What Mental Strength And Toughness Means And How To Build It

You need mental strength and toughness not just to survive but also to thrive in society, pursue dreams, achieve them, and sustain resilience. Here is how.

Mental toughness is a powerful and often overlooked area of overall well-being.

People with mental toughness can withstand emotional pains and turbulence, grow past failures and losses, and overcome at the end.

Attaining mental toughness is not about thinking positively or avoiding negative emotions but about leaning into the entire emotional spectrum and thoughts, using them as fuel to energize the forward movement.

Table of Contents

What is Mental Strength and Toughness?

In simpler language, mental strength or mental toughness is the ability to cope with challenges made up of stress and adversities without being broken mentally and emotionally.

Mentally tough people show resilience maintain a positive attitude and are in control of their situation.

When you are mentally tough, you master the attitude of staying focused, and not being swayed by negative situations, you are motivated and not dazed by obstacles.

Related: Habits of Mentally Strong Leaders

Why Should You Strive for Mental Strength?

Mental strength and toughness have many benefits and you can never go wrong with it. Here are the reasons and benefits of developing your mental fortification.


You become resilient when you achieve mental strength and toughness. You are equipped with the ability to emerge from setbacks stronger and ready for the next challenge.

Resilience as one of the benefits of mental toughness makes you have a very strong mental core that is unbreakable.

With mental toughness, you can persevere, be determined, and go through hard times with grace.

Improved Mental Health

Improved mental health is another benefit of having strong mental health.

It helps you to cope with stress more effectively, overcome anxiety, and have a positive outlook on life.

Related: Succeeding with Self-awareness in Leadership

Unmatched Self-confidence

This one is obvious. With mental strength, you are not in doubt of your abilities and so you trust yourself to take on any task head-on.

This self-confidence propels you to tackle new challenges with grace and conviction.

Better Decision-making

A tough mental power helps you make rational decisions with clarity even when you are under pressure.

You think critically and solve problems with composure.

Successful Relationships

Mental toughness is very important in relationships. In romantic relationships, it fortifies you to weather the manipulations and emotional blackmail that characterizes you.

In professional relationships, mental toughness keeps you protected from emotional abuse and communication challenges that are manifest in the environment.

It enables you to maintain healthy boundaries and navigate interpersonal dynamics with resilience.

Related: Cause of Lack of Self Confidence You Should Note

Attainment of Goals

You need to stay committed to your goals, and mental strength helps you weather through the hurdles along the way.

However, to attain your goals, you need discipline and belief in the course you are pursuing to sustain momentum.


Being adaptable to a situation you cannot change is a reason you should develop mental toughness.

Of course, life is full of twists and unexpected changes. Adapting means you can make do with the current situation even when it is not your choice.

Emotional Regulation

Another benefit of mental strength is that it lets you have a firm grip on your emotions.

In the modern world where people have shot temper and anger flies off the handle, it’s easy to have incidences related to anger issues, and intolerance occasioned by lack of the regulation of emotions.

Mental toughness helps to mitigate that and hands you the better option of emotional control.

Personal Growth

When you are mentally fortified, you see clearly where your growth is tilted, and all the changes you need to hasten it.

You will embrace continuous learning and reflect on yourself to have a deep insight of your values.

Related: Tips for Emotional Management at Work

How to Build Mental Strength

Attaining and sustaining mental resilience might seem hard at first, but when you see it as an essential part of your growth, it becomes a routine and so easier.

Here are ways you can achieve mental toughness and strength with minimal effort.

1. Curate a Growth Mindset for Mental Strength

You have to believe in improvement in the first place to develop your capabilities through working hard and persevering towards your goal.

Drifting along life is not an option for the person who should be counting milestones every other year, month, week or even hours.

By having this type of focus, you won’t know when you have developed a rock-hard mental toughness to propel you to success.

2. Practice Self-compassion

Mental strength involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially in difficult times.

Self-compassion involves being gentle with yourself when facing challenges and acknowledging your humanity.

Also Read: Essential Self-management Skills to Acquire

3. Develop Emotional Intelligence for Mental Toughness

Being emotionally intelligent helps to build mental toughness by being a master at understanding social cues and body language through which you can empathize with others.

