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Faith and Health

How to Build Mental Strength in 10 Profoundly Simple Ways  

Learning how to live with a chronic illness has forced me to learn how to build my mental strength. 

Because I have good days. And bad days. Days when I feel like I can do anything. And days when I can’t get off the couch without feeling dizzy.  

When I wake up, I don’t always know what the day is going to bring. Which can be quite frustrating.  

But over the years, God has used this trial to help me grow in my faith. To experience His love and Presence in new ways. And to develop the mental strength I need to make it through the hardest of days.

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” 

-Psalm 73:26 NLT

*A special note from Rich Faith in Poor Health: Please note, if you’re really struggling mentally, or you’re dealing with mental health issues or mental illnesses, then please seek professional help from spiritual leaders, medical professionals, or good Christian therapists or counselors. God works through powerful prayers, people, and pills (prescribed by licensed medical professionals). So, don’t be afraid to use all His available resources for you.  

Blue background with a white heart on the bottom. And the words, "No matter what happens to me, God is the strength of my heart. He will never fail me."

What Is Mental Strength?

The mental toughness definition could be described as a way of measuring one’s resilience, perseverance, and confidence. It can be used to predict the likelihood of success in the workplace, education, sports, and life in general.  

Mental strength is the cognitive and emotional skill of reframing negative thoughts and circumstances. Which in turn helps you resist internal and external influences that threaten to weaken your confidence and well-being.  

It’s all about how you respond to what’s happening around you.  

One common analogy of this states that “the same sun that hardens the clay also melts the ice.” But my favorite analogy of this concept is that of coffee.  

Coffee is stripped from the plant that has been its only home. Roasted. Ground up. And then scaled by hot water.  

And yet the end result is something that brings happiness and joy to lots of people all over the world.  

When hard times come, we can allow our hearts to become hard like clay. Or we can let God use those hard times to turn us into something amazing . . . like coffee. 

And developing mental strength is what helps us endure that process.  

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 

-James 1:2-4 NIV
Dark teal swirl background and the words, "I can face anything because my God is with me in everything."

Benefits of Mental Strength

Mental strength can be a very useful tool for helping us find more success in life. But there are many other benefits to developing this strength as well.  

Less Stress.

People who have mental strength tend to have less stress. Because they know how to adapt and adjust to the circumstances that come their way.  

They don’t just see the problem. They see the potential. The opportunities for development and growth.  

After all, as Christians, we know that at the end of the day, God is leading the way.  

So, even if He leads us into a storm, there will be a blessing on the other side.  

A blue background with two spotlights shining down. And the words, "Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)"

More energy and motivation.

If we always look for the negative, then we will feel like no matter what we do things are going to fall apart. We will always be living in fear. Just waiting for the next shoe to drop. 

But this is not a healthy way to live, and it depletes our energy and motivation.  

Mentally strong people aren’t caught up in their worries and fears of what could happen. Because they see those things merely as challenges to be overcome.  

They don’t give up easily. Instead, they look for ways to work the problem. 

This makes it easier to find the motivation to get started and keep going. Even when life is hard.  

Developing awareness.

Having mental strength can help us learn who to listen to and who to ignore. (And yes, this includes that voice in our head.)

There is constructive criticism. And then there are people who are just plain mean. And mentally strong people understand that they don’t have to take everything so personally.  

They take every thought captive so they can recognize the lies of the enemy. And stay in tune with God’s voice. Because they know His opinion is the only one that truly matters.  

People with mental strength are also aware of what they can realistically accomplish. And they aren’t afraid to say “no”. 

Because they aren’t worried about what people think or about making a good impression. Instead, they are fully aware of their limitations, accept them, and are willing to set boundaries to protect themselves.  

A beige background with a darker beige smear on the side. And the words, "Failure is just another opportunity to learn and grow."

Moving from afraid to brave.

Mentally strong people aren’t afraid to fail. Because failure is just another opportunity to learn and grow.  

  • Another challenge to tackle.  
  • Another obstacle to climb.  
  • And another chance to solve the problem.  

They don’t fear the worst-case scenarios that run through their heads.

They’ve got this. With God by their side.

Because they know He can work all things out for their good. (Romans 8:28) And even if they mess up God can use it to show others they don’t have to be perfect for God to use them.  

Mentally strong people know it isn’t about their performance. It’s about showing up to do what God has called them to do. And letting God call the moves.  

While feeling afraid is okay. God also calls us to walk by faith.  

And mental strength is what helps us have the courage to feel that fear while stepping out in brave faith anyway.  

Geometric shapes in varying shades of black and gray. And the words, "Show up and do what God has called you to do."

Being able to adapt.

Mentally strong people don’t get thrown off when plans change, or things go wrong. Instead, they immediately go into problem-solving mode.  

