There’s a good chance you’ll experience some type of crisis during your life: Research estimates that almost 90% of people endure at least one traumatic event.
Whether you’re dealing with serious health problems, natural disasters or the loss of a loved one, adversity doesn’t have to hold you back from reaching your greatest potential. Mentally strong people often bounce back from a crisis even better than before; they may even report feeling healthier, happier and more hopeful after a tragic event.
In my experiences as a therapist and through my research for my book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, I’ve discovered the strategies that help mentally strong people thrive after a crisis:
1. They focus on what they can control
Digging in your heels won’t stop a crisis from happening, but it will waste your time and energy. Mentally strong people put their resources where it matters most by focusing on what they can control—even when the only thing they can control is their effort and attitude.
2. They reflect on what they’ve learned
You can learn a lot about yourself in your darkest hours. While it’s not helpful to replay your painful memories, taking time to think about what an experience has helped you learn can lead to growth.
3. They take decisive action
Ignoring problems or hosting a pity party won’t make a difficult situation any better. In fact, the longer you avoid problems, the bigger they might grow. Mentally strong people look for solutions and tackle problems head-on.
4. They practice gratitude
No matter how rough your experiences are, there’s always something to feel grateful for. Mentally strong people practice gratitude, even during the toughest times. They remind themselves of all the good things in life while still acknowledging their pain.
5. They look for new opportunities
Sometimes a crisis can change your entire life. A job loss or a financial disaster may force you to change course. Mentally strong people accept that they need to adapt to change, and they look for opportunities that will improve their lives.
6. They evaluate their priorities
A major crisis can cause you to second-guess the way you’ve lived your life. But instead of questioning themselves, mentally strong people turn life-altering circumstances into an opportunity to take a closer look at their priorities. Through this process, they ensure that their behavior is in line with their values.
7. They recognize their inner strength
Thinking things like, “I can’t handle this,” or “I can’t get through this,” will affect your ability to cope. Mentally strong people draw upon their inner strength. They trust in their ability to deal with whatever life throws their way.
8. They take care of themselves
It’s impossible to be at your best if you’re exhausted and worn down. So even in the middle of tough times, mentally strong people make sleep, exercise and healthy eating a priority. They know they can’t be mentally strong if they’re not feeling physically strong.
9. They remain psychologically flexible
Recovering from a crisis requires you to be flexible in the way you think, feel and behave. Mentally strong people are committed to adapting their circumstances. Rather than repeat their usual patterns, they’re open to creating positive change in their lives.