Can anyone learn mental resilience or toughness? (Part 2)

By Rhiannon

Well the short answer is.. Yes! Absolutely! Here are a few tips to help you on the way:

3. Give yourself a break from over-thinking.

Worry drains brain power that could otherwise be used for problem-solving, completing tasks, getting creative and setting goals. By practising self-awareness and a neutral, detached perspective on your emotions, body and surroundings you will be able to recognise when you’re entering a negative spiralling mental state and refocus your attention on what is in your control in the moment. Eventually, this will become a habit and paralysing demotivating over-thinking can (for the most part) be a thing of the past.

Talk to yourself like a Navy SEAL:

How on earth do Navy SEALs cope under so much intense pressure? It’s probably not what you think:

– They talk to themselves in a positive and optimistic way.

– They don’t take setbacks personally but instead see them as lessons and opportunities to grow and become stronger. ‘Tomorrow I will do better’.

– They remember that moments in time are temporary. ‘This challenge won’t last forever.’

– They keep perspective, taking challenges as they come, with specific causes and reasons that are not necessarily linked to every other problem experienced.

4. Don’t be a people pleaser:

For many of us, it’s all too easy to get into the habit of putting our own needs last. You go through life exhausted, unfulfilled, feeling out of control and unhappy. If you’re this type of individual, resisting ‘people-pleasing’ is an exercise in discomfort endurance in itself, but it is a particularly worthwhile one! Make sure to leave space in your time management plan for ‘you time’. It might even be a good idea to make a list of conditions and boundaries you need in order to keep mentally tough, happy and productive. 

Here’s a personal example:

– I must have some alone time. I need this to stop feeling overwhelmed by the day and prepare myself for the next day. I might have a bath, play on a video game/ app, read a book, do some drawing, listen to HeadSpace and try some meditation techniques or play with my dogs. It’s a little bit of quality time with myself to decompress and relax without anyone else wanting anything from me.

– Taking educational opportunities, whether through work or in my own time. There is never a point at which we stop learning and learning is never useless. It’s also never too late to achieve learning goals and qualifications. Anyone telling you otherwise is wrong, plain and simple.

– Making time for fun, alternative pursuits and developing hobbies. For me that’s illustration, going on adventures with my dogs and catching up with friends and family in the pub! These things are hugely important for my mental health and I notice a real decline if I don’t make enough time for them.

Ultimately achieving and maintaining mental resilience is an ongoing process. You’ll have good and bad days, you’ll make mistakes. Sometimes it will feel impossible. But there is always tomorrow. The more you can practice these four top tips the better:

– Engaged and positive you will feel about your life and choices

– You will perform tasks- with up to 25% improvement

– You’ll be able to handle stress more effectively

By completing a qualification with Empower- Be The Change you will have the opportunity to learn in more detail about mental toughness, discover how resilient you are, and learn how to apply useful techniques to day-to-day life from working successfully in a team to taking a leadership role.

You will have the opportunity to complete up to two AQR psychometric measures for insight into your skills and style as a leader:

  • MTQ48 (Mental Toughness) – Builds knowledge and awareness of own mental toughness and how to use and develop this skill as a team leader.
  • ILM72 (Integrated Leadership Measure) – assesses your current and preferred leadership style across settings and how to change and adapt your style to bring out the best in yourself and the team.

+ Receive a 75 min 1-1 coaching session with one of our professional accredited coaches.


Peter Clough, Doug Strycharczyk and John Perry (2021) Developing Mental Toughness: Strategies to Improve Performance, Resilience and Wellbeing in Individuals and Organizations’ Kogan Page Ltd.

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