3 lessons from neuroscience that will help you become mentally strong

3 lessons from neuroscience that will help you become mentally strong

via the Ladders by LaRae Quy

I learned that FBI agents need mental toughness to chip away at messy cases that can last for years. I learned that to ignore a problem case won’t make it go away, either. Instead, I worked through the problems until I found an answer. Innocent people rely on agents like myself to arrest criminals and gather enough evidence to take them to court.

After I retired from the FBI, I still found myself surrounded with problems, ones that couldn’t be ignored just because they were difficult and inconvenient. I’d still need mental toughness to break through obstacles and barriers in life.

Mental toughness is misunderstood by many people. Too often, it is associated with a hard-headed mindset that refuses to yield when circumstances change.

Mental toughness is the ability to manage your emotions and control your thoughts and behavior in ways that will set you up for success. It’s not something you’re born with—it’s something you can learn, and not only in tough times.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny”—Lao Tzu

Our brains are hardwired to make us emotional creatures—first and foremost. No matter how tough and self-controlled we think we are, our first reaction will ALWAYS be emotional. We can dampen or deny our emotions, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we can actually control the way in which our brain processes emotions.

You do have total control, however, over the thoughts that follow an emotion. If you are in control, you also have a great deal of power over the way in which you react to your emotions and the situation that created it.

Here are 3 secrets from psychology on how to be mentally strong:

1. Clarity Of Vision

Some people come out of the chute with clarity of purpose and vision for their life. I was not one of those lucky few. In school I pursued a generic degree in business because I had no clue what I wanted to do in life. My first few jobs didn’t help, either. At some point it became “What do I not suck at?”

At the time I was worried about becoming a loser and how I would explain that to my parents. Now I realize most people struggle to figure out what they want to do with themselves. I was not a freak or a loser.Never miss an article!Follow Ladders on Flipboard

The bigger question you need to answer is “How do I discover what is important to me?”

Mental toughness requires clarity of vision about yourself and where you’re headed in life. It’s what will give you a fire in the belly.

It takes discipline and perseverance to not settle for mediocrity, and instead, pursue the important work. What is important is different for all of us but mentally tough people discover what they want from life and what they’re going to do to make it happen.

“There are two great days in a person’s life—the day we are born and the day we discover why”—William Barclay

Psychologist Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi’s work in the field of positive psychology has identified the concept of flow, a mental state where people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seemed to matter. Csikszentmihalyi and his colleagues found that intrinsically motivated people were more likely to be goal-directed and enjoy challenges that would lead to an increase in overall satisfaction.

How To Make It Work For You: When is the last time you were so absorbed in work that you forgot to eat? When you were so involved in an activity that nothing else seemed to matter? That is a state of flow. Look back over your day, week, or month and pinpoint those times when you felt engaged and fulfilled. That’s the work that’s important to you…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE