Two thousand twenty has been a hard year. It has brought unprecedented challenges and struggles many of us never saw coming and became a time for us to reflect on our mental strength and resilience. Being mentally strong is essential during trying times. When considering the impact 2020 has had on all of us, who could better share tips to stay mentally strong than Finnish Ykkönen club Vaasan Palloseura’s midfielder Jeff Addai.
Being an athlete takes a tremendous amount of physical and mental strength, and Jeff uniquely understands how to promote a state of wellbeing via a positive mindset. Jeff’s career has seen many ups and downs playing from Canada to Germany, and with the USL Championship Club, the Tulsa Roughnecks. “When you have a career in sports, you have to be willing to adapt quickly,” states Jeff. “That is where I pride myself on mental strength.” Jeff shares his top three tips and why they are so important now.
1. Practice Gratitude
Mentally strong people are always thankful. They look at what they have as opposed to what they don’t. “Gratitude is all about being appreciative and focusing on what you have going for you,” explains Jeff. “When you practice gratitude, you stop dwelling on the negative and look more towards the positive.” Gratitude helps build a strong frame of mind powered by positive thinking. Jeff believes that no matter what, we always have something to be thankful for.
2. Prioritize Self-Care
A healthy body is the first step to a healthy mind. There are apparent links between our physical state and mental state, and to be a mentally strong person, you have to feel good in your body. “If you don’t feel mentally strong right now, start with small physical goals. Exercise more, get up and get active, and that sense of accomplishment will fuel a more positive and resilient mindset,” believes Jeff.
3. Learn to Say No
If we say yes to everything, we potentially drain our energy and fuel feelings of resentment rather than satisfaction. “Too often, we find that we are prioritizing everything else over ourselves and when we start to feel resentful, our negative thinking increases,” says Jeff. “Don’t be afraid to say no to things that do not align with your values.”
We might be emerging from a tough year, but that doesn’t mean we need to dwell on the past. Instead, we should learn from it, and as we redirect our thinking and perceptions, we can continue to build on our mental strength, ensuring we come out of this stronger than ever.