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Ten top tips for mental toughness

Following on from our recent webinar ‘Improve Mental Toughness in the Workplace’, I thought it would be a good opportunity to give you ten top tips on how to improve mental toughness as a stepping stone in increasing your overall resilience.

See what works for you and give them a try - you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

1. Be active

Find something active that you love doing and make it a feature of your life.  Exercise and movement are incredibly helpful for your mental state.  Just taking a walk for 20 minutes at lunchtime can increase your ability to cope with a stressful situation, give you a different perspective on things and has recently been proven to increase your life expectancy.

2. Set yourself a goal or challenge

Step out of your comfort zone.  This could be in or out of work, mental or physical.  By setting yourself a challenge and then working towards it you will develop all of the 4C's of mental toughness - commitment, challenge, control and confidence.

3. Be confident

Develop confidence by learning about the messages you give yourself.  Is your brain full of 'can't', 'should' and 'not good enough' messages?  Are these holding you back from achieving your full potential?  If so, then change them.  They're your messages and you can keep or lose them - your choice. List 5 positives about yourself right now!

4. Be tenacious

Man _Soap Box

Recognise that failure and setbacks are all part of learning and the gifts that life gives us.  You can, and will, get back up and try again.  All the most successful people have failed far more than the unsuccessful ones - they just don't give up.  Fall down seven times, get back up eight and develop your ability to commit to the goal and cope with the challenges involved.

5. Focus your energies

Focus your energy and attention on what you can change.  The only result of focusing on things outside your control is increased stress.  Learn to let go of that stress by letting go of the need to control the uncontrollable. Control in mental toughness terms is not about taking more control but focusing it where it makes a difference. Energy flows where the attention goes.

6. Keep a level head

We are brilliant at catastrophizing - taking a single piece of information that may or may not even be true and creating a worst case scenario from it.  You will know when you are doing it - you will feel fearful, stressed and anxious about something that may possibly (but probably won't) happen in the future.  When this happens, stop, breathe and apply logic.  What are the facts of the situation? What is the likelihood of this catastrophe actually happening?  Now read point 5 again!

7. Keep a sense of perspective

Be grateful for what you have in your life and value the simple things.  On a list of the biggest regrets of the dying that I came across recently one of them was 'I wish I had let myself be happier'.  Not 'I wish I had been happier' but 'I wish I had let myself be happier'.  Let yourself be happy.  Happiness isn't waiting in a new car, bigger house, smaller clothes, different job or new partner, it's in you, right now, and you just need to choose it.

8. Embrace change

When change happens take time to identify the opportunities it brings and the positives involved with making the change.  Fear of change is natural but that fear often gets in the way of us achieving what we would like to. Try something like a force field analysis or a simple ‘pros and cons’ list to help you think logically about the change and overcome the challenges it brings.

9. Focus on the positive

Thinking about your day so far can you list 3 positive things about it?  On your way home from work do you reflect on all the things you didn't do, the failures and problems you encountered?  Get home in a better mindset by consciously thinking about 3 positive things that you did, achieved or experienced during the day.  This is great to do with children too - why not write them down and keep them for reflecting on later to remind yourself of all the good things that have happened?

10. Be kind to yourself

Take time off, do things that are good for your soul, re-energise, spend time with people you love.  Even the toughest people need a break and a cup of tea sometimes.

Try one thing today and see what a difference it makes to how you approach life. Should you want more information on how to increase mental toughness and improve resilience, professionally and personally, contact us today or download our brochure.

Sarah Wall

Sarah Wall, Creative Trainer, Facilitator and Consultant

In my blogs I’ll discuss mental toughness and the importance of Resilience.

Copyright © 2015 Bray Leino Learning

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