  • They see it all as a challenge. An opportunity to look for solutions.  
  • They aren’t afraid of change, so they don’t stubbornly demand their own way.  
  • They’re willing to look at other ideas and solutions. Keeping an open mind.  
  • And they don’t waste time dwelling on the issues and all the things that could go wrong.  

Rather, they focus on what they can do.  

Which is to look at it from every angle to find the best possible solution for the problem they’re facing.  

View from under the water with sunrays. And the words, "God is our strength when we feel weak. (2 Corinthians 12:9)"

Can you train mental strength?

Studies have shown that the mind is not stuck. It’s pliable and moldable even to an older age.  

We can rewire our brains. Simply by paying attention to what we think about and concentrate on.  

Scientists call this “neuroplasticity”, which means “the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections.” 

Basically, the more you think about and concentrate on something the stronger those neural connections in your brain become.

So, if you think about negative things all the time. It is easier to think of negative things. 

But if you choose to focus on more positive things. It becomes easier and easier to think more positively.  

This is why the apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, tells us to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). And to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) 

God knew long before science did that what we think about affects our lives. 

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

-2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” 

-Philippians 4:8 NIV

How do you build a mentally strong mindset?

A great way to think about how to build a mentally strong mindset is to think about mental strength vs. physical strength. 

To be strong physically you must work your muscles to the point that they hurt. And then as you rest, your body adds muscle cells so you grow stronger and stronger.  

It takes effort. And lots of time.  

In the same way, if we want to build a mentally strong mindset, we must realize that we’re going to encounter situations that don’t feel good.  

But as we choose to face our fears, worries, and the uncomfortable circumstances of life, we will grow stronger mentally.  

It will take effort. And lots of time.  

But it will all be worth it in the end.  

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 

-Romans 12:1-2 NIV

How can I increase my mental strength?

People who have mind strength tend to be emotionally mature. They do what they can to process, heal, and overcome the negative events of their past. And they not only overcome the inevitable adversities that come their way. But they also learn from them.  

Studies are showing that people who are resilient mentally also have personality traits that help them cope with adversity.  

While we can’t change our personalities, we can learn and study the habits of mentally strong people, so we can learn tips and tricks to help us increase our own mental strength.  

This way even when hard times break our hearts . . . our worlds won’t fall apart.   

Black background with broken glass design. And the words, "With Jesus by our side, even when hard times break our hearts . . . our worlds won't fall apart."

Ways to Develop Mental Toughness

How can a mentally weak person become strong? 

By taking steps to develop mental strength. By learning from those who are mentally tough. And by leaning on God to help them every step of the way.  

Training mental fortitude is possible. But this doesn’t mean it will be easy.  

It takes time and effort to change the way we think. But in the end, we will reap the benefits.  

The following mental strength habits will help you learn how to build up your mental strength.

So, you can develop the mental stamina and toughness you need to face anything and everything this world may throw at you. 

1) Pray.

God is the One who can help us the most with developing mental strength so the first thing we need to do is pray and ask Him to help us. It’s also a great idea to ask others to pray for us in this area as well.   

We can also read through the many Bible verses on mental strength and spend some time studying and meditating on what God says about it.  

Clouds and the silhouette of a group of women. And the words, "Because of Jesus, we can be together forever."

2) Focus on Jesus.

We can learn how to build mental strength and toughness by choosing to focus on Jesus. By keeping our eyes fixed on Him we are reminded that: 

  • We are dearly loved. (Romans 8:38-39) 
  • He is with us. (Deut. 31:8) 
  • And it will all be worth it in the end. (Revelation 21) 

This is exactly how Jesus endured the torture of the cross. He knew the Father loved Him. He knew the Father was with Him. And He knew that it would all be worth it in the end.  

When He accomplished what He had set out to do, by making a way for everyone who believed in Him to come to Heaven. So, we could be together forever.

(CAN I GET AN AMEN!) 

By keeping our eyes on Jesus and following His example we can learn how to be mentally strong and fearless.  

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

-Hebrews 12:2 NIV
The moon shining down from a corner over a snowy mountain and town scene. And the words, "Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2)"

3) Remember the hope of eternity.

When facing hard times in life, we can remember that things won’t always be this way. And by thinking about the hope we have for tomorrow, it will be a little easier to get through today.  

Someday everything will be made right. Someday Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes. (Revelation 21:4) 

And remembering our eternal hope reminds us that yes, this world is dark . . . but the light of dawn is coming.  

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” 

-Romans 8:6 ESV

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” 

-Colossians 3:2 ESV
A blue sky with white hazy clouds and the words, "It will all be worth it in the end. When we enter Heaven and see Him."

4) Practice gratitude.

We can learn how to increase mental strength and concentration by simply learning to say “thank you”.  

When we take the time to thank God for even the little things, it helps to boost our mood and lift our Spirits. It helps us to focus less on the negative and more on the positive.  

Less on what we don’t have. And more on what we do.  

