psychology research that "no man is an island" and humans need healthy and meaningful connections. Mentally, successful people never feel that they are completely alone and that there is no one they can turn to for help and support. When a person does begin to feel this way, it is usually because they have isolated themselves. 

The behavioral act of "trusting" another and taking that "risk" will create mental beliefs that you're are connected with others, that you are not alone, and that others care for your well-being. Reminder: Trust and disclosure need to be carefully balanced and self-monitored. These acts need to be well-measured since oversharing and overtrusting could also create a different set of problems. 

4. You need a reason, a strong sense of urgency, a calling, a drive. I believe every person needs to feel purposeful and needed. People will work very hard if they feel it is necessary. For example, picture the man who wakes every day at 5 a.m. when he feels like sleeping. He battles traffic and goes to work for 14 hours when he would rather be doing something else. Why does he do it?

He believes in his mind that he needs money to feed his children and provide them with a life filled with opportunities. That is a reason. Because he believes his children will not have a great life if he does not do these behaviors, he has a strong sense of urgency and drive. In turn, this behavior creates thoughts in his mind that are strong and driven and sound like, "I need to get my ass out of bed." 

5. Exercise. Yes, you have to, if you want to get everything you desire. You need to move. Remember, movement is life. You are a human being; it is embedded in your DNA that if you are moving your body, then you are working and being productive. The very act of exercising creates thoughts such as "I am worth the effort" or "I am evolving." Believe me, you need these types of thoughts because those who are not strong warriors do not have these thoughts in their minds.