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Top Tips To Develop Mental Toughness

02 Feb 2017
Top Tips To Develop Mental Toughness

BY ANNE HALL         

LIVING in a society where being Muslim is regularly likened to being a terrorist and where our culture and way of life is constantly misappropriated and misunderstood can take a real toll on our mental and emotional well being. In the face of near-constant hatred, it can seem difficult to stand tall and proud of who you are and where you have come from. This is particularly true for young Muslim teens, who struggle with their concept of self as they go through high school. Bullying, and verbal and physical attacks can be a daily way of life for many young Muslim teens. A recent study has found that 52 percent of Muslim teens have been bullied because of their religion, and one in five have even been discriminated against by their teachers and administrators. In the face of such daily adversity, here are some top tips for developing your mental strength, building resilience, and continuing to be proud of who you are:

Control Your Anger

When we demonstrate anger, or hit back at, those who hurt us we have shown them that their words and actions have had an impact and this gives them power. Remember the words of the Prophet  Muhammad (peace be upon him ) who said that "The strong person is not he who has physical strength but he that can control his anger." Here it is clear that we are instructed to restrain our impulses to turn to anger, and instead practice self-control. Controlling your instincts to become angry and to hit back will not always be easy, particularly in the face of long term bullying, but it will increase your strength and help to remove the power and control from those that hurt you. This doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing: if you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace or bullying at school then there are steps you can take and people you can talk to to resolve these issues.

Be Ready For Change

Change can feel daunting, particularly if that change requires temporarily removing ourselves from the comfort zone of our families or communities (in order to accept a new job role, for example) However mentally strong people welcome and embrace change. Whilst change is a challenge, individuals with mental resilience and a will to succeed realize that becoming successful requires us to push and challenge ourselves beyond our comfort zone and the boundaries of our experience: now experiences will allow us to grow and develop as a person and should be encouraged rather than shied away from.

Celebrate the Success of Others

When you are struggling to find your own way it can be difficult to see others succeeding and it is human nature to feel resentful of their success. However celebrating the success of others and feeling genuine joy when we see someone succeed in reaching their goals is a true sign of mental strength. It shows that you are willing to work hard for your own chance of success and that you have the resilience to understand the challenges you will face and the hurdles you will have to overcome to achieve it. Individuals with true mental strength realise that success doesn’t happen overnight, and that individuals who reach their goals have had to work hard, and therefore deserve for their successes to be celebrated with genuine joy and without resentment.                                                                                

Live According to Your Values

Finally, it’s important to note that individuals with true mental strength live according to their own values, and are not influenced by the values of others. Individuals with true mental resilience don’t need to compare themselves to others in order to measure their strength: as long as they are living lives that they believe are good and valuable, the opinions of others become insignificant. This is particularly important as Muslim people living in America, where our culture and way of life is regularly villainized and misunderstood: the opinions of other people should not affect your self-worth. What is important is that you continue to live by the values that you believe to be important and worthwhile. 

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