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Mental Toughness Routine

Mental Toughness Routine

Intro icon Mental Toughness Routine - Intro

Mental toughness is a combination of 3 things:  

  • The ability to initiate new tasks even if they are challenging. 
  • The ability to persist in the face of difficulty. 
  • The ability to recover when there are falls.

To become your best self, you need mental toughness. That discipline and determination make it possible for you to make changes and deal with difficult situations. 

Here we provide a routine with essential habits to increase your mental toughness.



Breathing Exercises

DESCRIPTION - Your body tension can be a barrier to your mental strength. Your work and other daily situations generate tension that you sometimes do not perceive. Breathing exercises have a very positive effect on your autonomic nervous system. It helps to lower your cortisol level and thus your tension. Reducing this tension allows you to have more strength and determination. Don't let the tension get in the way. You can find several breathing exercises in the Ultiself Habit Directory.

ACTION - Practice breathing exercises on a daily basis.


Best Time of Day: Morning

Consume Healthy Fats

DESCRIPTION - Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are a source of energy, necessary to face daily situations. The lipids present in these fats can improve brain function and mood. They help you be prepared to face problems, start difficult tasks and maintain effort. These types of fats can be found in avocados, certain nuts, fish, coconut oil, MCT Oil, and fish oil supplements. The World Health Organization recommends eating 250-500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids every day.

ACTION - Add avocados, certain nuts, fish, and fish oil supplements to your diet.


Best Time of Day: Morning

Cold Showers

DESCRIPTION - The best way to increase your mental toughness is to proactively expose yourself to stress. A very cold shower is a great example of stress. And proactively taking these cold showers will help improve your body's resistance to stress. It also releases endorphins, which gives you a feeling of general well-being and happiness. Cold showers can decrease the feeling of being sick because it may improve your general health.

ACTION - Take a shower with water temperature below 70°F or 21°C 2-3 times a week.


Best Time of Day: Morning


Review Goals

DESCRIPTION - How can you be disciplined and consistent if you don't know what you're working for? You should know your goals to focus on and organize your activities, so you don't waste effort. Staying active and determined to accomplish something specific will improve your mental toughness. If you truly and deeply want your goal you will stop at nothing to accomplish it and that in itself is mental toughness. Also, goal control is an achievement enhancer, especially when it comes to medium- and long-term projects.

ACTION - Check your goals regularly to see what you have achieved and what you still need to do.


Best Time of Day: Evening

Any Time of Day

Exposure and Response Prevention

DESCRIPTION - Challenging situations will be less stressful if you're prepared for them. Anxiety and fear of situations diminish with exposure. Controlling your emotions and reactions to difficult situations will boost your mental toughness. Try to gradually approach what makes you anxious or uncomfortable on a daily basis rather than avoiding it. Obviously do this without putting yourself in danger. For example, if heights make you nervous purposely go up to a tall building and look out of the window on a high floor. Or if you are afraid of confrontation to make it a point to have a difficult discussion with someone proactively. You will decrease your level of discomfort and master your own reactions.

ACTION - Gradually approach what makes you uncomfortable on a regular basis rather than avoiding it.


Best Time of Day: Any

Practice The 5 Second Rule

DESCRIPTION - Excessive doubt is the enemy of mental toughness. Doubt makes you procrastinate, miss opportunities, and avoid making decisions. When you think too much, it becomes rumination: you don't come to any solution and don’t take action. Your brain can go into a cycle of indecision and you need to stop it. When you have a chance or need to make a decision, count backward from 5, and physically move your body and take action. This technique was popularized by Author and Speaker Mel Robbins and is very effective.

ACTION - When making a decision, count backward from 5, move your body, and take action.


Best Time of Day: Any

Positive Self Talk

DESCRIPTION - You should be your best ally. Positive-Self Talk increases performance by helping to control anxiety and promote confidence. It also helps you cope with difficult situations by providing a safe environment for yourself. One study showed that talking to yourself in the third person decreases negative emotional reactions. Talk to yourself as if you were someone else, giving you positive messages when facing difficult situations. Try to proactively do this 2-3 times every week.

ACTION - Talk to yourself in a positive way when you are in difficult situations.


Best Time of Day: Any

Core Habits icon Why Core Habits are Important for Mental Toughness

Sources list icon


  1. Exposure and Response Prevention. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/exposure-and-response-prevention
  2. The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5709795/
  3. Impact of Dietary Fats on Brain Functions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6120115/
  4. Mental toughness latent profiles in endurance athletes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5825049/
  5. The Effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5025014/
  6. Why the ‘5 Second Rule’ Will Destroy Your Procrastination, According to Science. https://medium.com/@ellekaplan/why-the-5-second-rule-will-end-your-procrastination-according-to-science-34b3d6fa367a
  7. Putting it together: skills for pressure performance. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780443067341000237
  8. Third-person self-talk facilitates emotion regulation without engaging cognitive control: Converging evidence from ERP and fMRI. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-04047-3
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 Happiness  Stress  Productivity  Focus  Sharpness
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