~by Amy Morin, LCSW

Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

They accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

They don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

They don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

Click here for a printable version of the “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”


13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do — 82 Comments

  1. Hi. Your Tedx talk helped me more than u can ever imagine. I now use it as à guide to move on with m’y life. Am forever Grateful. Stay blessed

  2. Amy, loved both your books. You clearly state the reasons why we do these things, the problems with these behaviour and sound strategies to change these behaviours. I don’t believe I need any other self – help books.

  3. read ur article in Ami magazine this weekend.was blown away by ur story.its so inspiring to read how some1 can go thru so much heartache and come out the other side stonger and even more amazing!!!

  4. Amy, terrific book & well written! For some points I felt I do well at while others growth is still needed. Your book was very helpful.


  5. Amy, I pick up your book at the airport in Chicago past January 17 and since then it has minister my life and the life I have share it with. Thanks for your work.


  6. Amy-

    Great list and I think you’re right on. #4 resonated most with me (today). I feel like I’m saying ‘control what you can control’ to several people in my life right now.

    Keep it up. Can’t wait to have you on The Strongpreneur Podcast!

  7. Really its great artical earlier i was bit confused about the to become a sucessful person whichis more important phycical strength or mental strenght now i realised that mentally strength people only only can change rest of the thing easily in thieir mind and their life alos. every day i reading five time this artical.

  8. Your book really helped me a lot I received the best news dealing with my diatebese. I am the happiest person I’ve been in years. I’m turning65 in March and you woke me to how much energy I was ultimately. Chou help me more then I can put in words. Again thanks for your book.

  9. I have bookmarked this page, because Amy says it all so concisely. It will be a great boost when I need to be a master of my emotions! We all go through those rough ups and downs occasionally! Thank you Amy

  10. Great list! I’ve seen many lists for ‘Success’, ‘To be your best’, ‘to change’, etc. But most lists have pretty much the same dozen or so principles or suggestions, only, by different names or views. But, Amy’s list was relatively new and to my experience ‘on point’. The one I found probably most needed was actually her # 11,
    ‘Don’t fear alone time’. I see her coming book as truly
    a MUST READ.

  11. it was by luck that I reached your article. Exactly what I was looking for to raise my own energy levels and introspection. Thanks and I will continue to read your articles

  12. Great job, Amy! I had some fun here today! I can’t wait to read your 5 Exercises next! I feel that what I wrote wasn’t too bad, too, esp the Anxiety/depression advice I gave. I hope you will leave it as I had it. I’m just afraid they won’t be back online to see it, as this was posted a couple months ago. Just received this via an old colleague.


    • Hi!
      There is a song, that I’m too old to remember now, but the words that I can remember go like this:… “then get right up, brush yourself off, and start all over again!”
      You won’t go through life without making some mistakes. Just keep trying!! 🙂

    • I recall I did the same trying to walk when I was a baby but without trying falling ,standing up and trying again it would have been impossible to finaly walk

  13. Fell onto your list listening to the Rush Limbaugh show. Great list! Can we get this stuff to the folks in jails/prisons? It’s good you’re reaching the youth also. Gotta get the parents so that they model this stuff. God bless Ms Morin.

  14. Lots for me to work on here. Have you considered running a workshop/speaking at the MA Conference for Women? I think many of the women who attend would want to hear what you have to say. The 2013 conference was super. The 2014 Conference will take place in Boston in December. They are now accepting speaker applications. More info on their website.

  15. Excellent list, Amy. Is there any correlation between mental strength and personality type? I’m curious whether different personality types have better success with mental strength or improving their mental strength. Thanks.

    • Hi Shawn,
      The only things fixed about you are the colour of your eyes and the size of your feet.
      Personality types are not set in stone, we each have certain personal attributes that are based on our belief systems, and belief systems can be changed.


      • DEAR FARHAD,

        I just turned 69, and my beliefs are stronger than ever! I have great genes, am young for my age, and go from the teachings of brilliant people who have crossed over now. These are my relatives on both sides of my family. Most were Liberals!, thankfully!

  16. Dear Amy,

    Wonderful post. I especially like number nine, “They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success.” I am in my last semester of law school (a second career), and the law school process with its stress, poor job prospects, and academic ranking tends to breed a culture of resentment. I know the top-ranked people in my class are not only smart, but they worked harder than I did preparing for particular exams. I refuse to resent my classmates’ success – they worked hard for those grades and deserved them.

    • Hey there!
      Anything you learn, whether it be in law or some other endeavor, will be eventually used, and will help you in doing what GOD has prepared you to do! Just know that what you have learned will someday be put to good use…..You’ll see — just trust in the Lord, as HE has a plan for you.
      69 yr old wisdom — seen this happen! 🙂

  17. Thank you so much for this piece. I’ve circulated it among my friends and it is my mantra for a new year. I was in an intense relationship that eventually ended and left me feeling so weak and powerless. Two years of therapy, travelling, etc, helped revive me. However, recently reading your piece (saw it in Forbes) makes me feel empowered. When I catch myself doing any of the above, I check myself now and feel so liberated in the process. In addition, after reading your article I applied for significant promotion at my work – which I originally feared trying out for because I was scared that I might fail. Thank you. I also sent it to my therapist and informed her I want to spend 2014 focusing on being the an empowered and strong woman.

    • Don’t you mean “mentally strong people” of EVERY country, Anita?
      After all, mental strength (and “weakness”, or illness) are all parts of the human condition, and we humans are spread out over a vast area 🙂
      And being made in God’s image, no matter where we are from, our similarities far outweigh our differences . . . that is what makes our great big world so beautiful and so intriguing; consider, for instance, that although our appearances, customs and/or cultures might seem to (superficially) differentiate us, YET . . . we *all* smile the same way, and we *all* laugh in the same manner 😀
      What a wonderful and beautiful world God has created for us!

