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Five Ways To Build Your Mental Strength In 2016

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There are a lot of resolutions many of us will make for 2016. We will resolve to be more grateful, deal with stress better, spend more time with family and friends, take better care of ourselves, and take life’s ups and downs in stride.


And some of us will resolve to become more mentally strong. So if you are looking to build your mental strength in 2016, here are five ways:



Learn From Your Failures (Don’t Run From Them). Failure is easy for no one to take, and yet failure has an essential place in mental strength. Failure is not only what shows us just where we need to improve, but learning to accept and use failure is the art of learning to take on challenges. There is a direct relationship between how much we accept the possibility of failing — learning not to run from it — and how willing we are to face challenges. When we understand we can learn from failure, we no longer need to run from it. And we no longer need to turn away from the very challenges that may just unveil our greatest strengths.


Invoke Humility. Unlike what most people think, mental strength isn’t about bravado. It is a self-righteous, chest pounding, ego-driven force reserved only for the owners of extreme accomplishments. Mental strength, instead, is firmly rooted in humility. Humility is what allows us to be open, to understand that we may not have it right, to be willing to learn a new way, and ultimately, to experience things fully. Interestingly, there is a positive correlation between humility and optimal experience, as people reporting on states of flow (optimal experience) consistently describe it as an ego-less state. And these same people, who face tremendous challenges, understand that in order to be mentally strong, they have to be humble enough to be also know that they can still improve.


Understand That Strength Is Comprised of Both Setbacks and Achievements. Mental strength isn’t a pair of rose colored glasses that we put on when life gets tough. Mental strength also doesn’t mean never struggling, never doubting yourself, and never having setbacks. What mental strength does mean is taking the losses with the wins, understanding that strength is not absent setbacks. But mental strength also means putting losses in perspective – understanding that they are not permanent, they don’t define us, and we can learn from them.


Be Open to Trying Something New. Mental strength isn’t about staying the course no matter what. It isn’t about never admitting defeat, failure, or loss. Mental strength is about understanding that sometimes as much as we try, things don’t go our way. Sometimes life changes unpredictably, and in ways that are not in our control. Sometimes, what we are doing is simply not working. And mental strength isn’t about always making things work, it’s about being willing to change when they are not. It’s about trying something new in service of learning a better way. Ultimately, mental strength isn’t about controlling the outcome, it’s about controlling how you respond to the outcome.


Harness the Power of Gratitude. While grit, perseverance, and fortitude all have a place in mental strength, so does gratitude. Gratitude is what helps us to find the small gains amidst what seems like a sea of losses. Gratitude also acts like a ray of hope, shifting our focus from one of defeat to one of possibility. Possibility that we may make it through, possibility that we may in fact be stronger than we thought, and ultimately possibility that we may be mentally strong. Mental strength is about seeing these possibilities – in ourselves, in others, and perhaps where no one else sees them – and understanding that when we can find something to feel grateful for, our situation, no matter how dire it seems, can be shifted to one of possibility.




Claire Dorotik-Nana is the author of Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards. For more information on Claire or her work, just visit

Five Ways To Build Your Mental Strength In 2016

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

Claire Dorotik-Nana LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in post-traumatic growth, leveraging adversity, and other epic human achievements. Claire has written multiple continuing education courses for Professional Development Resources, Zur Institute, and International Sport Science Association. Claire has also authored multiple books, including:
Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards and On The Back Of A Horse: Harnessing The Healing Power Of The Human-Equine Bond. For more information about Leveraging Adversity or Claire, visit

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APA Reference
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2015). Five Ways To Build Your Mental Strength In 2016. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Dec 2015
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