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Mental health vs. Mental strength: Here's the key difference to understand

Mental health is described as feeling greater elation, fulfilment in life; people with good mental health are able to cope with stress in healthy ways. Mental strength refers to how you perceive your life. It refers to the process of being able to face challenges head-on so that your emotions can be kept in check, rather than becoming overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings during difficult situations or times of crisis.

Mental health and mental strength are not the same things. The latter is much more than just a matter of greater happiness or a feeling of well-being – it's a frame of mind to be cultivated and maintained as part of one's growth as a human being. It's not 'how you feel' but how you respond to situations that are fueling your personal development. Mental strength is what you are willing to do, and how you think. Mental strength involves:

1. Self-awareness – This is the ability to understand your own personal strengths and weaknesses, including accepting your shortcomings but not letting them determine how you will lead your life. Always working towards becoming a better person than you were yesterday.

2. Self-respect – Respecting yourself even if you don't agree with others' opinions of who you are or what you've done in the past or present. You have to accept who you are as a person and decide that your life has meaning and value, regardless of other people's thoughts on the matter.

3. Self-discipline – Being able to control yourself and your emotions in any situation so that you can decide on the best course of action that will lead to a favourable outcome. This means making choices in accordance with your higher moral values, regardless of how much you may want something and whether it is easy or not.

4. Acting on your own behalf – Having the right attitude and mental toughness to act on what's important to you instead of bowing down to authority even when it could be detrimental to your personal welfare. Knowing what is right or wrong, internally driven versus externally motivated, as well as being unafraid to stand alone if necessary and deal with negative consequences of your actions.

5. Taking responsibility – Being accountable for your actions, not blaming others and not being afraid to look at problems directly, without excuses. Accepting that you have a degree of influence over the events in your life, even though you may feel powerless in some circumstances.

6. A balanced perspective – Having the foresight and insight to understand that while things can change, situations can improve if you work at it; and that even if you're not ready for something now, with time and experience, you could be good at it when the opportunity arises. This is about planning for the future so that your goals are possible for you because you have all the necessary skills required now (or can attain them with effort) to succeed.

7. Accepting change – Thinking positively, being open to change and adapting to it without fearing the unknown, losing hope that what you have could be better or different. Changing whenever you can to improve your situation even if it means changing into something that you don't like as much but which will allow you to achieve your goals and make your life better in other ways.

8. Compassion – Being able to empathise with others (especially those who are suffering) even when they may not be nice people or cooperate well with others. Understanding how they view things so that you can get a good grasp of the situation and how best to help them, before trying to make demands on them or being judgmental.

9. Simplicity – Being willing to do what is necessary for the greater good without being overly concerned about the details. Embracing simplicity in your life, rather than having lots of complex goals to accomplish in order to feel complete and fulfilled. Having fewer things to concern yourself with, making decisions so that you don't have too many choices and complications that may interfere with your life's goals. This enables you to focus on what's important and protect yourself from unnecessary hassles as well as keep your goals real and attainable (whether they be big or small).

10. Adaptability – Thinking flexibly, not falling into traps or becoming rigid in thinking (where everything is black and white) but striving towards flexibility instead. Being able to modify course and change direction or perspective in order to accommodate circumstances rather than cling to rigid or narrow-minded thinking.

11. A sense of humour – Seeing the good in things, not being easily offended and seeing the humour in most situations with a mild outlook that doesn't take things too seriously. Being able to laugh at yourself when you goof up so you can continue forward without letting it spoil your mood.

12. Independence – Having a strong sense of self-sufficiency where you are not dependent on others for anything, but having an ability to solve problems under adverse conditions without assistance from others. Not being afraid to make independent decisions, having the courage to go out on your own and stand alone when necessary.

13. Being a proactive person – Taking charge of your life, not waiting for others to give you a reason (or reasons) to do anything, but doing things that will help you reach your goals and improve things in your life. Being proactive means finding ways to take care of yourself so that you can get things done and not worry about how others will think about it or what they will say or do if you don't do it their way.

14. A sense of meaning – Giving purpose to your life, having passion and fervour for the things you do and not becoming a drone or easily discouraged when faced with adversity. Having the mental determination to accomplish your goals, not become flummoxed when faced with setbacks and learning how to deal with the unpleasant trials in life.

15. Accepting responsibility for your own future – This is about personal planning for your life, understanding that you are ultimately responsible for everything that happens in it. You have a choice about what you do each day, and if you choose to allow others to make decisions for you, then be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions – whether good or bad.


The things listed above are not necessarily everyone's particular "top-ten" list of values and personal qualities that they stand for. There are many other items you could add to this list and it doesn't have to be limited to ten. You don't need to be perfect or have a balanced personality in order to be successful at achieving your goals. These qualities are just a few of the values that can help you stay on the right track, so that you can accomplish your personal dreams and meet your life goals with minimal fuss and stress.

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