After ringing in the New Year, many begin the year working towards accomplishing their list of resolutions. Trying out a new diet, adapting a workout regimen, or connecting to others, ideally making this a lifestyle change. With every good intention in mind, we sometimes forget life happens! We face challenges that steer us off our intended path and cause us a momentary hiccup in reaching our goals. Adapting and adjusting to life events is key. This entails being mentally strong or having mental toughness. The term “mental toughness” may sound familiar for most athletes, coaches, or sport parents. This term is usually associated with athletics, but sport is not the only domain where having mental toughness is helpful. So, what is mental toughness and how does it impact our emotional and psychological well-being?
Mental toughness is a broad umbrella term that entails positive psychological resources crucial for achievement and mental health (Lin, Mutz, Clough, & Papageorgiou, 2017). This term exemplifies a positive and healthy mental state by building strength, delaying gratification, and exhibiting grit. Mental toughness helps an individual deal with challenging situations in an effective way and helps one persist when under pressure (Lin, Mutz, Clough, & Papageorgiou, 2017). Not only can mental toughness provide an effective way to deal with stressors, it can also help individuals seek out opportunities for personal growth due to having a higher level of confidence in their own abilities (Lin, Mutz, Clough, & Papageorgiou, 2017). Mental toughness assists in enhancing your physical strength and assist in achieving goals. However, being mentally tough can look and feel different for each of us. It is based on how you define it for yourself.
Ask yourself: “What does being mentally tough look and feel like to me?”
Although our individual definitions of mental toughness can differ, the way it can impact our emotional and psychological well-being is quite similar. In relation to mental health, mental toughness has been positively associated with life satisfaction (Gerber et al., 2013). In addition, our mental toughness is stronger when we are enjoying various aspects of our life. When working towards achieving your resolutions, find satisfaction within yourself to help drive you to a successful outcome.
Unfortunately for most of us, resolutions can cause stress as we attempt to remain consistent. Striving to make changes and meet goals at the start of the new year can lead to heightened levels of anxiety. Not meeting expectations or seeing changes may lead to feelings of failure, negative self-worth, and depression. Studies have found mental toughness to be associated with lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (Jin & Wang, 2016). Enhancing your mental toughness can assist in managing your emotions and lead to successful outcomes. Mental toughness encompasses a healthier psychological well-being through higher levels of confidence in one’s self and utilizes a positive mindset.
This year, TOPPS wants you to find success in your resolutions and goals, so that you can make longstanding lifestyle changes! Identify what mental toughness means to you and how you can obtain it through overcoming obstacles. Mental toughness is a way of improving your emotional and psychological well-being, but there are many ways to become more mentally healthy. If you find that you are struggling to accomplish your goals or to stay on track, we have highly trained psychologists that are available to help you make the most out of life. Get in touch!
Gerber, M., Brand, S., Feldmeth, A. K., Lang, C., Elliot, C., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., & Puhse, U. (2013). Adolescents with High Mental Toughness Adapt Better to Perceived Stress: A Longitudinal Study with Swiss Vocational Students. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 808–814. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.12.003
Jin, L., & Wang, C. D. (2016). International Students’ Attachment and Psychological Well-Being: The Mediation Role of Mental Toughness. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 1-20. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/09515070.2016.1211510
Lin, Y., Mutz, J., Clough, P. J., & Papageorgiou, K. A. (2017). Mental Toughness and Individual Differences in Learning, Educational and Work Performance, Psychological Well-being, and Personality: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1345. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5554528/
Madrigal, L., Hamill, S., & Gill, D. L. (2013). Mind Over Matter: The Development of the Mental Toughness Scale (MTS). Sport Psychology, 27, 62–77. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.27.1.62