8 Steps to Stay Mentally and Emotionally Strong

Life can sometimes hand you lemons and everyone expects you to make lemonade out of them. Mental and emotional strength is important in order to handle life’s up’s and down’s. Being mentally and emotionally strong is something that takes practice but can help you to take life’s lemons and turn them into life strengthening lessons and delicious lemonade.

As a teacher I have experienced my fair share of stress. My first three years teaching I spent many sleepless nights worrying about things. I would toss and turn thinking about my student’s progress, lessons I had written, the way I had spoken to an individual, teachers or students and other personal issues. I constantly felt anxious, emotional and unhappy. Sometimes my emotions would be so up and down that I felt something was wrong with me and I couldn’t figure out why. Finally I realized the stress from my job was taking a mental and emotional toll on me. I was taking my frustrations from my job and allowing them to affect every aspect of my life which was really affecting my quality of life. This stress and anxiety had to stop if I was going to continue in this career so I decided to make some changes.

Some things I had noticed that I had changed were my workout routine and eating habits. When I was working out and eating healthy I felt better and happier, when I ate poorly and didn’t take care of myself I felt more anxious and restless at night. Everyone has triggers that lead to mental and emotional weakness. Recognize what your triggers are. When I eat unhealthy day after day or drink too much alcohol, too many days in a row, I don’t feel good about myself. Allowing yourself to let go and enjoy yourself is fine, but when you push your limits to the point of unhappiness and unhealthiness that is when you know you need to cut back.

Next I turned to various techniques which support overall well being. I returned to my chiropractor and received regular adjustments, acupuncture and massage. All three helped to relieve my stress, work on physical muscles that were affected by my stress and I used this time as therapy to allow my body to heal and relax. Lastly I always turn to my spiritual side when I need help in any situation or guidance. My form of meditation is prayer which I do every night before I go to bed or throughout the day when I need a little support. I pray for strength, health, patience and so much more. All of these things tremendously helped me during my fourth year teaching. I found a job I absolutely love, teachers I adore to work with, students who were fantastic and I also made advances in my personal life. Changing habits can be difficult but only you can make the changes necessary to create a life of happiness. All of these changes helped me to become mentally and emotionally strong. Now I can sleep at night and enjoy my life.

Follow these steps to help give you mental and emotional strength and take life’s curveballs with grace and a smile.

1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

When you hit a bump in the road a common reaction is to compare your life to someone else’s. You question why this has happened to you or why another person who “deserves” this isn’t experiencing your situation. This creates self-doubt. The most important part of being mentally and emotionally strong is having confidence! If you have low self-confidence you are much more vulnerable to be sensitive towards unwanted situations. When someone makes a negative comment or something you are doing becomes difficult you are more likely to get upset or give up when you have low confidence. Being confident in yourself, your decisions and your actions will give you the strength to handle whatever situations come your way. Don’t worry about what is or isn’t happening to other people. Remind yourself that you are strong and you can handle anything!

“Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what they have been through.” – Sam Cawthorn

2. Stay Active

Working out seems to be the answer to every problem…that’s because it is! Physical strength is directly tied to mental and emotional health. When you work out you release endorphins in your brain which help you to feel good. Staying active can be the release you need to get rid of negative feelings, anxiety and stress. While working out be mindful, focus only on the task at hand and forget the issues of that day. Choose an exercise that is right for you, go for a hike, walk, jog, yoga or workout at the gym.

3. Keep Up with Healthy Nutrition

Just like working out, it is important to keep your body healthy and strong through nutrition as well. When you eat foods that are unhealthy your body does not function as well. Your thoughts can become cloudy and unclear. Fill your diet with lots of vegetables, especially green veggies, and fruits. Make sure to drink a sufficient amount of water. You should never feel thirsty, if you’re feeling thirsty that means your body is dehydrated. Dehydration can affect your mood, energy level, and your ability to think clearly. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

4. Write in a Journal

Writing down your current feelings is a great way to achieve mental and emotional strength. When people encounter difficult situations it is a natural reaction to see red or fly off the handle. Your fight or flight reaction can cause you to react first and think later. By writing down your thoughts about a situation you can evaluate how you really feel about it and think about its importance to your life. Taking a second to breath and assess your feelings can help you to sort through your feelings and handle them in a calm manner. When something upsets you in your life it is good think about its importance in the grand scheme of things, how much will this matter in a week, month or year? Widen your perspective as you read over your thoughts and reflect on their importance and the best way to handle the situation.

5. Be More Positive

People often like to say, “I’m not negative, I’m realistic.” This is often a comment people make who expect and accept negative situations in their lives. Being optimistic is not always easy, but it makes it a lot easier to handle life’s events. For example, if you are walking into your office with a pile of folders and papers in your hand early on a Monday morning and you trip, it is easy to say; “today is going to be a terrible day”, or “Mondays are always the worst”, or something to this effect. After having that type of thought, what do you think is going to happen? Your bad attitude is going to stick with you and your outlook on the following situations is going to continue to be negative. Now, no one wants to stand there and pick up all those folders and papers, but things happen and you have to learn to brush them off. Being positive is part of being mentally and emotionally strong. You must learn to let go of small annoyances and not dwell on situations. When you encounter these situations, try to tell yourself that you are going to have a good day regardless or think about something you have to look forward to that day. There is always something to look forward to. A positive outlook can be the difference between a good or a bad day and a strong or a weak mind.

6. Relax

Many adults are so busy with their lives that they never take the time to relax. Relaxation is imperative to reaching clarity. When you relax you take time to relieve stress and negativity and reflect on your situation. Some individuals have difficulty relaxing or are not comfortable being alone with their own thoughts. The ability to be alone and relax is an important part of life. It is healthy and necessary to be alone, let go of everything, and quiet your mind. Some simple ways to relax are to take a bath, get a massage, do some yoga, meditate, read a book, or go for a walk.

7. Sleep

Mental and emotional strength depend on a good night’s sleep. In order for your body to function at optimal health you must have good sleeping habits. A good night’s sleep will help you to wake with a rested and clear mind. This will help you to make good decisions that you can be confident of. A rested and healthy mind will help you to be happy.

8. Explore Your Spirituality

Whatever it is you believe in is your choice. Explore your spiritual side. Through spirituality you find your higher self. This connection can help to strengthen you mentally and emotionally. Spending time in nature, meditation and yoga are good ways to explore your spirituality.
If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected] and/or register on our site at www.free-yourmind.com and comment on our forums!

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