Mentally strong people are great.
Really, really great.
I met that conclusion after completing the pictured book (above/title pic) “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.”
Written by reputable psychotherapist, Dr. Amy Morin, the book succinctly outlines exactly what it is mentally strong people do, and, don’t do. It is simply written, very direct, and effectively informative. Dr. Morin also draws upon real life example and experience from her life in psychiatry; examples we most all can relate to. It is definitively clear, by books end, whether or not you are mentally strong.
That’s ok. Most of us aren’t. Not yet.
I read the book looking to improve upon my certain deficiencies and to work on identifying things I need to stop doing: mentally strong people don’t throw out “Hail Mary” DM’s to adult film stars and they don’t berate small children in pickup basketball. They just don’t do that kind of thing. Through her research, Dr. Morin identifies the most important things mentally strong people don’t do. In 13 chapters, she lays a foundation of both anecdote and evidence that can serve as a playbook for the reader looking to improve. It is applicable, definitive, and accessibly helpful… The book reads that way—delivering a guide of aid and enlightenment—because Dr. Morin is explaining what she knows and what she studies. That’s legit.
Dr. Morin knows what it is to be, or not to be, mentally strong. She knows because it’s what she studies. I study happiness in the same way. I’m a very happy cat and I try only to spend time with people who are happy. Obviously we don’t live in perpetual happiness—happiness things like Donald Trump will happen—but we (can) live with a zest for life. Happy people do that. I study it, sometimes getting creepy and staring/following pleasant looking people in bars and gym, so I know this subject matter. Like Dr. Morin, as she knows what mentally strong people do and don’t, that is me with happy people—just, without the doctorate.
Despite a literary chub—for the author—I read this book and evaluated a self-action plan. I did that and then I realized this book still was prompting me to do more. I wanted to write something. I’m going to.
(I’m going to write in the affirmative, stating what it is happy people do, as opposed to what they don’t. Writing how Dr. Morin did, in the definitive and educational negative is super helpful, and she did it amazingly well, but I’m not going to. I’m better thinking and writing in the positive.
For older people and friends reading this:
Feels: A wave of emotions that sometimes cannot be adequately explained.
LOL: laugh out loud.
13 Things Happy people do
1. Happy people live in their standards
This needed to be said first because it is foundational for all happy people… All happy people.
A personal standard is a statement or belief about yourself that predicates exactly how you live and what you do. As an example, a parent would live in a standard that their actions will always be done with the benefit and growth of their children in mind. By living in that standard, and making it a part of their being and subconscious, they will not do things out of line with that belief; i.e. neglecting their kid and unleashing a correlative shithead upon the world.
I use that example because standards are something you craft that are most important to you and the type of human you want to be. A good parent would always live with their children, and their well-being, in mind.
Standards should be thought of as your mental DNA, if you will (you will). When you craft and cultivate them, truly believing, your goals and your actions follow suit. Happy people know their standards. They know them, aware of exactly who they are and what they want to be, and they live their lives accordingly. This removes hesitancy and fear and regret from the lives of happy people because they were living in line with their standards—with their beliefs.
I believe that relationships—and their quality—determine the wealth of my life.
When that is your standard you live everyday valuing your time spent with people. You love close friends and you are kind to strangers. You are happy. You do not laugh at your mother keeping the ashes of her dead cat. That is not in line with your standard.
2. Happy people live a life of zest
If needles didn’t scare me, this would be my first tattoo—probably on the lower back.
Happy people treat life, everything on that vast spectrum, with zest. Going to the store is exciting because you’re probably going to meet someone new or find a great deal. If you go to Whole Foods or Fresh Market chances are you’re gonna see some elite level milf action. That is exciting. All life is exciting.
When you live with zest, like happy people do, everything gains flavor. Little things, like reading a book or calling on a new customer are exciting in the same way that big life events are. Everything is stimulating and nothing is mundane when you live in zest.
