June 26, 2017  |  psychology  | 

We like the idea of being strong. It’s nice to not collapse while carrying your grocery bags, or put your back out moving a couch, or sob defeated in the corner of the kitchen thanks to the lid of a peanut butter jar.

We admire the physique of men and woman who are strong as we understand they didn’t get there by accident. Physical strength takes discipline. It takes commitment. It takes continuous and repeated attempts, many failures, some injuries (perhaps) and lots of bloody hard work. No one just “is strong”, strength is earned over time, and garners respect.

So why is it that we don’t treat psychological strength the same way?

Psychological strength or resilience is possibly one of the most useful assets we can develop. It’s what gives us the ability to bounce back from hardship and mentally deal with lots of life’s bullshit. And while it’s often just assumed that we’re built equipped by default, for many of us, this is just not the case. If you’ve ever struggled with depression or anxiety, self esteem issues or feelings of unworthiness, you’ll probably appreciate how much work it takes to simply try and take control of these nasty mental gremlins.
So how do you build your brain muscles? It’s certainly possible, but like washboard abs or a sick set of Sarah Connor arms, it can take lots of training and commitment. Not made easier by the fact that the brain’s a lazy piece of shit that always prefers to do what it’s always done. So if you’ve come to think of yourself as a limp noodle who deserves to cop all of life’s misery, it’s gonna take a helluva lot more effort to shift that pattern of thinking than simply buying a Poo Emoji mug that says “Good Vibes Only”.
Currently I’m trying out Mindfulness practices to help develop my own psychological resilience. Here’s a few that are currently in the werks…

    This was the first thing that worked for me, and I was shocked to say the least (I had a “sick” day pretty much every PD/H/PE day in high school and thought people who did sport were boring.) Working out drags you kicking and screaming into the present moment, which means you cant sulk about the past, or fret about the future. You just suffer, sweaty and exhausted, in the present. And hopefully get a nice butt.
    Have tried and failed at this many times. What can I say, Im shithouse at meditation. I get bored. I think about breakfast. I think about memes. I design stylish macrame hangings. Basically everything but meditate. Have started up again, committed to 15min each morning with a guided track. This is a work in progress.
    I love this one because it makes me justify random holidays as a self-care thing.
    This one is pretty much the hardest atm, but am taking baby steps. Like most of us, I try to do lots of stuff all at once (read: I try do do lots of stuff while also doing the internet). It’s not particularly efficient, it’s a poor use of resources and guarantees that my mind isn’t ever completely in the task at hand. In an effort to cultivate mindfulness, I’ve given myself the challenge to complete certain tasks (such as cooking dinner or cleaning the apartment) without scrolling through Instagram or refreshing Facebook. This sounds boring, and it is, but it’s supposed to be good for you so I’m trying it.

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