Mental strength Pt. 1

To me, mental strength is control. Having total control over oneself entirely. I believe this strength can grow and lead to control over our external environment(i.e. Accomplishing a goal or winning a competition). Having the mental strength to control ourselves requires us to control our body, mind and emotions. Often these three factors can control us by influencing and dictating our choices and mental/physical state. Being aware of these factors and sticking with our beliefs despite them is how we can develop greater mental strength.

When addressing control over the body we see that the way our body feels often controls the choices we make. For example when we get tried during a workout or physical activity we begin to slow down or stop what we are doing. It takes a certain level of mental strength to push through our bodies signals of tiredness to achieve the goal we have set before us. Exercising this mental strength is a tool that allows us to control and become more in tune with our bodies. Going through this experience allows us to become aware of when we are just tired, close to potential injury, or if we are truly physically run down(over training). Learning this cannot be achieved without the pushing through our bodies’ signals.

Having control over our emotions does not mean we control how we feel all the time, realistically that is impossible. Being in control of our emotions means that we do not allow them to dictate our actions, just as we do not allow our body to control our actions based on the signals we receive. When our emotions control us it can lead us to make irrational decisions, or choices that aim to address and please that singular emotion. For example we feel sad when something “bad” happens to us, such as an injury or loss of a close friend or family. On the other end, happiness is often a reaction of what happens to us as well. When we get attention and praise from others or accomplish a goal it is easy to feel happy. When it is an external factor controlling which emotion we feel, we are not in control. At a certain point it is natural for us to not be in control of our emotions all the time as they can be triggered by a number of things and they are continuously changing. The key is not letting these emotions dictate our choices or to dwell on a single emotion(even the good ones). This usually leads to choices of instant gratification at the expense of working through the true issues and the reality of what is causing this emotion to arise. A mentally strong person will use these emotions as a tool. Tool to be used as feedback to help direct them to where they want to be or who they want to become.

Similarly we lose control over our thoughts when we begin to dwell on a single one. Dwelling on a single thought clouds our thinking process and judgement. Our thoughts are not reality, they are often the furthest thing from it. Many thoughts are a defense mechanism that keeps us in a comfort zone. While our comfort zone keeps us happy and safe it does not allow us to grow and to experience true fulfillment in ourselves. Again a thought is not something we can directly control all the time, but we can control how it influences us. High level mental strength allows us to recognize these thoughts as rational or irrational. If a thought is irrational we must develop the strength to let it go and face the reality for what it is. A rational thought must be recognized as a tool and allowed to be a factor in our decision making and not let it solely consume our decision making.

When these three factors are truly mastered within ourselves and we are no longer slaves to our body, emotions, or thoughts. We can then project our mental strength outwardly to have more control of our external environment. It gives us the freedom to live in the moment, being able react flawlessly to whatever situation or obstacle is thrown at you.

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