What Mentally Strong People DON’T Do + Simple Strategies to Take Back Control of Your Mental Wellbeing (Interview with Psychotherapist Amy Morin)

Dr. Caroline Leaf
5 min readSep 11, 2020

When it comes to building up our mental strength and resilience, we tend to focus too much on what we should do, and not enough on what we shouldn’t do. In this week’s podcast, I spoke with therapist, speaker and successful author Amy Morin about why it is important to be aware of our weaknesses if we want to become mentally stronger, how our bad habits can keep us trapped if we don’t identify them, how we can choose how we react to any situation, how to help our children build up their mental strength and resilience, how we can improve our mental strength during the current pandemic, and more!

As Amy talks about in her bestselling book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, it is important to focus on both our strengths and our weaknesses if we want to be mentally strong and resilient. Our bad habits tend to keep us stuck and can be incredibly counterproductive in our lives. They often mitigate the effects of what we are good at if left unacknowledged by draining our strength and leaving us feeling mentally and physically exhausted.

Some of the main things mentally strong people don’t do, for example, are:

  1. Feel sorry for themselves. Yes, it is okay to be sad or grieve, but self-pity can keep us stuck and make us think “why even try?”. Contrary to what people say, time doesn’t heal everything; rather, it is about what we do with our time that matters. We can learn how to feel without getting trapped ruminating on our losses. There are still things to live for even when we lose something or someone precious to us; we need to focus on what we do have, not just on what we don’t have.
  2. Give away their power. Watch the language you use. Try to avoid saying things like “I have to…” “I must…” or “…it drives me crazy”. Recognize that you can decide how you react and feel — you can choose in any given situation. This will make your stress work for you and not against you, propelling you into positive action.
  3. People please. People pleasing can be a tough habit to break, but it is worth all the hard work. When we try to please others instead of ourselves, we quickly lose sight of our values and who we are, which drains our willpower and motivation.

Similarly, in her recent book 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, Amy…

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Mental health expert. I have spent the last 30+ years researching ways to help people manage mental health issues in school, work, and life: drleaf.com