Some people seem to think that being strong means being able to do anything and everything. But the truth is that mentally strong people are essentialists. They don’t feel the need to try to be all things to all people. Instead, they put their time and energy into the things that matter most.
They say no to things that might distract them from their goals, and they refuse to waste their valuable energy on things that don’t really matter. Here are seven things mentally strong people don’t waste time doing:
1. Worrying about what others think
Worrying about other people’s opinions and fearing their judgment will impact every aspect of your life, from what you wear to how you parent your kids. It can cause you to avoid taking risks and doing things where you might get criticized or rejected — like applying for a new job or speaking up to someone who hurt you.
Mentally strong people don’t make it their job to make other people happy. They’re confident in who they are, and they ensure that their priorities are in line with their values. They focus their efforts on reaching goals and doing their best, regardless of what other people think.
2. Overthinking things
You won’t catch a mentally strong person stuck in analysis paralysis. They refuse to overthink things. Instead, they evaluate their options and take action.
They know the risks they take and that the choices they make won’t always be perfect. But they have confidence that they’ll be okay no matter what happens.
3. Beating themselves up
Mentally strong people accept full responsibility for their actions. But they don’t engage in toxic self-blame.
They refuse to beat themselves up for their mistakes, because they know that harsh self-criticism isn’t effective. Instead, they know that self-compassion is the key to doing better, and so they choose to speak to forgive themselves when they mess up.
4. Wishing things were different
Wishful thinking can stir up painful emotions, such as resentment and regret. Whether you wish you had parents who treated you differently, or you wish your boss had never given you that extra project, you might get stuck dwelling on situations you can’t change, and miss out on new opportunities.
Mentally strong people don’t waste their precious time wishing they had been dealt a different hand. Instead, they put their energy into doing the best they can in any situation.
5. Feeling sorry for themselves
Mentally strong people aren’t afraid of being sad, but they refuse to become helpless and hopeless. Rather than waste time hosting pity parties, they find healthy ways to cope with their discomfort — such as going for a walk or problem-solving with a friend.
Even when things are bad, they recognize what they have to be grateful for. They stay focused on what they have to give, instead of insisting that they deserve more.
6. Complaining to people who can’t help
It can be tempting to complain about people you don’t like or situations you find unfair. But complaining to those around you doesn’t do anyone any good. Contrary to popular belief, venting doesn’t release your feelings of anger and frustration — it fuels them.
According to the authors of a 2007 study published in The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, “Psychological research has shown virtually no support for the beneficial effects of venting, and instead suggests that venting increases the likelihood of anger expression and its negative consequences.”
That’s why mentally strong people don’t waste time complaining to people who can’t help. Instead, they address concerns to people who have the power to fix the situation. Whether they complain to a manager or express their worries to a friend, they don’t waste their breath on people who aren’t able to help resolve the issue.
7. Rehashing things they can’t change
Replaying conversations in your head or ruminating on mistakes will keep you stuck in a place of pain, and can interfere with your ability to move forward.
Rather than waste time rehashing things they can’t change, mentally strong people focus on managing their emotions. When they’re able to fix a situation, they take proactive and positive action, such practicing yoga or spending time in nature. If not, they accept what they cannot change, and focus on making the best of every situation.
Sometimes, these bad habits can become like second-nature, making them hard to change. But becoming more aware of the unhealthy habits that are draining your mental strength is the first step in giving them up. It takes hard work and dedication, but with practice, you can learn to reserve your time and energy for the things that matter most in life.