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WWB Wise Guru Q&A: Featuring International Best Selling Author of “13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do”

 

Lauroly ( Laura Connolly) Opening: I primarily focus on interviewing authors and experts who help us cultivate wellness wisdom for ourselves, and I have never viewed our mental and emotional well-being separate from our overall state of health. I think finally through advances in brain science and sadly, more high profile suicides, our culture is beginning to understand how important mental health, inner strength, and stress management is to our health and well-being. Women in particular have to be vigilant about keeping their mental constitution strong, because they are not always empowered and supported in the same way men are in our current society. I am honored to introduce Amy Morin, author of “13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do” and talk to her about her book, her personal wisdom and her work as a psychotherapist. Amy is a licensed clinical social worker, instructor at Northeastern University and psycho-therapist. You can learn more about her professional background at her website.  Let’s learn more about the bad habits we want to avoid to maintain mental strength and well-being.

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Welcome Amy! Thank you for writing an empowering book for women today. I think this book is so important because of exactly what you say in your book, “People that persevere in life not only have healthy habits but also are intentional about avoiding bad habits that would keep them stuck.” The 13 things you outline and cover comprehensively with research and examples are concrete and can be learned by anyone at any age. Very inspiring!

Lauroly Q – Can you tell us about your own personal tragedy that increased your interest in mental strength in particular? I know it must be hard to review painful experiences but it helps so many people to relate.

Amy Morin: As a therapist, I noticed early on that some people were more resilient, optimistic, and motivated than others. And I wanted to know what made those people so mentally strong. But about a year and a half into my career, I lost my mother and I began studying mental strength with a personal interest.

I wanted to know how to go through my grief in a way that my pain helped me heal, not reduce me. Then, three years to the day of the day I lost my mother, I lost my 26-year-old husband. By then, I realized that mental strength wasn’t always about what people did—it had more to do with what they didn’t do. People who didn’t engage in certain bad habits were able to build more mental muscle. So I worked on establishing good habits while also getting rid of those bad habits that could keep me stuck. A few years later, I was fortunate enough to find love again. I got remarried and began a new chapter of my life. But shortly after getting remarried, my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I found myself thinking things like, “I can’t lose another loved one. This isn’t fair.”

But if I had learned anything, it was that those types of thoughts would drain my mental strength and keep me stuck. So I sat down and wrote a list of all the things that threatened to hold me back. When I was done I had a list of 13 things mentally strong people don’t do. I read over that last every day and it helped me feel better as we faced the inevitable loss of my father-in-law. I decided to publish it online in hopes it might help someone else. I never imagined it would go viral—but that list was read by more than 50 million people and it changed the course of my career.

Lauroly Q- Thank you so much for sharing your personal and painful experiences Amy. The positive thing is your story inspires others to see how they too can be self-empowered and navigate difficult times with a strong mindset.  Here are the 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do. My questions continue below…

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.

Lauroly Q con’t -A list is helpful to read, but your book does an excellent job really explaining how these things are destructive and not useful to our well-being. You also share insight and alternative mindsets that are far more healthier to adopt to live strong and centered. Since this is a blog format I can’t delve into all 13 things not to do, but this is why everyone needs to read your book! I will ask you instead, if there was one thing on your list of 13 that all women today need to stop doing right now, which one do you think it should be?

Amy Morin: Women need to stop downplaying their success. So many women struggle to say, “Thank you,” even when given a genuine compliment. Instead, we minimize our achievement by saying things like, “Oh, it was nothing.” And women often downplay their success to their own detriment—on LinkedIn, in their resumes, and in job interviews, women are afraid to look like their bragging so they don’t share their accomplishments.

Lauroly Q-  I thought it was really interesting how you talked about how much of our bad coping habits start with our family. Sometimes we never make the connection. I am sure you see a lot of this in your private practice. Do you think it is easy to break bad habits that have been so ingrained and part of our conditioning?

Amy Morin: It’s tough to break any habit that you’ve been doing since childhood but it’s especially tough when you aren’t even made aware that it’s a problem until you’re an adult. Childhood is when you developed core beliefs about yourself, other people, and the world. It’s hard to unlearn those things that you’ve held true for many years.

Lauroly Q- There is a great quote by Katherine Hepburn that is timeless ““If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.”. You write about this concept seriously in your book. A lot of women are taught and conditioned to cooperate. It is a great skill and can be used to get along well with people in so many situations. What do you mean by ‘breaking the rules’ and how does it help us to be mentally strong?

Amy Morin: Women are definitely taught to be compliant in following official rules as well as the non-written gender norms. But to create change, we have to break the rules sometimes. In the book, I share an example of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to complete a marathon in 1967. Up until that point, it was believed that women weren’t physically capable of running 26.2 miles. She didn’t ask to sign up for the race—she just signed up and ran it unapologetically and proved to the world that women can run marathons. Sometimes we have to break the rules to show that we’re more capable and competent than people give us credit for.

Lauroly Closing: Such good advice Amy! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and tips. This book should be in every women’s library. Even if we are successful and confident, I am sure we ALL do some of these things some of the time. The culture around us reinforces some of the bad habits we develop. I hope all my readers buy this book and gift this book. The 13 things need to be in our awareness all the time. When we begin to avoid them we live stronger and more confidently!

Any Morin Closing: Thank you so much for talking to me about mental strength. It’s always a pleasure to help people give up the bad habits that threaten to hold them back.

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