Get Mentally Tough:
Seven Secrets to Resilience
During Difficult Times
By Dr. Nancy D. O'Reilly
Change is not
always easy; in fact, for many of us change is downright difficult.
Humans are creatures of habit. We like our world to be predictable,
and we want to know what to expect in our lives, moment to moment.
In today’s world,
however, change is part of life. It is now easier than ever to hear
of someone loses his job, foreclosing on a home, or breaking up with
a loved one. With all these negative changes, it is difficult to
know what to do. When life hands you a bunch of lemons, do you fall
apart and spend months trying to recover or are you resilient? Do
you weather the ups and downs, only to come back stronger or do you
hide under a rock until the storm blows over? During these trying
times, wouldn’t it be nice to develop a sense of resilience?
are “mentally tough.” Think of them as you think of the Energizer
Bunny – someone who keeps going and going no matter what. Those who
are resilient are able to overcome difficult situations and remain
cool, calm and collected. They are ready to seek solutions and get
back on track. They do not let disappointments deter them from what
they want – instead, they stay focused and plan to be successful.
But how can you develop this kind of strength and perseverance? What
is the secret?
We can all learn to
be more resilient and mentally tough. It’s all about being in the
ideal psychological, physical and emotional state, in order to
perform at peak levels. Performance is about how we go
about our lives, how we behave, feel, think and do our jobs.
Regardless of where we perform these functions and responsibilities,
it is important to know how well we are doing and how we can improve
If you want more
out of your life, whether it’s to do better on the job despite the
economic downturn, or enhance your skills in spite of previous
roadblocks you’ve previously faced – then it’s time to make changes
and get mentally tough. Here are seven tools to help you become more
This activity actually prepares your body for better performance.
Are you holding your breathe right now? The more stressed and tense
you are, the more likely you are to hold in your breathing. In fact,
you could also be experiencing headaches, back aches or tightening
shoulders. Here’s a prescription for you: Take three deep breaths of
air and let them out slowly. Count one, two, three. This creates
good circulation and steady breathing for the rest of your day, no
matter what situations you face.
2) Get more
physical activity. Call it exercise or whatever you want. Anything that gets your heart
pumping creates important, positive changes in your body. Exercise
not only improves our physical bodies, but it also improves the
mental. It gives each of a sense of control, and as well all know,
control is important to us as human beings. Activities such as
running, walking, doing yoga or pilates, going biking, hiking,
swimming or playing sports are all great ways to keep your mind and
3) Give your
body the fuel it needs. Food fuels your human engine. You wouldn’t leave the house
without putting gas in your car when you are ready to take a long
drive, right? Yet you might not think twice about leaving for work
without eating breakfast. Where is the sense in that? Fill up your
tank with energy-boosting whole grains, fruit and yogurt and watch
your performance increase.
4) Get laughing.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right? Well, when
times are tough, it’s ideal to go out and find your sense of humor.
Whether it’s a comedy club, a funny movie or getting together with a
particularly comedic friend, locating your funny bone will help you
release those feel-good endorphins. This will help not only with
your emotional state, but also your physical being. Think about it.
When you laugh, you breathe. Try it and do a big belly laugh and see
your future. Practice what you want to be and see clearly what you want for your
future. It may seem silly, but practicing in your mind, whether it’s
a skill you are trying to attain or the dream house you want to move
into, can open up the possibilities. Athletes do it all the time.
They will visualize the ball going into the hole, or the basketball
going into the net. Think and it will be – this hole is one is
6) Use your
The bottom line is mentally tough people, or resilient people, use
their brains. It is a muscle and it must be exercised. So, go out
there and do brain games. Try out right-brain-left brain exercises
such as puzzles, cards and memory games; brush your hair (or your
teeth) with the opposite hand; find a new way to get home after
work; even skipping and jumping rope are right-left brain exercises.
We use around 11 percent of our brain power, which means there is 89
percent of our brains waiting to get used. Think of all that
7) Stay cool.
Mentally tough people know how stay calm and avoid letting their
emotions run over them. Here are some tips for that: Try doing some
biofeedback; spend the afternoon daydreaming; listen to music; get a
fuzzy pet. Last but not least, get rid of those negative thoughts!
For example, stop saying “I can’t” and replace it with “I can or I
to be a really mentally tough person you need to get happy!
Happiness is a state of mind – not a place, an object, person or
thing. Think of the Laws of Attraction. You attract what you think
about. Mentally tough people practice being happy and know it is up
to them to make it happen. They also know that practicing makes them
really good at it. The good news is all of this costs absolutely
nothing – you do not have to go and buy a manual or a piece of
Times are tough ...
but the tough get going and we can learn a lot from them. Be happy
and be mentally tough, and you will be able to handle anything that
comes your way!
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Dr. Nancy D. O'Reilly.
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