Which in turn helps us find the strength to keep going. Because we’ll realize we really do have a lot to be thankful for.  

Green plants in opposite diagnol corners. And the words, "Jesus loves us more than we could ever imagine."

5) Change your perspective and cultivate a growth mindset.

One of the best things we can do to develop mental strength is to change our perspective and cultivate a growth mindset.  

Instead of thinking about the negative we can choose to: 

  • Look for how God could be working good in the situation. 
  • Consider how this situation could be used to develop our character or help our faith grow.  

By choosing to look for the silver lining so to speak, we teach our brains to see obstacles as opportunities to be used. Not dreaded.  

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

-James 1:12 ESV

6) Make time for soul care.

Jesus did a lot while He was on this Earth. And He is probably one of the strongest people you will ever know.  

(After all, Jesus is God himself. And He endured the torture of the cross . . . fully knowing He could end it all in an instant if He wanted to.) 

But even though Jesus was the strongest man ever, He still made time to rest.  

He often slipped away to quiet places to pray.  

While Jesus was fully God . . . He was also fully human. And a human body needs to rest to function at its best.  

Part of being mentally strong is being strong enough to say “no”. To admit we can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all. That we need a break sometimes. And to make room in our schedules for downtime.  

We need time to rest. And reconnect with the One who knows us best.  

And when we make time for these things, we will find them to be quite mentally strengthening.  

A woman's praying hands over a Bible. And the words, "We need time to rest. And reconnect with the One who knows us best."

7) Keep a journal.

By keeping a journal, we can learn how to take our thoughts captive, so we look at things more realistically. 

Because when we write, we move from the emotional right side of our brains to the more analytical and logical left side.  

This helps us to see our situations a little more clearly. And can help us think of things our emotions may have blinded us to before.  

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 

-2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

8) Work with professionals.

We can learn how to build mental and emotional strength by working with professionals such as Pastors, Counselors, Doctors, and Therapists. These people have been studying things to do with our brains for years, so they are well-equipped to help us.  

And sometimes this is exactly what we need.  

Professionals can give us an outside perspective. An unbiased opinion. They can help us look at the things in our lives from a new angle. And share solutions we may not have ever thought of on our own. 

Two sets of eyes are always better than one.  

So, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Everyone needs counseling at some point in their lives. And we weren’t made to do this life alone.  

While it can be hard to admit we need help; it may just be the thing we need to help us learn how to be a stronger person mentally and emotionally. 

Fog over pine trees and the words, "Admitting we need help isn't easy. Which is why it may be the strongest thing we do."

9) Build up your relationships.

We find motivation when stressed by sharing with others.  

Just by talking with someone about what is going on in our lives can make us feel better. It helps us to process and work through our issues. And it can help them not seem so overwhelming.   

So, if we want to be stronger mentally then we must learn to reach out. We must take the time to build up our relationships with others. And put in the effort to help each other.  

Because there is proven strength in numbers.   

10) Get out of your comfort zone.

This isn’t easy. And it isn’t fun. But by getting out of your comfort zone, you teach your brain that it’s okay. That you survived this time. And so, you will be able to survive again in the future.   

Our brains learn by repetition.  

So, by continually doing things that take us out of our comfort zone, we teach our brains to be comfortable with uncomfortable situations.  

If we want to learn how to build strong mental health, then we need to look for opportunities to step out of our comfort zones.

Knowing no matter what, our God is with us.  

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” 

-Philippians 4:13 ESV

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” 

-Romans 8:31 ESV

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 

-2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
Pink weights and strength equipment on a white floor with a grey brick wall in the background. And the words, How to Build Mental Strength in 10 Profoundly Simple Ways.

How to Become Mentally Strong & Confident

While dealing with a chronic illness has been hard on me physically, emotionally, and mentally. It has also taught me to lean on God in everything.   

Because it is only as I lean on Him that I can find the strength to do anything. (Philippians 4:13) 

  • He is the One who gives me comfort and peace when I feel light-headed and dizzy.  
  • He is the One who is my strength when I feel fatigued and weak.  
  • He is the One who reminds me life won’t always be this way. And that because of Jesus, everything will be made right someday. (Including getting a new and perfectly functioning body.)  

God wants to help us not just survive this life . . . but thrive. And we do this by leaning on Him. By walking with Him. And allowing Him to help us develop our mental strength. 

So, we can live with faith and perseverance.

Remembering that God loves us more than we could ever imagine. And so, if He allows something difficult in our lives, then it’s for a good reason.  

  • We may not see the reason.  
  • We may not see all the ways He is working.  

But we can choose to trust Him anyway. And love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” 

-Luke 10:27 ESV

This is how we become mentally strong and confident so we can overcome the obstacles and trials of life. This is how we walk by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7) 

Remembering that the God who passionately loves us is with us every step of the way.  

If you find this helpful, then please share it so it can help others! 

And be sure to check out these other helpful reads: 

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