3 Reasons You Need Mental Strength to Thrive

Control your emotions, and you control your future.

Posted Apr 24, 2015

sanneberg/Shutterstock
Source: sanneberg/Shutterstock

Whether you aim to become an elite athlete or the best stay-at-home parent you can be, mental strength is the key to long-term success. After all, you need fierce determination and tenacity to reach your greatest potential.

There will always be obstacles and challenges that threaten to hold you back. Building mental strength will help you develop resilience to overcome those hazards and continue on your journey. Mentally strong people overcome setbacks with confidence, because adversity only makes them better.

Building mental strength requires three critical components: learning to regulate your thoughts; managing your emotions; and behaving productively, whatever circumstances you face. Here’s why you need all three of those components for success:

1. Mental Strength Improves Your Ability to Think Realistically

Thinking something does not make it true. Many people allow pessimistic thoughts to prevent them from taking action. But believing things like, “I always have bad luck,” can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Exaggeratedly positive thoughts can also be detrimental. Underestimating how difficult a task will be—or overestimating your abilities—could you leave you unprepared for the reality of a situation. Foster a realistic inner monologue to help you recognize danger, while also giving you hope for the future.

Building mental strength involves learning to recognize and replace thinking errors. With practice, you can train your brain to think differently. An improved ability to recognize irrational thoughts will give you a more realistic outlook. Regulating your thoughts gives you better judgment and improved insight, which equals more success.

2. Mental Strength Helps You Control Your Emotions

The road to success is often filled with emotional turmoil. If you lack adequate skills to cope, you’ll struggle to resist temptation and delay gratification. It will be harder to face fears and take calculated risks. Mental strength is the key to controlling your emotions, so they don’t control you.

Mentally strong people don’t ignore their emotions. In fact, they are acutely aware of their feelings. They possess confidence in their ability to behave contrary to their emotions. So even when something feels uncomfortable, they persevere for the greater good.

Success requires personal growth through stepping out of your comfort zone. Mental strength gives you the courage to face your fears and become better, because you’ll trust in your ability to deal with discomfort. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more confidence you’ll gain in your ability to manage your emotions. 

3. Mental Strength Increases Productive Behavior

Mental strength helps you dedicate your finite resources—like time and energy—into productive activities. You won’t waste effort worrying about things you can’t control or complaining about things you can’t change. Instead, all your resources will go toward activities that will help you move toward your goal.

Mental strength will help you learn from mistakes, recover from failure, and overcome challenges. When you invest all of your effort in productive activities, you can accomplish incredible feats by working smarter, not harder. Instead of becoming like a hamster running in a wheel, it helps you get rid of the counterproductive bad habits that hold you back.

Building Mental Strength

Everyone has the ability to build mental strength. Similar to developing physical strength, building mental strength requires hard work and exercise. But if you choose to make it a priority, you’ll grow stronger and become better. Becoming mentally strong will separate you from the pack and help you achieve whatever goals you set for yourself.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages. To learn more about her personal story and the viral article turned book, watch the book trailer below.