Mental Strength is one of the major Officer Like Quality on which Defence aspirants are assessed during SSB and in second phase of most of the Defence entrance examination. This is the ability of an individual to deal effectively with stressors and challenges and perform to the best of their ability, irrespective of the circumstances in which they find themselves.
It is the ability to stay strong in the face of adversity, to be focused and determined despite, the difficulties one encounter. A mentally tough individual sees challenge and adversity as an opportunity and not as a threat and has the confidence and positive approach to take what comes in their stride.
1- Developing mental endurance involves the following steps that one can take:
- By imbibing positive thinking. This is possible by replacing negative thoughts with positive and more realistic thoughts.
- Planning and goal setting based on priorities in life.
- Self analysis.
- Overcoming anxiety and emotionally controlling oneself. Control of the emotions is mandatory otherwise, emotions controls one. This is the extent to which you feel you are in control of your life, including your emotions and sense of life purpose. The control component can be considered your self-esteem. For instance - To be high on your level of self control means to feel comfortable in your own skin and have a good sense of who you are. You’re able to control your emotions — less likely to reveal your emotional state to others — and be less distracted by the emotions of others. To be low on the self Control means you might feel like events happen to you and that you have no control or influence over what happens.
2- Commitment towards responsibilities and taking positive action for it:
- i) This is the extent of your personal focus and reliability and ability to effectively set goals and consistently achieve them, without getting distracted. A high Commitment level indicates that you are good at establishing routines and habits that cultivate success. To be low on the Commitment level indicates that you may find it difficult to set and prioritize goals, or adapt or habits indicative of success. You might also be easily distracted by other people.
- ii) The Commitment represent the Resilience part of the Mental Toughness. This makes sense because the ability to bounce back from setbacks requires a sense of knowing that you are in control of your life and can make a change. It also requires focus and the ability to establish habits and targets that will get you back on track to your chosen path.
3- Acceptance of Challenge: This is the extent to which you are driven and adaptable. People who like challenges are driven to achieve their personal best and see challenges, change, and adversity as opportunities rather than threats. They are likely to be flexible and agile. To be low on the challenge scale means that such people see change as a threat and avoid novel or challenging situations out of fear of failure.
4- Self Confidence: This is your ability to believe in yourself and be productive. It is your self-belief through which you can influence others. It is the believe that you will successfully complete tasks and to take setbacks in stride while maintaining routine and even strengthening your resolve. To be low on the Confidence level means that you are easily affected by setbacks and do not believe that you are capable or have any influence over others. Thus, confidence comes with preparation and is extremely important ability of individual which helps one to identify and seize an opportunity and to see situations as opportunities to embrace and explore.
5- A healthy diet: Our diet plays a very important role and have a massive impact upon brain function. The brain consumes more than 20 percent of all oxygen and nutrients which we consume. Therefore, remember to feed the brain the good stuff i.e ( fresh vegetables and fruits).
6- Get plenty of sleep: Sleep is essential. It's when the body regenerates cells, as well as removes all of the toxins which have built up during the day. Therefore,one must go to bed between the hours of 9:00pm and 12:00am in order to benefit from the most efficient hours of sleep.
7- Listen to Music/play musical instrument: This relaxes person from stress and act as a break after long hours of work. In a study at University of California, scientists discovered that kids who sang daily in chorus and studied piano, were a lot better at solving puzzles, and scored 80 percent better in spatial intelligence than a non-musical group.
8- Regularly exercise: Consistent exercise assists in increasing brain function and enhancing the growth and development of body. That means each time you exercise you're developing both your mental and physical fitness level.
9- Meditate and offer prayers: The easiest meditation, which you can start right now, involves merely shutting your eyes and paying close attention to your breathing. As the mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath. Just five to ten minutes of this meditation can help you relax, clear your mind, and leave you more prepared for any mental activity. Both meditation and offering prayers help in developing concentration and good health.
Thus, those who choose to join Indian Armed Forces and make personal development a priority for them, the above mentioned points will definitely help and surely one can develop over the period of time.
All The Best!
Maj Nasreen Fatima
(Sqn Ldr Retd.) Ex. NDA Instructor, IO
Academic Head CEPL