7 Subtle Signs of Mental Strength

4 min read

Education & Career Trends: August 7

Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

Improving your mental strength is both possible and beneficial.

  • Excerpts are taken from an article published on psychologytoday.com.

Culturally, we often see quite narrow depictions of mental strength. Often, it’s merely equated with keeping up with habit streaks and self-discipline. However, mental strength is broader than this and encompasses mental flexibility as well as stackability.

Here are some signs of mental strength you may not have recognised in yourself or others.

1. You ask for (and take) advice
  • Asking for advice is a sign of openness.
  • Taking advice is a sign of cognitive and behavioural flexibility—that is, you’re willing and able to adapt your thinking and actions based on new information.
2. You can articulate your strategies
  • To perseverate is to continue to repeat an action, even when it’s not accomplishing anything.
  • People who have few strategies for handling stress and challenges sometimes persist with an ineffective strategy, like trying to convince someone else of their point in the same way.
  • A sign of mental strength is to have a big toolkit of strategies and the flexibility to shift between these, depending on the situation and what works.
  • If you can articulate your strategies for problem-solving, decision-making, self-management, and influencing others, it shows that you possess a wide array of tools.
  • This prevents you from getting stuck using the same strategy, due to a lack of alternatives.
3. You can break down a complex task into manageable steps
  • Planning and sequencing are high-level brain functions that fall under the category of executive functions.
  • People who avoid challenging tasks sometimes do so because they’re unable to plan and sequence.
  • They can’t break down a challenging task into manageable chunks so that it’s not overwhelming.
  • Breaking down tasks into smaller steps reduces task avoidance due to feeling overwhelmed.
  • Over time, completing complex tasks builds your confidence, your skills, and a reputation for being skilful and reliable.
4. You enjoy seeing others win and succeed
  • One of the most important determinants of relationship quality is how people support each other when things go right.
  • This applies to all sorts of relationships, from marriages to friends to coworkers and family.
  • You’ll have stronger relationships if you can feel happy for people when they win or succeed.
  • It’s also a subtle sign you feel safe and secure in yourself, and that you operate based on an assumption of abundant opportunities rather than scarcity and threat.
5. You’re always learning
  • Physical strength and muscle volume are protective against the effects of illness and ageing.
  • The same goes for mental strength.
  • Continuously gaining new knowledge helps safeguard against the mental effects of illness and ageing.
6. You find yourself mulling over surprising ideas
  • The capacity to reflect on ideas is a sign of mental strength.
  • If you’re exposed to an interesting idea from a conversation, reading, or a podcast, does it stick in your mind and you mull it over?
  • Allowing your worldview and strategies to be shaped by new ideas is a sign of mental strength and flexibility.
7. You value a wide range of positive qualities within yourself
  • Being able to see your strengths is an asset.
  • Why? The more you accurately perceive your strengths, the better you’ll be at seeing how you could apply your strengths to accomplishing particular tasks and handling stress and challenges.
  • When you see yourself as having a wide variety of strengths, it will help you see a plethora of ways of handling difficult tasks and situations.
  • When you use diverse approaches, you’ll attempt more varied challenges, accomplish more, and further develop your skills and strengths. It will become a virtuous circle.
  • If you fail to see your strengths, you’ll fail to see how you could apply those strengths to tasks in a way that’s a good, natural fit for you.

As you can see from this list, mental strength isn’t static. It’s not just a level of grit or willpower that we’re born with. If this article revealed areas where you can improve, be compassionate with yourself. The points inherently offer clear directions on how to work on those aspects. Give it a try. Improving your mental strength is both possible and beneficial.

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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