When I think of hardiness, I immediately think of my rubber plant. It was gifted by a coworker a few years back after noticing my mundane office desk. I warned her that I wasn’t great with plants, but she insisted it was low maintenance and hardy.
I was doubtful but accepted the then-tiny plant. And although it saw little light and I constantly forgot to water it, it thrived for two years on that desk.
It also survived when I resigned from my job and forgot it in the trunk of my car. It lived through four subsequent house moves. It also suffered from the harsh behavior of my cat.
We can learn a lot from that little plant. Because although we may face bigger challenges in life than mischievous felines and broken pots, the best way to cope with them is the same: with hardiness.
Mental Hardiness: The Super-Trait
Hardiness, or the ability to endure and even thrive in life’s challenges, is a super-trait that is made up of three smaller ones:
Commitment: It refers to the investment of our responsibilities and objectives. It’s the ability to stick to the plan when the going gets tough.
Self-confidence: It is the trust that you have in yourselves, whether a situation is good or bad you stay consistent and focus on your goal.
Challenge-embracing: Seeing the value in negative events as an opportunity to keep growing and learning.
These three things together form what I like to call a “super-trait” which we refer to as hardiness, resilience, or grit.
Hardy people tend to be more successful in life because they don’t give up on their goals just because it’s difficult. They just tend to be happier, more positive people because they see life’s challenges as a way to develop so that even negative events yields a positive effect.
In the end, mentally strong individuals are strong because they react in a better way to situations full of stress. Stress is a poison that makes hardiness an important factor of our complete well – being.
How to Become Mentally Hardier
It can be a struggle to cope with life’s challenges. The best part is that you can achieve hardiness with just a few mental exercises.
- Take an Active Approach to Problems
A hardy person will never look at situations with a passive attitude, they are full of active feelings. They try to change things into better situations
For example, a person practicing hardiness will always fight against bullies whether a passive person remains silent and wait for the situation to pass.
If taking an active approach is a terrifying concept for you, start with acting on smaller problems to help build your confidence. The more you take an active approach and succeed, the more confident you will be when it’s time to tackle bigger problems.
- Perform a “Perspective Audit”
You can’t always control the situation but you can always control how you view it. Perspective is a powerful thing, so use it to your advantage! Audit your thought process and then figure out how you can shift your thinking to serve you better.
One way to do this is to change your internal monologue. For example, instead of viewing challenging situations as “bad things happening”, think of them as experiences you can learn from. After all, each time you come out on the other side of a challenge, you are stronger for it!
It doesn’t mean that you’re sugarcoating the reality, or that certain things that happen aren’t awful. But viewing it as a challenge that you can grow from empowers you to push through it.
- Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude
I say it three times because it’s that important. Actively counting your blessings will change your perspective, and changing your perspective will change your life.
Take a few minutes of quiet each day, either when you first wake, or while you’re winding down for bed. Recount the good things that happened that day, no matter how small or trivial they may seem.
If you can make this a consistent practice, you’ll find it becomes easier to find and focus on the positive things throughout the day, despite your challenges.
- Ask Yourself the Tough Questions
Sometimes we avoid dealing with issues until they completely overwhelm us. To truly be mentally hardy, you need to be able to look at not only what’s happening in your life, but why it’s happening.
Because the truth is, many (though not all) tough circumstances are ones we are choosing to submit to. For example, if you’re a wreck by the time you get home from work every day, you need to ask yourself why that is.
Is it the commute? The job? Are these things worth the stress?
Being honest with yourself will help you realize if something needs to change.
- Don’t Be an Ostrich
Knocking back a few drinks might feel like a way to relieve stress, but it’s no more effective than when an ostrich buries its head in the sand. It’s a temporary measure that makes you feel better in the moment but doesn’t fix anything.
Of course, alcohol is just one example of a “quick fix”. These self-destructive behaviors can manifest as drug abuse, stress-eating, spending irresponsibly, gambling, or any other behaviors that feel good at the moment, but ultimately leave you even less capable of handling your problems.
- Forgive Yourself
Dwelling on the past and beating yourself up over mistakes you’ve made is a great way to waste time, but doesn’t do much for you in the present or future.
Realize that you are human and if you can see the lesson learned from your mistake, forgive yourself and move on. Life is too short for anything less!
- Prioritize Self Care
It shouldn’t be a surprise that looking after yourself mentally and physically will help you handle life’s challenges. Because if you’re burning the candle at both ends or constantly putting others before yourself, you’re not going to be able to effectively employ any of these other strategies.
So carve out some time for yourself, no matter how busy you are, even if it’s just fifteen or twenty minutes.
My favorite form of self-care is a routine exercise. Your immunity, confidence, and physique all of these are built by performing physical tasks on regular basis.
Hardiness ≠ Hardened
It’s important to understand that achieving mental toughness doesn’t mean you become “hardened” by the world. On the contrary, you become more flexible.
You bend with the breeze and bounce back from setbacks, just like my rubber plant.
Not only that, you become more capable of helping others who might be going through the challenges you’ve already survived though. And what is more kind-hearted and compassionate than that?
So what are you waiting for!! Start your journey of hardiness today itself?
And in case you need any help, tips or suggestions then do comment down below. 🙂