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Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Becoming mentally strong

Published: Thursday, July 31 2014 3:45 p.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, Aug. 1 2014 3:04 p.m. MDT

Getting our strong on: Saturday Summer Hikes keeps the Herberts happy and healthy.

Provided by Carmen Rasmusen Herbert

I’ve been in a mental rut lately.

Without going into too much detail or throwing myself a pity party, I’ve been struggling to make some hard, possibly life-changing decisions. Because of this, everything else has seemed hard, too.

Writing, singing, speaking, taking care of three kids, a household, a husband … all those things are stressful — and wonderful — in and of themselves. But for some reason, this little rain cloud of mine just keeps sprinkling.

I feel a little like Eeyore.

So, in an attempt to bring the sunshine back into my life, I’ve been doing some serious soul-searching, and here are some things I’ve found that I’m not doing:

1. Exercising regularly.

While I was training for my half marathon, which I finished and actually really enjoyed this past month, I was running up to three times a week. My husband and I also started a Saturday Summer Hike that we did with our boys every weekend. But after I completed the half, I injured both of my feet and couldn’t workout for over a week. And I’ve noticed. Big time. Not only did I feel more focused and happy (and healthy) the days I worked out, but I felt like I had actually accomplished something, just for me. And that felt good.

2. Reading my scriptures daily.

I believe in the power of positive thinking. Part of thinking and acting positively, for me, is reading good, uplifting literature. Particularly the word of God. I haven’t been doing this as consistently, and again — I’ve noticed.

3. Serving others.

I am a “servant” all day, everyday to my children and husband, although that’s probably not the right the word for it. I am happy giving of my time and talents to create a home where our children and my spouse can learn, grow and feel love. But because I’ve been focusing so much on how I’ve been feeling and why, I haven’t really reached out beyond myself to help others. And every time I do, it’s amazing how much better I feel.

The hardest part of doing this self-assessment is actually recognizing some things that may be putting drops into my little rain cloud and then trying to change my bad habits.

How can I do that?

I came across an article from Forbes online that was just the answer I was looking for.

Titled, “Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid,” contributor Cheryl Conner shares a list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, that are her own ideas of how people can become more mentally fit. Here are some suggestions that stood out most to me:

• Don’t waste energy on things you can’t control.

“Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.”

• Don’t fear taking calculated risks.

“A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.”

• Don’t give up after failure.

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