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Mental Toughness

Date Started: 1-03-23

Date Ended: 22-03-23

Author Name: Mariyam Mohammed Abdul Jaleel

Qualifications: BA (Journalism, Psychology, and English Literature), MSc Clinical Psychology, Certification in Behavior Therapy, Diploma in Child Psychology.

Designation: Former Admin Officer & Consultant Psychologist, ACRO Mental Health Services

Word Count: 596 words

Reading Time: 7 min.

Reviewed By: Aishwarya Krishna Priya

Have you ever considered what makes an athlete successful? or an adept boss? or an exemplary parent? Why do some individuals succeed in their endeavors while others do not? What distinguishes them? In our typical responses to these inquiries, we discuss the talent of elite performers. He must be the lab's most intelligent scientist. She outpaces the rest of the team in speed. He is a consummate business tactician. We all know the story is more complicated than that, and I believe your intelligence and talent don't actually matter as much as you might assume once you start to think about them (3, 4).

According to the study reports I've found, achievement is just 30% dependent on IQ, and that estimate is at the very top (4–8). What has a greater influence than IQ or talent? Mental toughness.

According to research, your mental toughness, or "grit," is more crucial than anything else for reaching your goals in terms of your health, career, and personal life. That's excellent news because, while there's not much you can do about the genes you were born with, there are plenty of things you can do to build mental toughness (9, 10).

But what does "mental strength" actually mean?

According to licensed psychotherapist Natacha Duke, MA, RP, "When we talk about mental strength, what we're really talking about is emotional resilience, which is the capacity to cope with stress and challenges in a healthy way." Additionally, mental health is distinct from mental toughness or resilience (11).

Why is mental toughness so crucial?

According to Duke, "some people may believe that the terms mental strength or resiliency mean the absence of mental illness, but that is not the case." Many people who suffer from mental illness have developed appropriate coping mechanisms. They have developed emotional resilience and enjoy good mental health. Similar to this, a person can have both poor mental health and low emotional resilience without having a history of mental illness. Mental toughness is a broad designation for positive psychological resources that are significant in a variety of successful settings and in the realm of mental health (12, 13).

What steps can you take to increase it?

  • Recognize your emotions.

  • Put self-compassion into practice.

  • Identify your challenges.

  • Small moves in the direction of what you want everyday.

  • Practice being mindful.

  • Externalize your emotions.

  • Keep up a fit lifestyle (14–20).

Others are stuck in a rut, apparently unable to break out of their negative streaks, while some people manage to "bounce back" from unpleasant experiences fairly successfully (21). It is not fate on the side of those successful people that they are able to move on despite adverse circumstances; rather, it is a concept known as resilience (22, 23). Psychological resilience is the ability to cope and adapt successfully when faced with loss, difficulty, or adversity (24–26). The elasticity of metals has been compared to their resilience to specific occurrences. For instance, wrought iron is pliable, soft, and bends without breaking (resilient), in contrast to cast iron, which is hard, brittle, and breaks easily (27). This analogy can be applied to psychological resilience, which calls for a comparable resistance to the mental stress brought on by unpleasant events (28, 29).

The thing about resilience and mental toughness is that we don't necessarily have to be born with them; we can nurture and cultivate them throughout our daily lives. Seeking therapy for mental toughness and resilience is just another way to be more cognizant of our minds and make sure we develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with life's challenges any day.

Audio-Visual credits:

1. Photo by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash


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