When we ponder about how to be mentally tough, the habits that come to mind often have a militaristic, “tough it out” approach. Think: a soldier slogging through the mud or an athlete dusting themselves off for one more play.
However, science has revealed a new method that flies in the face of the traditional advice on how to be mentally tough. Here’s how to use it daily:
Focus on recharging
According to Harvard research, mental toughness and grit relies on how you recharge, not how you endure. It might seem counter-intuitive, but daily mental rejuvenation will result in increased productivity over the long run. On the other hand, toughing it out with no rest in the horizon will result in massive stress, insomnia, and ultimately, decreased productivity.
Focus on “me” time
If you’re wondering how to be mentally tough from recharging, look towards your routines outside the office. I’m sorry to break it to you, but there mere act of leaving the office isn’t enough – you’ll need to actually get your brain to leave “office mode” too.
To start having a mental checkout, use what I like to call “me time.” It’s time where you deliberately focus your thoughts on something other than stress and responsibilities. Just like your daily tasks, this habit needs to penciled in as non-negotiable. Consider pairing this time with something relaxing (like a bath or podcast) to truly unwind.
Take a break in the office
When it comes to working, science also shows that mental rejuvenation is vital for mental toughness. That’s because our brains function best with intermittent rest. The experts recommend a tiny break every 90 minutes, but any break will have benefits.
By checking out for a few minutes (like taking a walk), you’ll return to work stronger and ready to jump back into that tough project.
Do you have any secrets on how to be mentally tough? I’d love to hear them – give me a shout-out on Twitter!
If you liked these tips on how to be mentally tough, be sure to check out my articles in Inc. Magazine and Medium.