How to get going when the going gets tough

In a recent unpublished study by the VIA Institute on Character, nine thousand people were asked which character strength they wished for to help increase their mental strength. The results show the top five strengths people wish to have.

1: Self-Regulation

People want more self-control. During uncertain times, having more control of our feelings, actions, impulses, bad habits, and words is the most desired mental health strategy. People want more discipline in their lives. But vices, old habits, and problem behaviors are ingrained, hidden, confusing, and often victorious. One way to do this is by starting a daily self-monitoring log – using your smart-device or computer. Keep track of your feelings and mental state each day. Take note of patterns that show up before you feel a certain way. This way you’ll be able to conquer your emotions like a champ!

2: Courage

It is challenging to be brave. But people want to be braver. Moving out of one’s comfort zone, challenging the system or the status quo, voicing an unpopular opinion, and facing your fears takes a lot of courage, and courage is not easy. But it becomes less difficult when you focus on the outcome of the courageous. For example, think of the person you would be helping or remind yourself of the goodness of the action you’d be taking.

3: Perseverance

People wish they did not give up so easily. The reality is that it is challenging to persevere at anything that’s not easy. When trying to reach a goal and life happens to throw us off kilter, we feel fatigued mentally and physically. And when we meet obstacles such as negative judgments or people trying to stop us from where we want to go and what we want to do. But tough times don’t last, while tough minds do.

4: Creativity

People want to be more creative. They want to come up with more ideas. The mind however, will often wonder: “What will people think?” “Will I fail? ” “How much will I lose?” These are all questions that most people think each day. Individuals need to develop divergent thinking. This means that when there is a problem, come up with multiple alternate solutions instead of searching for one “correct” solution. After identifying the problem, brainstorm a list of ideas for potential solutions.

5: Forgiveness

People wish they could be more forgiving, and most find it hard to. The mental burden of holding onto resentment, anger, and hurt feelings, though, can be overwhelming. Science informs us that forgiveness takes time and that we need to be patient with ourselves. However, by trying to let go over and over again, one can master the skill of forgiving both oneself and others.

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