Happy people live this way because possibility is what makes life fulfilling. It is also what fuels growth. No matter what you do or what you’ve done, improvement and opportunity are always available. Happy people know that. They live with zest, in pursuit of growth.
They are also respectful to the aforementioned grocery milfs—strictly on a look, smile, appreciate plan.
3. Happy people fall asleep on their terms
Speaking negatively, happy people do not make things worse than they are. They don’t. They do not take a situation or an event, probably something recent, and they don’t use inner dialogue and interpretation to make it worse. The most effective way of doing that—not making ish worse—is the way in which you fall asleep.
Happy people, right before they slumber, do things to enter snooze city with the happy feels. This fact calls upon some other principles, namely mindfulness and learned optimism, but what is the derivative here is that happy people fall asleep in their best mindset.
On “their” terms mean that they are framing events and interaction of the day in line with their standards. Some happy people meditate before sleep, calming thought and stress and seeing things simply as they are. Other people use contemplation and affirmation to shape the days events into something positive. However they do it—what their terms are—happy people go to sleep in a peak state. Happy people do not fall asleep victim to events and setback.
If your partner is attractive, a nice spooning is a good way to shut it down, too.
4. Happy people LOL
Science shows laughter as amazing medicine; some of the best. Basically, laughter is a serotonin inducer and cortisol killer. Serotonin is a transmitter in control of mood and focus, the same shit that rushes to your head when you do party drugs; cortisol incites stress. The process is complex, but I’m really not smart enough to explain it any more/better.
Happy people watch funny videos and they listen to funny stuff. They are around funny people. They enjoy laughter and it is a big part of who they are. A good lol, especially if it’s at yourself, is the best way to stay grounded. A lot of events that you think are huge setbacks will lose their strength and staying power if you are able to laugh at them.
So, laugh a lot—happy people do.
5. Happy people generally eat well
“Generally” is the important word here. Cheat days and some unhealthy meals need to happen. Happy people are not above abusing a Dominos two-for-one or getting real aggressive in a Taco Bell. They just, don’t do it that much.
Your body and mind are connected. You know this. What you put in your body (eat) determines how your brain functions. Happy people eat well because getting the right nutrient processed enables the optimal function of mind and body. Happy people are not all devout dieticians and they do not all refrain from the aforementioned “good” stuff, but in general, happy people are stacking veggies, fruits, and a lot of organic shit.
Happy people crush water, also.
6. Happy people live for others
Two frenetically similar words, selfish and selfless, are huge indicators of happiness.
When you live for others, concerned and committed about those around you and the relationships in your life, you are happy. When you are propelled by the self, and it’s ish, you are not. You are a dick.
Now, this is not to disparage the driven individual who works hard and has gained financial wealth via the cultivation of their best self. Non those people are actually great. They are happy because they have used that platform of success and wealth to make the lives of those around them better. It is only when you are driven by self-image and reciprocation does happiness evade you. Happy people treat every interpersonal encounter as part in a relationship. There is no greater way to build relationships than through the giving of one’s resources—financial, time, attention, service, respect, kindness, etc. Live in zest, trying to leave every person you meet with a gift.
Smiling and conversation are my favorite gifts to give, because they are free, and I am poor.
7. Happy people say nice things to others
This is not one of the cheesy, superficial things you hear from the elementary school teachers who wear the pins that say shit like, “I don’t give out grades, you EARN them!” No, this is a call to happier action.
Take the time to actually reach out to those around you and physically—verbal or on the line—take the time tell them something nice. Do not lie, sending a company VP an email saying he is a super compassionate mentor when in reality you’ve contemplated his death by torture, but say the things that are true. Happy people know that spending a few moments letting someone you know how you appreciate them can do the most.
If you feel appreciative or thankful for someone in your life, tell them.
Avoid said company VP at the Christmas party when drunk.
8. Happy people walk
Back to science talk, endorphins make you happy. Exercise and vitamin D (the sun) increase endorphin supply. Happy people take the time for walks because of what it can do for your body and your mind. Whether it is a walking meditation or stroll with your pet, a walk outside serves as both a respite from stress and a pathway to happiness.
