How to Build a Strong Mind ~ 13 Habits to Leave Behind

Psychotherapist and adjunct college psychology instructor Amy Morin guides us on how to build a strong mind by showing us the 13 things mentally strong people don't do...

What is strength? Where does it come from? While the term is most commonly applied to the physical, history has shown us, time and again, that true strength is something much deeper — something that always finds its provenance in the mind.

It is simple to develop physical strength — nearly anyone can follow a strict regimen of exercise and diet and gain great physical strength while remaining feeble in mind. To the contrary, one cannot possess true strength in character and action without first developing the muscles of the mind. Often this is a process that involves letting go of things, rather than building them up.

The following is a list of 13 specific mental habits that are better left behind in the cultivation of a truly strong mind. It was put together by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and adjunct college psychology instructor, and quickly spread to become a viral phenomenon due to its clarity, vision and tone. It is shared here with her permission. Please enjoy, take to heart, and share alike.

1) Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Yourself

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. They instead take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2) Don’t Give Away Your Power

Those who have developed mental strength don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they have control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

3) Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4) Don’t Waste Energy on Things You Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

5) Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

6) Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

7) Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8) Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

9) Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

10) Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

11) Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

12) Don’t Feel the World Owes You Anything

Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

13) Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

Source: “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”, by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and adjunct college psychology instructor. She writes for a variety of other online and print publications and she serves as’s parenting teens expert. If you liked this post, you can grab her book of the same title here, and you can follow her on Facebook & Twitter.

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