5 Steps to Increase Your Mental Toughness

Choose Self-Awareness

5 Ways To Increase Your Mental Toughness
Photo Credit: Getty Images, Howard Kingsnorth

You might spend a lot of time thinking about how to get your body stronger, but have you ever thought about increasing your mental toughness? Think of your brain like a muscle you can strengthen, and you can improve your life. Mental toughness means you won’t fall apart with bad news, or when a challenge or a problem comes your way. With a strong mindset you can set goals, overcome setbacks (without unhealthy behaviors) and pursue the life you truly want. As the saying goes, life gets better when you do.

Mentally tough doesn’t mean perfect, but it does mean resilient. You know who you are. You take total responsibility for your life. And you don’t let the negative stuff knock you off course or take you down. Let’s work out your brain like your muscles, and increase your mental toughness with these seven steps.

Choose self-awareness. You don’t have to do yoga and meditate if that’s not your thing, but you can take a look at your life like a movie you watch on the big screen. Do you like your role? Do you like your movie? Step outside yourself and take a look. Make tweaks accordingly to be the person you want to be. When you feel good about who you are, and the decisions you make, you build up a strong mindset

Be in control of your emotions.

You can feel all sorts of negative emotions, but you don’t have to express every emotion you feel in that moment. Being in control of your emotions doesn’t mean suppressing how you really feel, just controlling your reactions. In any situation, you can choose how you respond. You can focus on the positive. And when you take a breath instead of responding off the cuff when you are frustrated, you can create a better outcome. Recognize your emotions but decide how to act and react. When your mind is in the driver’s seat instead of your emotions, you will become more mentally tough. 

Keep your promises.

Every time you make a decision that’s aligned with your core values you will feel empowered. When you do what you say you are going to do (from your workouts to meeting up with a friend for lunch) you are a person who keeps commitments. Whether it’s a silent promise to yourself or a commitment to someone else, keep those promises and you will be strengthening your mindset because you are a person of your word.

Be self-disciplined.

 Self-discipline is really all about self-empowerment. You are in charge. You call the shots and follow-through. Self-control makes you feel good. Self-discipline doesn’t have to be about how much temptation you resist, it can be about how smart you are about creating an environment that supports you. Do you hang around others who want to get fit? Do you have friends and family supporting you and your goals? Do you buy foods that support your goals? Do you have an accountability partner or a fitness friend who pushes you a little bit? Have you found an exercise you love and can’t live without? Self-disciplined people aren’t necessarily masters at resisting temptation, they might just be better at avoiding temptation in the first place. 


Toned, sculpted and buff bodies look great and that makes you feels great. Yet you don’t have to look like a body-builder to reap the rewards. When you strength train and actively work out your muscles, you start seeing the results of your efforts in the mirror. You experience how a strong lower body helps you increase your power on a run or during a game of basketball. You quickly see how a strong upper body helps you perform lots of your daily activities, and your confidence ticks upward too. When you know your body is strong, your mind follows. A muscular body does so many positive things physically—revving your metabolism, burning more calories, preventing injuries and increasing your performance in sports and fitness, that muscles naturally increase how you view yourself. A strong body builds up a strong mind. 

When you are mentally tough, you are on your own side and in control. Mental resilience makes it easier to build a momentum of good decisions—the decisions you need for success in your life. 

Continue Reading