Since the ‘respite from and stress and pathway to happiness’ shit sounded really good, here is a brief elaboration:
A walk is a dualistic opportunity for exercise and contemplation. The exercise of a walk, and the benefits of being outdoors should make sense. The contemplation, whether a determined effort to calm your thoughts (meditate) or an appreciative effort to revel in the beauties in and around your life, enables a personal experience each and every time. That is part of living in zest. Happy people love walking because it is always an opportunity for growth and appreciation. And, to stay in line with some hot lady references made prior, walks and jogs circa waterfront location allow for the best kind of appreciation.
9. Happy people live in learned optimism
Learned optimism is a coined phrase from a PH. D Martin Seligman. It’s an amazing system of belief and living and serves well as part of any personal standard.
As it sounds, learned optimism is the adaptation of a belief and lifestyle that will lead you to expect and live as if good things will happen. Simply, you believe in the best in people and in situations. This does not mean living in the clouds and substituting positive thinking for analysis and pragmatism, but it does mean you will not be dwelling on what is negative—what is out of your control. Learned optimists are still aware of fact and difficulty, but they live in their standards and they do not give room to debilitating belief. You will never hear a learned optimist say things like, bad stuff always happens to me or I never catch any breaks. Happy people do not think that way. Learned optimists are happy people.
You cannot replace learned optimism for medicine, though. Can’t wish away a pubic rash.
10. Happy people like the share events with others
This point, number 10, and the next one, 11, are contrasting ideas. Happy people still do both.
As relationships are a bountiful staple for happy people, experiencing events and special moments with other people is a great happiness magnifier. When people gather, whether as a community or friends or even random acquaintances, bonds are formed. If you’ve ever tailgated or watched a championship game from a bar, you know this to be true.
These temporary communities provide comfort and companionship. In these settings interpersonal emotions are flying around and feels are rocking. When something matters to you, regardless of any profound significance, sharing the moment with other people makes it more resonant. Sharing your time—along with energy and passion—with a group of people, is a form of giving. Happy people love giving.
11. Happy people like to kick it with themselves
Conversely to the last point, happy people love hanging with themselves too. For a ton of reasons—I’ll list like two—happy people look forward to opportunities to be with themselves.
This point was stressed in Dr. Morin’s book about mentally strong people and it was my favorite avenue of emphasis. Mentally strong and happy people alike look forward to time with themselves.
2018 is a time of distraction and stress. That’s not me being gloomy, that’s just recognized fact. We as a world have a lot of shit going on. Multitasking and accomplishment override a lot of essential personal activity. Happy people allow for time with themselves because these times alone can be some of the most rewarding. With yourself one can calm and strengthen. You can reflect and visualize. You can be completely transparent with yourself in ways you cannot anywhere else. But, to do this, you have to be truly alone. Like, really alone. Phone away—at least for a little—and be with yourself. Be with your thoughts. Happy people love what they are able to discover alone with themselves.
Times when you open an incognito tab on your phone or computer should not be counted as quality alone time.
12. Happy people smile
Smiling is an engrained synapse in the brain that triggers the happy transmitters we mentioned previously. It is also a universal symbol of kindness. When you smile you’re rocking some neurological feels on the inside while sending good vibes to people on the outside.
Lol’s and smiling work in the same way. Happy people are all about smiling.
“Smiling’s my favorite!” -Buddy the Elf
13. Happy people try new shit
Routine and good habits are great. They are one of the best ways to create the healthy, happy lifestyle you want. But progress is undefeated. Change always has been and always will be here; shaping the world for the best.
Try new shit. Think in new ways. Experiment. Only knock something after you have tried it. Using common sense and judgement—trying some food you’ve never had is not the same as cheating on the lady cause you were curious—look always for growth opportunities. Part of what leads to a life of zest is the possibility of the unexpected. Happy people, in their complete essence, embrace each day as a limitless opportunity.
Happy people try new shit.