Mental Toughness Secrets of the Happiest People

We’re all creatures of habit, and the older we get the more engrained our habits become.

Some habits are good – like exercising, reading, dieting, going to bed at the same time every night, etc..

Other habits are not so good – like drinking alcohol, consuming too much caffeine or biting our finger nails.

The types of habits we create for ourselves (both good and bad) have very direct impacts on all parts of our lives.

If we eat too much, we gain weight. If we drink too much, we risk becoming an addict. If we don’t exercise enough, we’re more susceptible to health issues.

Bypassing front of brain to subconscious mind

The funny thing is, many of our worst habits are fairly easy to correct with just a little motivation and/or determination.

But what happens when we develop habits so bad they dictate how we feel mentally?

While it’s very easy to control the food we put in our mouths or the time we go to bed, it’s not as easy to control the thoughts we allow to enter our subconscious minds.

What happens when we subliminally feed our “back of brain” with information that tells our “front of brain” that we’re sad, angry, fearful, hateful, unhappy, disgusted, or any other negative emotion?

To keep it simple, our minds dictate our actions based on the information we supply them with.

In the Marine Corps we referred to this as “junk in – junk out.”

Allowing certain thoughts to “creep through” to the back part of our brain can have severe impacts on our overall mood and the ability to live happy lives.

Do you know anyone that’s always happy even when times are tough?

Do you know anyone that’s always unhappy even when times are great?

There’s a reason why some people are always happy, and it has everything to do with mental toughness.

In my 20+ years of hiring, training, coaching and speaking to people from all walks of life, I’ve learned there are some common traits that all happy people have. The good news is, they’re very simple and can be quickly implemented by anyone.

Here are just a few examples of things mentally tough people NEVER do:

  • They never make assumptions 

The gut instinct is to just “fill in the blanks” whenever we have incomplete information in front of us. The danger in doing that is we have to make an assumption that may or may not be accurate. A lot of times these assumptions are made based on prior experiences in our lives that likely occurred in a totally different context and had no relevance to the current situation. This opens up the potential for incorrectly assuming something that’s totally false, and possibly leading to unnecessary emotional pain. Mentally tough people always take the time to think things through and never automatically assume someone’s intentions.

  • They don’t gossip
Mentally tough people don't gossip

Mentally tough people know that gossip degrades their own character and steals another person’s reputation. They know the best way to determine the character of a person is by their own personal interactions with them; not by what others say about them behind their backs. They understand that capitalizing on another person’s misfortunes and using things against them during a time of vulnerability is very malicious and a sure fire way to lose the trust of their friends. In addition to being very mean and providing zero positive benefit to our happiness, it can also end someone’s career and/or destroy their entire family.

  •  They don’t feel sorry for themselves         

Feeling sorry for yourself is a natural emotion and it’s ok to do sometimes (emphasis on sometimes). The key is to not let it overrule you. Mentally tough people never indulge in the “pity party” and they understand the adverse impact these thoughts have on their overall happiness. They’re also fully aware that the longer they allow themselves to remain in “pity party” mode, the more difficult it is to get back to a level head. When something bad happens they quickly work through the pain and get back to their normal selves.

  • They don’t hold grudges
Grudges and emotional intelligence

Holding on to negative feelings about someone provides no benefit to your well-being. By not allowing the release of these negative feelings, you’re just creating additional stress on your body by constantly thinking about, and re-living the events that initially caused the issue. Mentally tough people understand that by holding a grudge against someone else, they’re actually just managing to poison themselves. They know the only way to begin the healing process is to let things go, and they’re good at doing just that.

There’s a quote I’ve lived by for the last 20+ years that perfectly encapsulates the thought processes of the happiest people I’ve ever met:

“What the mind attends to it considers. What the mind does not attend to it dismisses. What the mind attends to continually it believes, and what the mind believes it eventually does.”

Simply stated, our state of mind is what our thoughts make it.

And side note…..for those of you still biting your nails, stop it.

4 thoughts on “Mental Toughness Secrets of the Happiest People”

  1. Excellent as always, Eric! The points you make against gossip and negative habits are dead on!

    I just started posting some YouTube videos on my site on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
    this week that deal with key habits. They are short and easy to view. My FB name is under Timothy Law.

    Definitely looking forward to meeting soon as I know there are things we can do together!
    Have a great weekend!

    All the best!

    1. Thank you for the kind words Tim. I’ll definitely look you up on YouTube. And I’m looking forward to meeting you too! Have a great Memorial Day weekend!!

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