We all want to be better. Better at our jobs, better lovers, happier overall… but it’s easier said than done, thanks to how easily our emotions and willpower get swayed by everyday life. But if you learn how to avoid those pitfalls, your life will suddenly get a whole lot better.

And so, with a little help from Entrepreneur, and Psychology Today, here are 10 ways to be a mentally stronger person.

1. Deal With Your Emotions

Take a minute to think about what you do when you’re feeling some unsavoury emotions. Do you bury yourself in your bed and sleep for hours when you’re sad? Do you binge eat when you’re stressed? Grab a bottle and start drinking when you’re angry?

While we’re all guilty of doing at least one of those things, none of them are really good for actually dealing with our emotions and working through them in a healthy way. That’s why, to be a mentally stronger person, you need to learn better coping skills. Instead of self-medicating or engaging in other self-destructive behaviours, try some of these:

  • Write in a journal. Putting those intense thoughts on paper actually helps you process them.
  • Go for a walk or run. Physical activity (without over-exerting yourself) will help you calm down, and the boost of endorphins will help you feel so much better.
  • Meditate! Empty your mind and push all those bad thoughts aside. You’ll reduce negative emotions, feel more patient, and will be able to cope better.

2. Delay Gratification

Instant gratification is something we all love. However, science tells us that delaying it is so, so important for success, and only those who have the willpower to keep from indulging in a moment’s enjoyment reap the successes later on.

Here’s some research to support this: In one of the most famous psychological studies of all time, called the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, researchers at Stanford University tested the willpower of children by giving them a marshmallow before leaving the room for 15 minutes. The children were told that they could eat the marshmallow immediately, but if they waited until the researcher returned, they’d get a second one.

The children who patiently waited those agonizing 15 minutes and got a second marshmallow went on to be more successful in life than those who couldn’t resist and had higher SAT scores, more successful careers, and even lower BMIs.

3. Learn To Say “No”

For many of us, saying no is pretty damn hard. But research from the University of California in San Francisco revealed that the harder it is for you to say no to people, the more likely you are to be stressed, get burnt out, and even depressed. And that’s not good.

That said, mentally strong people don’t have a problem saying no, which keeps them from overcommitting themselves. If you say yes to things you don’t want to do, or every time someone asks you for help or invites you somewhere, you won’t have any time for yourself, nor will you be happy.

Long story short, try to incorporate the word “no” more into your vernacular. Your mind and body will thank you.

4. Give Up Bad Habits

In order to be a mentally strong person, you need to ditch your bad habits ASAP, because you can’t move forward with them weighing you down. Some of the absolute worst habits to kick include:

  • Comparing yourself to others
  • Surrounding yourself with negative people or people you don’t like
  • Ruminating on the past
  • Being afraid of change
  • Not learning from your mistakes
  • Worrying about things you can’t control or change

Once you get rid of those toxic habits, your life will get exponentially better. Trust.

5. Don’t Blame Others

If you mess up or something goes wrong, do you play the blame game? Or do you take responsibility for what happened?

Even though it’s often easiest to throw blame on others, it’s never a good thing. For example, if your partner gets upset with you often about a certain thing you do – for instance, not being thoughtful – and you find yourself blaming them for starting a fight and making you feel bad, try thinking about it from their perspective. What did or didn’t you do that made them upset?

Taking responsibility for your problems is incredibly empowering and so, so important to building mental strength, because only then will you be able to learn from your mistakes and avoid them in the future, solve problems, and be more successful.

PART 2 COMING SOON