4 out of 5 stars
You can choose to be mentally strong. This is the premise of Amy Morin’s international bestseller, Thirteen Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.
After experiencing several devastating losses in the space of a few years, Morin, a licensed clinical social worker and college psychology instructor, created this list as a way to prepare herself to cope with another loss. She then turned the list into an article and expanded it into a full-fledged book.
The thirteen items outlined in the book are bad habits that mentally strong people have learned how to avoid. She begins by defining what mental strength is and isn’t, followed by chapters dedicated to the 13 habits mentally strong people avoid. She incorporates her own real-life experiences as well as anecdotes and examples from patients she’s treated in her work as a practicing psychotherapist.
I consider myself a mentally strong person, but like physical strength, mental strength needs intentional focus to ensure good habits are maintained. I picked up the book with this premise in mind.
My first experience with 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do was as an audiobook I downloaded and listened to a few years ago. I recently saw it again while browsing in a bookstore and picked it up as a paperback.
I don’t know if it was the format or timing but I found I got more from it as a paperback. I like being able to reference the chapters and tips in the paperback copy when I need a mental strength tune-up.
One of the points that resonated with me, particularly on the second go-round, was her observation that a person needs more than optimism to make progress. This was a good reminder for an eternal optimist like me that I can’t rely on a positive attitude alone to get me through tough situations or reach my goals.
I also appreciated the chapters on not focusing on things you can’t control and on freeing yourself from worrying about pleasing everyone. While we’ve all heard these tips before, she presents clear evidence for why these habits are harmful and helpful tips for breaking them.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their mental resiliency.