5 Ways to Stay Mentally Strong, No Matter What

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“Have a little faith in your ability to handle whatever comes down the road. Believe that you have the strength and skills needed to face whatever challenges come your way.” ~Lori Deschene

My life is unpredictable.

These days, it feels like I wake up not knowing what obstacles I will face or how I will handle it all. Is the world getting harder, or is it just me?

No escape to a sparkly “Whole New World.” Time to face it.

Are you, like me, wondering, “How is everyone going through life these days?”

Trying to get my mind in order the other day, I pulled out my self-improvement toolbox. Unearthing insights from past learning (books, therapists, workshops).

I came up with the usual suspects: Embrace change! Practice awareness! Find your purpose! Reclaim your power! These fabrics felt outdated, a mismatch for today’s challenges.


Like many others I interact with, such as family, clients, and friends, I feel the uncertainty is growing steadily. Reality bites: bills, jobs, families demand your presence.

So where do I find hope in my ability to handle life?

I think back to my childhood as a child of Gen X. Growing up in a village on a dead end road with ten siblings, I had to find a way to support myself from a very young age. The food went quickly, and I had to eat and make sure I got my share. My school project: finding problems at home, researching solutions, and presenting a report.

My parents didn’t get down with glue and popsicle sticks. Always.

Using the words “I’m bored” gave you a broom and a child, so I kept myself busy and out of sight of the adults. Whenever I needed a ride anywhere, it was up to me how to get there and get home, and I got stuck many times.

Superpowers I developed as a child to survive intelligence.

This, by definition, was the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties and use what others tend to ignore or discard. If I didn’t have what I wanted or needed, I would have to create opportunities using limited or non-existent resources.

I developed curiosity, the ability to take care of myself, and the willingness to find solutions under any difficulty and solve problems with my younger siblings. I put together clothes, learned to sew my own clothes, cook food, became an expert story teller and author of white lies.

Hypervigilance was developed so that I could find a way to study the emotional state of adults, who were full of responsibilities and unfulfilled dreams. Avoiding danger, like avoiding father’s anger or teacher’s punishment, became my specialty. Friends were everything, and they, as well as outsiders, helped me grow up in an amazing way with many wonderful memories.

What I learned in my childhood is this: It is not always the lack of resources that is the problem; it is a lack intelligence that causes failure.

We chase money, tech, contacts, time, even lawyers, but often miss the key: emotional intelligence. It’s within us all. When you dig deep and use your emotional resources, you can find almost any other resource in the world.

It’s Time to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence and Performance

Here are my five tips to stay mentally strong and navigate whatever comes your way in life.

1. Use what you have.

When I was a child, no one went to the store to buy me clothes, fashionable trinkets, or even necessities like pajamas, pencils, and enough socks. We used and reused what we had around.

Even when I can afford the things I need, I like to look at my Amazon cart and double-check to see if I have something at home that I can do temporarily or ask for a local WhatsApp group. You’d be surprised what people give away for free, both goods and services. You just have to ask.

Trade-ins also work. I’ve been paid for vacations, kids’ school tuition for marketing services, and plane tickets to use my home for a night or two.

2. Improve your hustle.

If I wanted the latest thing the other kids had or wanted to go out for pizza with my friends, I would babysit, rake leaves, and hustle my grandma for money. I found that if I played him a song on the piano and told him I was the best and prettiest in my class, he would give me $5. It made us both happy!

Get invites by making friends with people you like and want to be like. Focus on the communities you choose by shopping at those neighborhood grocery and coffee shops and talking to the people there. Sign up for training and meetings at city-run parks and recreation centers in those neighborhoods. Don’t stop thinking about your destination.

3. Practice speaking up for yourself.

Throughout my childhood, I always told myself, sitting on the top bunk in a room crowded with my sister, that one day I will be a writer as I read in my favorite book, Anne of Green Gables. I knew that one day I would sell my stories and have the money I wanted. I did that today!

When I saw things around me that I didn’t like, and there were a lot of them, I reminded myself that one day I would be like the well-dressed women in my mom’s magazines: colorful dresses, big white smiles. Seek external motivation for this and have a positive, goal-oriented dialogue with yourself.

If something is not as you would like it, tell yourself, “I don’t like it, it’s a distraction, again it is temporary.” No BUT it is temporary; say againor in addition. “And it’s temporary.” That’s how he talks to himself, according to former prisoner of war Edith Eger, author of Choice. “Whatever happens, it’s temporary and I can survive.”

4. Trust your intuition.

Hope you have the sense to find it. We got home from school, found our friends from outside to hang out with, kept ourselves alive, and learned when to avoid dangerous adults (most of the time).

Trust that your instincts will kick in at the precise moment needed, and it may be last minute, but you will always find it.

5. Know that you have a unique purpose.

Young writer, believe in your purpose! Your talent has the power to impact the world.

I used to volunteer for just an hour a week at a recovery center when I was at my lowest, just to feel a sense of purpose, and I reaped magical rewards from the experience.

Bonus Tip: Build a Support System

No one can face life’s challenges alone, and building a strong support system is essential to staying mentally strong. As a Gen X kid, we had our friends on the street to hang out with all the time; we were always there alone.

Surround yourself with uplifting and encouraging people.Talk it out! Share your struggles with loved ones (or professionals) for support and fresh perspectives. This eases burdens and builds mental strength – crucial for a healthy mind.

Life may throw curveballs, but by incorporating these five habits into your routine, you can build a strong foundation of mental strength.

Mental strength isn’t about dodging challenges, but facing them with smarts, grit, and a positive outlook. These tools empower you to navigate life’s twists and emerge stronger.

“Know that you always have the power to do the best in anything. Life throws us curveballs. We may face losses or difficulties we neither desired nor anticipated. They might seem daunting, overwhelming, or even unjust. However, within each challenge lies the potential for growth. We can learn from these experiences, emerge stronger, and even use them to aid others. Perhaps these hardships will even pave the way for unexpected success. The future may be uncertain, but one thing remains constant: you have the strength to navigate whatever comes your way.” ~Lori Deschene

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