How do you respond when something goes wrong in your life? Do you look for ways you can improve for next time? Do you think about what is within your control to change and accept what isn’t? Or do you find that you’re harsh on yourself or look for someone to blame?
So much in life comes down to how you respond to the hard stuff. After all, the pros are just amateurs who got back up when they fell down and kept going. Mental toughness is the ability to stay strong in the face of a challenge and see it as an opportunity — not a threat
Research shows that your mindset plays a big role in achieving your goals, it's even more important than things like how smart or naturally talented you are. This is great news because we can’t do much about the genes we are born with, but we can definitely do a lot to change our mindset!
So how can you channel this mindset?
Research on mentally tough athletes found that they use 3 strategies; self-talk, emotional control and relaxation strategies and you can do this too:
Good self-talk – When you’re finding it hard to get motivated, take note of the things that you’re saying to yourself, chances are they’re pretty harsh. Try to challenge these thoughts with more positive ones, after a while it becomes automatic. Try a phrase like ‘this is tough, but I’ll do my best’.
Stay in control – It's way easier to deal with challenges when you’ve got your emotions under control. If you’re in a situation that has you feeling worked up there are a couple of options to get yourself feeling under control; you can wait ten seconds before responding, say ‘I just need a minute’, walk away and collect your thoughts and come back.
Wind down and manage stress – Exercise is a great way to relax and reduce stress, another easy strategy is taking 10 deep breaths. Just breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 2 and out for 6. This causes actual changes in your body that help you reduce stress.
It's important to note it's hard to bounce back when things go wrong, even for mentally tough people and that's okay!
However, if you find yourself in particularly tough times, there are some great counselling services
out there that can help you create a game plan to tackle the challenge!
This article talks about mental health and wellbeing
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues there are free services you can access. Headspace is a free service for young people up to 25 years — visit their website here. You can also access Lifeline 24/7 for crisis support and suicide prevention 13 11 14 or Beyondblue 1300 22 4636.
Explore other keys in the toolkit