11 Top Tips for Mental Strength from the Chronically Ill

When you live with an invisible illness that has many physical impacts on your life it can be hard to maintain a healthy mental mindset. Coping mentally and emotionally with the challenges of daily chronic pain or fatigue, for example, takes a lot of mental strength.

The following infographic, sharing 11 of our top tips for mental strength, was created collaboratively with my readers back in 2014. These tips are focused on people with a chronic illness, but would be beneficial for anyone really. Please click on the image to see a bigger version.

11 tips Mental Strength

11 Top Tips for Mental Strength

  1. Focus on the positives in any situation.

    Focus on the little things that are going right rather than the negatives, such as constant pain or other symptoms. Remember not to call yourself names; be positive about your abilities and achievements.

  2. Listen to your body.

    Don’t push your limits too hard.

  3. Handle the bumps in the road with poise.

  4. Explore new boundaries. Do whatever it takes.

    This can be related to recovery or reaching any goal. See the challenges, like chronic illness, as an opportunity for personal growth and explore new boundaries. Don’t take advice passively, even medical advice. Do your own research and be prepared. By doing this you’ll be taking control of your illness and your life.

  5. Find Balance.

    Be realistic about what you expect of yourself, but don’t limit yourself. Find a balance between taking care of yourself and exploring the things you want for yourself.

  6. Be Passionate.

    Find things that you are passionate about and use those things to help them cope during bad times.

  7. Allow yourself to fail.

    Most people equate mental toughness with being strong and forging ahead no matter what. Make plans but forgive yourself if you don’t make the mark. Without the pressure of not being allowed to fail you can come back and do even more, probably better than you would have originally, and still achieve your goal in the time frame you would like.

  8. Be The Reed and not The Oak.

    Reeds lie flat in strong winds and survive to stand up again. The Oak can only bend a little before it must break. Prepare to bend on the bad days and rest to stand up again the next day.

  9. Pace!

    This fits in with finding balance and allowing yourself to fail. It’s important to be aware of your limits and pace your activities so you can achieve more without crashing and burning.

  10. Find joy.

    In whatever activity your participating in find something to be happy about. This fits well with being positive.

  11. Just breathe through it.

    Sometimes, that’s all you can do. Just breathe through it and remember it will pass.

“These ground rules have made me mentally resilient and tough enough to handle the 1 step backwards, 2 steps forwards that goes with chronic illness.”
– Pam on #4 Explore New Boundaries.


Do you have any other tips you’d like to share?