13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

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13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin (William Morrow, December 2014) is a practical self-help book to help people develop better habits and make emotionally strong decisions. The lengthy subtitle is “Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success.” The “habits to break” approached worked well in emphasizing how our own challenges often come because of our own choices and habits. When we can eliminate the habits, we can become mentally stronger.

Therapist Amy Morin’s introduction tells us of her own need for mental strength during the year both her mother and husband died. Her initial description of what mental strength is give the book a sincere and practical tone. She knows it is not going to be easy for us too!

Each chapter begins with a story of a real person that she spoke to in her therapeutic practice, then discusses which habit prevents his or her situation from progressing positively. The chapter has lists of what we might do that are negative and what we can do to improve if we can let go of the negative habit.

The information is indeed helpful. She discusses how we give away our power, why we shouldn’t feel sory for ourselves, and how we should embrace failure and mistakes. Here are some take aways I had.

  • Sometimes I let other people’s impressions make a difference to me. I’ve got to let go. It’s like, high school when EVERYTHING MATTERED has followed me in some ways, and of course not in others. I’m taking back my power!
  • My kids: It’s so hard to let go of my “control” which of course I never really had. So hard watching then grow up and make mistakes…but letting go certainly is better for my mental health.
  • Saying yes to one thing is saying no to something else. It’s ok if someone is unhappy with me. I can’t make everyone happy.
  • I have missed so many opportunities with my fear. I need to embrace the scary and accept failure to become stronger!
  • Don’t dwell on things you did wrong, but learn from it so you won’t do it again. Personal story: there’s this moment in high school when I almost joined the school newspaper. But I chickened out when I was outside the door to the room. I always wonder what would have been different about my high school experience if I’d done the paper. So….I need to make sure I don’t miss out on similar chances again even when I’m scared. I’d hate to have more of those moments. (And I sure wish I could stop remembering that one moment! Not dwelling, but man the memory is annoying!)
  • Failure is not a dirty word!
  • I love alone time. But! This should mean meditation, letting your brain rest. Apparently, reading a book, listening to a podcast, and chatting still isn’t letting my brain rest.
  • The world doesn’t owe me anything. Stay humble and focus on others rather than myself.
  • I’ve been feeling discouraged by a number of things in parenting and also with my small business. Is it all worth it? I need to work on making reasonable goals and working toward them.

Ms Morin’s tips and ideas are certainly worth reviewing. I see she now has workbooks and follow-ups for this book. I may have to check them out!

I listened to audiobook from Audible, which was nicely narrated by the author. You can also get the book at Bookshop.org!

Reviewed on July 27, 2023

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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