I read an article based off of a book several months ago, focusing on the negative: “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” (This is an update of an article originally written by Steven Benna.)
In her book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," Amy Morin writes that developing mental strength is a "three-pronged approach." It's about controlling your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.
I would rather try to focus on the positive of what are some things I can do. Most of these are simply the opposite of what not to do.
Mentally strong people are spiritually mature people:
They deliberately practice gratitude.
They are intentional at cutting out whining and complaining and focusing on what thank the Lord for (Ephesians 5:19-20; Philippians 4:6).
They own their responsibility for change.
They ask forgiveness for their part of the conflict and keep their relationship with the Lord clear of sin. They change what they can and refuse to play the blame game.
They embrace the inevitably of change.
They don’t hold back in fear but recognize that change is a part of life and try to embrace the new. This is something I struggled with for years.
They focus on what they can do.
They don’t worry about what they can’t change—which is everyone else. They focus on doing what little they can to the best of their ability (1 Corinthians 10:31).
They drop people-pleasing.
This is still something I struggle with. But mentally strong and spiritually mature people know that to follow truth and righteousness means that there will be people who ridicule and mock and dislike you. Rejection is part of the Christian walk (John 15:18-25). We should be trying only to please our Heavenly Father (Colossians 1:10).
They take calculated risks.
This relates to a fearful attitude. Taking calculated risks doesn’t mean jumping in recklessly. But it does mean that you “count the cost” and then step out in faith (Luke 14:28; Hebrews 11:6).
They take time to reflect on and learn from the past but live in the present.
They don’t let themselves remain in bondage to the shame and guilt of their past. They learn from their mistakes and sins but forgive themselves and continue to listen to the Holy Spirit day by day.
They learn from their mistakes and change their behavior.
They practice true repentance. They don’t stay in the same place but continue to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling,” (Philippians 2:12) allowing the Holy Spirit to change them more and more into the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:29). This is the process of sanctification.
They celebrate others’ success.
They defeat envy and comparison by focusing on celebrating with others. They “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15, ESV).
They bounce back from failure and persevere.
They don’t give up but continue in ministering and using their gifts for the Lord until the Holy Spirit shows them clearly to change direction. They take a page from Thomas Edison’s and George Washington Carver’s pages and keep working to solve problems.
They make time for solitude.
They take time away to rest and rejuvenate, like Jesus Himself did (Mark 6:31; Luke 22:39). They make time to spend with the Lord daily (or as often as possible) and to rest from the continual bombardment of the world’s philosophies weekly (Psalm 143:5; Mark 2:27; Colossians 2:8).
They work for their rewards and don’t feel they are owed anything.
They reject the entitlement philosophy that says they deserve something better than what they have. They are content with their “lot in life” and expect to work for what they want (Philippians 4:11-13).
They take small steps toward their goal.
They don’t expect immediate success. This is a combination of several of the other statements: expect to work for what you get, don’t give up, learn from failures, and continue step by step to follow the Lord’s direction.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, ESV).