Why Mental Strength and Resilience Is Important in the Journey of Sobriety
When it comes to getting sober, there are many aspects to beating addiction. Some things can make or break your goal to stop substance abuse and get sober for good — and that’s mental strength. Mental strength plays a role in sobriety, as there will be difficult days or hours along the way.
If you acknowledge there will be good and bad days from the start, you can begin to build mental resilience and mental strength to overcome the challenging days.
Let’s dive in to discuss mental strength and resiliency and how it impacts sobriety goals.
What Do Mental Strength and Resiliency Mean?
Mental strength is a proactive method to know and understand yourself. Mental strength can be broken down into three key areas: cognitive, emotional, and behavioral. You can practice getting mentally strong by keeping a journal and staying in touch with your emotions and reactions to them.
Resiliency is slightly different and has more to do with a reactionary response when things happen that require us to dig deep for the mental strength we’ve established. An example is how we handle ourselves and bounce back after a difficult life event, such as the loss of a loved one, a job, or another negative life event.
On the journey to sobriety, there will be setbacks. Building mental strength and bouncing back from these setbacks are all part of the journey.
Secrets of Mentally Strong People
A few common traits of mentally strong people help them to be strong and resilient. These traits help them to take life in stride and bounce back.
People who are mentally strong don’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves, no matter how much misfortune they seem to have. They count their blessings and live a life of gratitude.
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “is the glass half full or half empty?” you understand how your view of life impacts your ability to be mentally strong.
Mentally strong people are more interested in problem-solving than creating or complaining about problems. Their language leans towards positive talk rather than negativity, which helps them find creative solutions to problems.
People often want to be around them because of this, and they bring energy to others. This, in turn, helps them to be mentally strong.
Mentally strong people are accountable for themselves. This includes their emotions and their actions. If they do something wrong, they take ownership of it. They know how to apologize, and they have high standards of accountability.
These traits all sound great, but what if you want to build on this — where do you start? Keep reading for techniques for building mental strength!
Techniques for Building Mental Strength
Think of building mental strength and resilience, like building muscle at the gym. Start with small steps and changes.
Over time, you’ll start to notice the difference and reap the benefit of the results. You will begin to notice how you handle situations better and likely feel more control over your emotions and actions.
When you have a strong mental strength and resiliency foundation, you will be more equipped to stay true to sobriety goals and prevent relapse. There’s no magic pill for building mental strength, but it's a skill and mentality that can be learned and adopted with some practice.
Let’s discuss some techniques for building mental strength below:
Check-in with yourself
Self-reflect and meditate
Try something new
Find a community
How are you doing today? This is a question you should ask yourself often.
Self check-ins are critical for self-awareness and building mental strength. After all, you can’t work on managing an emotion if you don’t acknowledge it in the first place. Improving yourself and your ability to show mental resilience requires checking in on yourself.
If you’re feeling anxious, own it, and ask yourself why. Most anxiety is rooted in fear and anticipation on some level.
Naming what is making you anxious can do wonders for how to handle it. We check in with friends, family, and co-workers to see how they’re doing. Why not check in on yourself? Self check-ins build mental resilience and strength.
Self-Reflection and Meditation
One aspect of having mental strength is living in the now — in the present. Racing thoughts about the future or the past can feel overwhelming. It can also cause a domino effect of feelings that include guilt, shame, or regret.
Let go of past mistakes and shortcomings. Self-belief is powerful. Have self-compassion and look forward to the future of sobriety and what that looks and feels like.
Self-reflection is a key part of your sobriety journey, and it involves being honest with yourself and your loved ones.
One way to begin a habit of self-reflection is to meditate. Meditation can be as simple as taking five or ten minutes to breathe deeply and do your best to quiet your mind. Meditation is one of many strategies used for sobriety to refocus on your goals, and it has so many other health benefits.
One study showed that a higher level of resilience was reported for people who worked on their mindfulness, and meditation is one way to achieve this.
Ever wonder why you’re feeling so stressed, and you have that burnout feeling that comes at the end of a week? It could be because you pride yourself on being the queen or king of productivity.
If you’re the type who can do four things at once and never drop the ball, consider how this is impacting your capacity mentally and physically. Studies show that multitasking decreases the quality output of the work, and leads to burnout.
You can still be as productive and feel less burnout at the end of the day by doing a simple reframe of what productivity feels like and stopping multitasking. You may be the champion of getting tough things done, but multitasking can leave you mentally frazzled at the end of the day.
Stop multitasking and focus your energy on achieving one task at a time. Job burnout has been correlated to binge drinking in some groups.
Multi-tasking may leave you feeling exhausted and depleted. Stop multitasking and start building mental resilience. It could make a big impact on your overall well-being.
Part of being mentally resilient and feeling strong is feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. One of the best ways to do this is to get outside. You don’t need to pitch a tent and be one with nature to enjoy the many benefits of being outside. Just open the door and take a walk to a local park or around your neighborhood.
Taking in the sights, sounds, and scents around you helps quiet negative thoughts and gives you mental energy. Getting outside is great for building mental strength and resilience.
Try Something New
Sometimes building mental strength means doing new things and going a tad outside your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve wanted to try painting or join a gym but haven’t dared to do it.
Trying something new builds confidence and proves that you can succeed in taking small risks and trying new activities. Adaptability is a key part of mental resilience and can boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Starting a new activity could be as simple as a new daily habit, like going for a morning walk and sticking to a routine. Build resilience by trying something new.
We feel more confident when we feel strong and in good physical health. Physical exercise has an amazing effect on mental health and sobriety goals. For some, gaining physical strength helps them to build mental toughness, and lifting weights is one way to clear their headspace.
For others, activities like running help them to build mental strength. When you exercise your body, you may feel fewer effects of daily stressors and find positive ways to deal with uncomfortable emotions.
No matter what kind of exercise you choose, know that it’s a form of self-care, and exercise is a core strategy for how to be healthy and how to get and stay sober.
Building mental strength and resilience is important in the journey to sobriety. Building your mental muscles might seem like hard work, but incorporating daily habits will help you build your mental strength, and it is easier than you may think by simply taking small steps.
When you’re mentally strong, you will enjoy an overall higher life satisfaction, as you’ll feel the positive effects in every aspect of your life. We can’t control what life throws at us, but we can be more mentally prepared to deal with it, and this is critical for the journey to sobriety and relapse prevention.
Join over 150,000 people on their sobriety journey by downloading the free app — Sober Sidekick. You’ll find a community of people who have your back.
The Fallacy of Multitasking | Psychology Today
Evidence Mounts That Mindfulness Breeds Resilience | Greater Good Magazine: Berkley.edu
Burnout and Expectancies About Alcohol Use: Drinking Behavior in a Sample of University Professors | University of West Georgia