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Carreer Junction by Michele Majul-IbarraMake mental toughness a goal for 2020

by Michele Majul-Ibarra

Mental health awareness is a topic we frequently hear about or see on all sorts of media platforms. Mental un-wellness can come in many different forms, and symptoms can be as simple as a change in eating habits, mood changes, low energy, or problems sleeping. Sometimes, symptoms may even include physical pain like stomach pain and headaches. It’s a type of health concern that is not always easy to identify since most symptoms are invisible for the most part.

Despite of the sad reality of the global decline in mental health, many people are still only focused on physical appearance. In the New Year, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear about resolutions related to weight loss or improving on physical fitness. It is not a bad thing at all, but since our mental health is just as important, don’t you think it’s about time that we focus on getting our minds in top shape this New Year as well?

For most people, the workplace is a substantial source of stress. From overtime, deadlines, production quotas to unreasonable bosses. While it is not always easy to overcome work stressors, the good news is that there are creative ways to make the experience manageable and tolerable. Mental toughness is one strategy that could potentially help but it’s not always discussed.

A few days ago, an article about mental toughness caught my attention. In the article, there were tips shared by Andrew Wittman, a former special agent who protected members of Congress in the United States, governors, heads of state and celebrities.

Andrew Wittman said that growing up he was an easy target for bullies; and that he was a “fat kid” and he said that he cowered but he taught himself to bounce back and be strong. He is now the CEO of Mental Toughness Training Center where he teaches Fortune 500 CEOs how to be resilient like him. He also mentioned that, as an entrepreneur, resiliency and mental toughness were critical to his long lasting success. He also sees resiliency as a skill that can be learned and attained by anyone.

In the article I mentioned, you can learn all about Andrew Wittman’s tips for mental toughness under the “sources” links below. For the purposes of this article, I would like to share a few of the things that work for me to enhance my mental endurance.

Conserve your energy

Ever heard the phrase, “I just work here”? It’s a phrase often used by workers if a customer asks them a question that they’re unable to answer or address. Similarly, in order for mental toughness to last, it is important to conserve our energy for things that we can control. When we recognize which responsibilities are within our influence and control, it makes it much easier to worry less and focus our energy on actual priorities.

Get out of your comfort zone

Mentally tough people do not stay in their comfort zone. They have the ability to cope with their fear and manage under pressure regardless of the challenge they’re facing. To Andrew Wittman’s point about resilience, when you challenge yourself in doing the things that you fear, you actually train your mind to be adaptive to change and defy difficulties. This is what resilience is about; the ability to bounce back from circumstances like pain and failure, which can also be applied in all aspects of our life.

Spend some time to reflect

One thing that I personally find to be very helpful before I begin my day at work is reflection. It also wouldn’t hurt to start with a prayer and to clear your mind of clutter from the previous day. Each day is a new day. While it’s difficult to overcome the accumulated stress from the previous day or even weeks prior, facing each new day with a positive mind will help ease any feelings of worry and anxiety.


This article is intended for information purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice.

Michele Majul-Ibarra, IPMA-ACP holds an Advanced Certified HR Professional Designation with the International Personnel Management Association. E-mail her at

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