      Sincerely, Jack x

      • Sharp reaction Jack to overcome a mere nationalistic understanding of the human condition. Thanks for that. I would add that historical circumstances, collective or not – such as education, family dynamics, personal experiences, enable or suppress such qualities: they are not only innate, they must bloom in a conducive environment.
        It’s indeed about resilience, psychological balance and emotional strength, which are features present in the animal world at large. You’d be stunned by the similarities we humans have with other living beings, in neurological and behavioural terms. It saddens me that y où refer to god though – it indicates that you didnt apply your critical mind one step further. So does god look like a Bushman from Botswana, a dolphin, or a blonde cheerleader? Jacques

  18. What a brilliant post! It helped me find my strengths and weaknesses… I think this will help me grow faster. One of the best articles i’ve ever read. Thank you Amy for a great work. Will be checking out more of your work!

  19. Amy, what am excellent post. I can’t imagine the number of people you have helped with these words. I know I will carry them with me henceforth, literally and figuratively. Thank you so much.

  20. What a wonderful list. I couldn’t help but notice that working the twelve steps of programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous actually addressing each of these behaviors, working toward eliminating them as “character defects”. Nice to find them listed in such a positive form.


  21. Thanks Amy
    All 13 points are things that I instinctively know. Having you put them down in words for me to go back and refocus my mind is brilliant. I will be checking out more of your work.

  22. Great article. I play college football for the University of Mount Union and earlier this season I received and injury and tore three ligaments and the meniscus in my right knee. Naturally, I was out for the rest of the year. I had to have surgery, 2 months of rest, then 4-6 weeks of rehab. It was tough to accept the reality of the situation because I had worked so hard over the off season prepare for the season, and it was taken away from me in the blink of an eye. After surgery, I was a mess. I wasn’t eating right, I wasn’t doing well in school (I was a 3.8 student in high school), and I wasn’t as social. Then I read this article. My dad sent me the link a few weeks ago and it completely changed my outlook on my situation. I just started rehab last week and my life is finally getting back to normal. My “funk” that I was in is starting to fade. And I believe that it was because of this article. Thank you so much for the inspirtation.

    • Hi Josh,

      I’m so happy to hear that you’re getting life back on track and I’m humbled to hear you say my article helped inspire that. Thank you for your kind words and best wishes to you.


    • WOW, AMY! You definitely ARE changing lives out here!

      Great for you, Football Man!!! Happy for you! 🙂 Her advice is right-on!

  23. Pingback:What does it mean to be mentally strong? | Insightful Counsel

  24. Hi Amy, I was fortunate to see this on the FORBES website. Let’s just say, Christmas came early for me. Thanks for sharing, as I found it to be most impactful. Cheers!!

  25. Heard Rush Limbaugh read these on his radio show yesterday. Great points to consider and implement in life. Might result in less “angst” if taught in schools these days, or even when I was in school. Kind of reminds me of self-actualization. Thanks for the comprehensive list.

  26. This is a great list, but how does one become “mentally strong” if they have years of depression and anxiety and stacked against them?

    • Depression and anxiety certainly make it difficult to avoid some of these things because they influence a person’s thoughts and feelings. However, some of the most mentally strong people I’ve ever met have struggled with mental illness. It takes extra work and dedication to make change when you’re struggling with a mental illness, but I have seen lots of people become successful at doing it. Often, it requires professional help and guidance.

      • I suffer from Anxiety (I was diagnosed 3 years ago) and after reading your list of the qualities of mentally strong people, I can say that there are some things that are difficult to do, especially #2 that says, “They don’t give away their power”. I always believed that a person cannot control how they feel, but they can channel what they do to respond. That’s why I have always been considerate of other’s peoples’ feelings because I don’t want to make them feel bad or treat me badly.

    • I don’t have a degree in psychology, but years wasted feeling like you. I have my degree and 59 hours grad work though, and read a lot. So, naturally, I have studied anxiety depression. YOu have trained you mind (unknowingly) to think negative thoughts. Here is something that really works! Yes, there is relief for you. When you wake up in the morning, even before you open your eyes, think of 3 things in your life that make it good and worth living for…..just 3! Then, be conscious of your thoughts every minute, all day through. Each time you start to think negative, realize what you are doing to yourself, CHOOSE HAPPINESS, and think of the 3 happy things. Then maybe add a couple of other things each day. If you have to put up a sign on your wall to be reminded, then do so! It Works! Exercise, eat right. Get a bike and get out there. be happy again!

  27. Pingback:13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do | Thought Catalog

  28. I see people attempting to apply your list to trauma survivors. The implication being they are mentally weak for PTSD and “dwelling” on the past. What are your thoughts?

    • Mental strength and mental illness are separate issues. I know plenty of mentally strong people who have PTSD. There’s a difference between “dwelling on the past” and having flashbacks.

  29. Excellent post Amy. Lack of accountability and personal ownership are at the center of the entitlement mentality. Mentally strong people possess both of these traits and therefore are usually very well adjusted.

  30. Excellent points, sometimes problems arise when one meets individuals who have no intention of accepting these concepts. As individuals who have been indoctrinated into thinking ” you owe me.”
    As in entitlement society.

  31. Nice list to strive to live by!

    While most of these things are seemingly easy for those of us who are “naturally” mentally strong (I have worked at being mentally tough for the past 30 years), many times I come up short trying to help others know “how” to achieve this mental strength. Might you consider taking some of the above 13 things, and addressing ways that people could work to achieve them?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>