Power of the mind

Arja Kumar (TheLorian)

Developing mental power is a skill. It is just like exercising. With time and practice, one can develop great mental power and flow with strength and confidence. Contrary to what most think, mental power is not related to one’s intellectual ability, but rather, it is related to one’s ability to deal with life and its ups and downs.

Like Ludwig van Beethoven once said, “This is the mark of a really admirable man: steadfastness in the face of trouble.” 

Now, we don’t all have to aim to be admirable or perfect, but we can aim to make ourselves mentally stronger. Like different forms of physical exercise — whether it be lifting weights, jump roping, dancing, swimming, or simply walking — mental power can be developed by various activities. Spending quiet time in nature nurtures the mind’s ability to sit still and be present. Listening to different types of music allows the mind explore diverse emotions. Reading novels and interpreting artwork lets the mind flex its empathy, imagination, and analyzing capacities. Purposefully engaging in uncomfortable situations (e.g., talking to strangers, dancing in Starbucks, or visiting an unknown place) frees the mind to broaden its experience horizon. We certainly exercise our mental power everyday, but we often stop at what we are required to do. After we reach our expected point, we often kick back and let life run loosely — only exerting our mental power when a situation pops up and it is needed. The downside to this is that when difficult life scenarios pop up, we then freak out and don’t know how to handle them properly. 

Hence, working on strengthening our mental power everyday can help us overcome adversities in life. According to PositivePsychology, the four C’s model of mental toughness involve 1) control, 2) commitment, 3) challenge, and 4) confidence. First, control involves how one chooses to steer their life and their mind. Taking life by the reins and holding ourselves accountable is the first step to control. When we take personal responsibility, we can better focus on our life path. Controlling our thoughts and emotions instead of letting them control us allows one to expend mental energy wisely and productively, and not waste brain power ruminating about things one can’t control. Second, commitment involves staying true to oneself. This includes being disciplined towards finishing a task, working towards some goal, or being honest with oneself. Commitment allows one to continue going no matter the circumstances. Third, challenge involves seeing experiences as opportunities for personal growth. Rather than perceiving tough situations as daunting, rerouting the mindset to thinking of these situations as opportunities for positive growth helps one progress. Fourth, confidence involves belief in oneself and one’s abilities. It is key to staying mentally tough because one is able to take risks and move forward. 

Now, things are obviously easier said than done. Oftentimes, we say things like, “I can’t deal with this right now,” or “I can’t handle this.” It is normal to feel overwhelmed or low on one’s confidence, yet we must remember that ultimately, mental power is in our hands. When life throws us in difficult situations then, our mental toughness is a big factor in how we react, deal with, and move on from them. Stronger mental power can therefore enrich one’s life by giving them the fortitude to use their mental energy wisely in order to achieve something more. 

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