Bad habits you should kick for a stronger mind
Here are 5 things you should stop doing
LIFESTYLE Personal growth
Role models of mental strength are often presented to us in the form of war veterans, elite athletes, or business moguls—all with a kind of toughness, demonstrating a hard strength in extraordinary circumstances, and more often than not they're hyper-masculine figures. But there's a kind of strength that isn't spoken of enough: that of women in today's society.
Psychotherapist and mental strength trainer Amy Morin examines strategies for building a stronger mind, and much like growing your muscles, it requires giving up bad habits in exchange for healthy ones. That principle is the same for both men and women, but Morin is careful to note that the process is made more difficult for women because societal pressures and cultural norms have, for so long, encouraged women to engage in unhealthy mental practices.
Morin highlights, on MBG, five of these bad habits, some of which you might not even realize are hindering your personal growth! These are the bad habits you should kick for a stronger mind:
- Downplaying your success. You should never be afraid to look too accomplished or ambitious, but many women fear they'll be perceived as arrogant. Women traditionally aren't taught to be confident about their achievements. Think about when you're given a compliment: your first response should be "Thank you," but often times women say something more akin to, "It was nothing."
- Blaming yourself when something goes wrong. Unless it's entirely your fault, of course. But taking on excessive blame, like apologizing for or feeling guilty about things out of your control, will take a huge toll on your life. Morin suggests considering what you would tell a friend if they were feeling guilty about something out of their control—you would likely be kind and compassionate—and to talk to yourself the same way.
- Staying silent. This is a difficult one in areas of a power imbalance, but speaking your truth is infinitely less taxing than harboring thoughts and ideas, especially when it comes to someone saying something you don't agree with or not contributing in a business meeting. Don't wait for an invitation! It's also important to note that speaking up entails knowing when to ask for help. You never have to bear your struggle alone.
- Submitting to self-doubt. For some unknown reason, our brains love to second-guess us, adding another obstacle onto the pile. Learn to embrace your uncertainty and use your self-doubt to fuel your work. This is a tough habit to break because in order to do so, you have to learn not to believe everything you think.
- Comparing yourself to others. Comparison is, after all, the thief of joy, but it's easier now than ever. Right at your fingertips are Facebook friends getting married, fitness models on Instagram, and a world full of people sharing photos designed to evoke envy. It's a waste of time and energy, and Morin suggests approaching other people's narratives with the goal of learning something, as opposed to competing against them.
Though the scales are not tipped in women's favor, fortunately everyone has the opportunity to build mental strength. Take a closer look at your habits, pick the ones you like, and kick the ones you don't.