Staying mentally strong can seem like an overwhelming task when you suffer from a physically and emotionally draining disease like depression, but the fact is that people who suffer from this disorder (and others like it) are some of the most mentally strong individuals there are.
That said, mental strength is something we need to find within ourselves and learn to nurture and sustain; it’s not some magical quality only possessed by a few lucky elites.
It’s common for the most mentally strong among us to see setbacks and disasters as opportunities to challenge themselves and overcome, rather than impassable obstacles that are beyond their control.
Luckily, there are habits and mindsets we all can adopt in an effort to improve our mental strength. Courtesy of the TMS Center of Lehigh Valley, here are five ways to stay mentally strong when struggling with depression.
Understand Your Emotions
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is one of the most important traits of mental strength. If you lack the ability to properly understand and reflect on your negative emotions, mental strength is nearly unattainable.
Just like IQ, EQ can be trained and improved. You can do this by working to identify situations that have contributed to your depression. When you know what’s got you feeling badly and why, being honest with yourself and talking with trusted friends and loved ones can release these feelings and help everyone, including yourself, understand them.
Once you have identified the source of your thoughts and feelings, turn your attention to something more positive and take action to solve the problem. If you need help, ask for it. Feeling connected to friends and family can help alleviate symptoms of depression, and can also help them feel like there’s something they can do to help.
As Henry Ford, one of America’s most prominent and influential figures of the early 20th century once said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.”
Put simply, this quote follows the principle that your mentality and general attitude has a very strong influence on your ability and desire to succeed. However, it’s important to differentiate between true confidence and false confidence.
Those who exude false confidence are typically just playing a role in an effort to hide their insecurities, while those who exude true confidence truly have the utmost faith in themselves and their abilities.
Although the condition of depression is not a choice, you can choose how you view and react to it. Once you adopt the mentality that you can and will overcome your condition and learn to live with it, you will have unlocked a whole new level of mental strength.
Accept Change and Failure
Another virtue of mental strength is learning how to deal with change and how to be flexible when needed. A chronic fear of change is a significant threat to success and happiness. You can overcome this by embracing the change and holding the belief that it will be a positive one.
To a similar degree, learning how to accept, learn from, and move on from failure is another incredibly important trait of the mentally strong.
Unfortunately, failure in some capacity is a fact of life. Wandering through life fearing or running from failure is extremely detrimental to mental wellness. In fact, it’s how we handle our failures that teaches us how to be stronger.
Failure forces us to think differently about finding solutions to our problems, and metally strong individuals embrace this as an opportunity to improve on previous ideas, efforts, and abilities.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
As challenging as depression can make this notion, positivity is the key to becoming mentally strong. Surrounding yourself with positive forces, like supportive and loving people, fun and interesting activities, and “good vibes” can shift your mindset and create a can-do mentality.
One of the most common factors in the lives of those who suffer from chronic depression is a lack of a positive support network. To remedy this, you can make plans with positive and supportive family members and friends or seek out places where you can discuss your condition with like-minded people — like a support group, class, or club.
Take Care of Yourself
There are many different ways to take care of yourself, whether they be physical or emotional. In an emotional sense, the best way to care for yourself is to value yourself. Always treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid harsh self-criticism as much as possible.
Set aside time just to relax and unwind, broaden your horizons, and simply live a little. Anything from daily crossword puzzles, to planting a garden, to taking dance lessons, to planning a dream vacation can help in this regard.
Taking care of yourself physically is also a fundamental part of developing mental strength. Although depression can affect both appetite and your desire to get active, forcing yourself to exercise regularly and eat healthier can go a long way in improving your mood over time.
If you need a little extra motivation, ask a supportive friend or family member to do it with you. Chances are, they’ll be willing to give it a try. Once you get into your new habits, it shouldn’t take long to notice more than a few positive changes.
Another way to take care of yourself is by branching out into a whole new world of treatment options for conditions like depression.
TMS Center of Lehigh Valley, is the region’s first depression treatment center offering FDA approved, non-drug, non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment for patients who suffer from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
Our dedicated staff is made up of tireless advocates who, with our expertise and compassion, help people struggling with depression conquer their disease and get their smiles back. To learn more about what we do or how we can help, don’t hesitate to contact us today.