This helps you to go through difficult situations involving others and come out with your relationship intact.

Emotional intelligence makes mental resilience easy as it masters emotions, how they manifest in body language and social cues, and helps you in making quick decisions.

Without emotional intelligence, you are oblivious to people’s hidden emotions and might step on toes or hurt where you mean to please.

4. Build Resilience

Resilience is your ability to face adversities without fear or doubt and defeat them.

An important factor in developing mental strength and toughness, and resilience involves developing coping strategies, paying attention and attending to your physical and emotional well-being, and seeking support from others when needed.

Build resilience by taking up difficult tasks in hierarchical order. Perfect each task before moving to the next in difficulty.

Resilience thrives in an environment with a “never give up” spirit.

Be around people who are resilient and determined to achieve their dreams.

Related: What is Self-awareness?

5. Set Goals and Take Action

Setting goals and sticking to them is a sure way to build resilience.

Of course, procrastination and lack of motivation would lie in waiting in your journey to achieving your goals, but they are the test for mental resilience.

If you give up on your goals, you have given up on mental strength, and of course, you know the part goal-setting plays in toughening your mental health.

Setting goals creates a sense of purpose and direction in your life, and by taking action to achieve these goals, you build confidence, resilience, and motivation, increasing mental toughness.

6. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness plays a part in mental strength and toughness by helping you be present in the moment, taking in all the helpful information, and paying attention to where you want.

There are so many distractions in life, that if you continue to give them attention, you lose focus and put energy into unimportant things, diminishing mental strength.

Mindfulness creates a sense of calm and clarity and improves your capacity to focus and resist stress.

7. Seek Challenges and Embrace Discomfort

Seeking challenges and new tasks to undertake to boost mental resilience.

Of course, life is not a bed of roses, you must put in the work if you must succeed.

Embracing discomfort in the cause of doing your work builds resilience and improves mental toughness.

It also includes embracing failure and finding where you got it wrong, trying again to get it right.

You must step out of your comfort zone to achieve this as that is where growth resides.   

Examples of Mental Strength in Action

1. A student faces multiple setbacks in achieving their academic goals but remain focused and resilient, continuing to study and seek support from their teachers and peers until they achieve success.

2. An athlete encounters a series of injuries and setbacks in his training but remains determined and disciplined, staying positive and pushing themselves to recover and improve their performance.

3. A professional deals with a high-pressure work environment and difficult colleagues, but maintains a calm and composed demeanor, setting boundaries and seeking help when needed to ensure their mental well-being.

4. A caregiver of a loved one with a chronic illness faces emotional and physical challenges but remains compassionate, patient, and strong, prioritizing self-care and seeking support from friends and support groups to cope with the demands of their role.

5. A person going through a personal crisis or trauma experiences intense emotions and struggles with feelings of despair, but seeks therapy, engages in self-care practices, and leans on their support system to build resilience, find hope, and navigate through their difficulties.

Final Words

Mental strength and toughness are not just about having a tough exterior or pushing through difficult times.

It is about developing resilience, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness to navigate challenges and setbacks effectively.

When you have a growth mindset, practice self-care, and seek support when needed, you can fortify your mental toughness and toughness and develop a positive and resilient mindset.

It is a continuous journey of self-improvement and self-discovery that leads to greater emotional strength and a fulfilling life.


  1. https://www.calm.com/blog/mental-strength
  2. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/mental-strength
  3. https://positivepsychology.com/mentally-strong/
  4. https://www.liveandlearnconsultancy.co.uk/become-mentally-stronger-life/
  5. https://high5test.com/mental-strength/
pyomerez@gmail.com | Website | + posts

Pyo Merez (PsyD) is a distinguished adolescent and adult psychologist at the forefront of mental health advocacy.

With expertise in cognitive and developmental psychology, focusing on social relationships, cultural contexts, and individual differences, Pyo has dedicated his career to empowering adolescents and adults.

As a sought-after speaker and panelist, Pyo shares invaluable insights on issues affecting young people, contributing to a deeper understanding of mental health and well-being in today's society.