About the Book (from Harper Collins)
Expanding on her viral post that has become an international phenomenon, a psychotherapist offers simple yet effective solutions for increasing mental strength and finding happiness and success in life.
As a licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist, Amy Morin has seen countless people choose to succeed despite facing enormous challenges. That resilience inspired her to write 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a web post that instantly went viral, and was picked up by the Forbes website.
Morin’s post focused on the concept of mental strength, how mentally strong people avoid negative behaviors—feeling sorry for themselves, resenting other people’s success, and dwelling on the past. Instead, they focus on the positive to help them overcome challenges and become their best.
In this inspirational, affirmative book, Morin expands upon her original message, providing practical strategies to help readers avoid the thirteen common habits that can hold them back from success. Combining compelling anecdotal stories with the latest psychological research, she offers strategies for avoiding destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors common to everyone.
Like physical strength, mental strength requires healthy habits, exercise, and hard work. Morin teaches you how to embrace a happier outlook and arms you to emotionally deal with life’s inevitable hardships, setbacks, and heartbreaks—sharing for the first time her own poignant story of tragedy, and how she summoned the mental strength to move on. As she makes clear, mental strength isn’t about acting tough; it’s about feeling empowered to overcome life’s challenges.
When I was contacted about this book tour, I immediately jumped at the chance. I had a feeling from the description that the book was right in line with the entire reason I started this Fearless Creative journey in the first place, and since I’d been fumbling a little bit, I felt I could use a reminder. I hadn’t read the initial web post, but it didn’t matter. I knew I needed this book.
From a readability standpoint, it’s pretty easy. The chapters are short, the writing is conversational, and there isn’t a lot of scientific jargon. Morin devotes a chapter to each of the 13 Things that, according to her experience as a psychologist, mentally strong people don’t do:
- Waste time feeling sorry for themselves
- Give away their power
- Shy away from change
- Focus on things they can’t control
- Worry about pleasing everyone
- Fear taking calculated risks
- Dwell on the past
- Make the same mistakes over and over
- Resent other people’s success
- Give up after the first failure
- Fear alone time
- Feel the world owes them anything
- Expect immediate results
At times, I felt the topics were too high level, like there wasn’t much information – just a broad overview. I didn’t think there was enough substance there to help someone know how to make changes. Other times I thought the level of information was appropriate because it was just enough to inspire action without being overwhelming.
In each chapter, Morin lists a series of behaviors, thought patterns, or actions, and asks readers if they identify with any of them. In that way, she gently says, “there’s something for you in here.” I identified with some chapters more than others, but there was not one chapter in which I didn’t say yes to at least one item.
The chapter on taking calculated risks was one of my favorites. It wasn’t rocket science, but having a list of questions in front of me to think about when contemplating a risk made all the sense in the world. It got me thinking of what I’ve been holding back on for fear of the risk. Some of those questions, such as “What are the alternatives?” and “How much will the decision matter in 5 years?” made me stop and think. Do I have the answers yet? No. Have I taken any new risks? Not yet, but I finished the book a week ago. Give me time.
But even that wasn’t the chapter that I got the most out of.
When you look through the chapter list, I’m willing to bet that you say to yourself, “Nah, I’m good on that one. I’ll read it, but I don’t need to learn much here.” I sure did. People-pleaser? I’m not sure I’ve ever been accused of being a people-pleaser. Quite the opposite, in fact. And yet, that chapter was the one that I can’t stop thinking about. (Although, once upon a time – in July – I did tell you that I am, in fact a people-pleaser. Now we see who’s paying attention….)
In that chapter, Morin talks about values and about how knowing what yours are can help you make the best decisions. Truthfully, I didn’t quite follow all of her logic about why we strive to please others, but that’s beside the point. Morin challenges readers to list their top 5 values, in order.
I couldn’t do it.
I stopped short and stared at the page for a good 3 minutes before admitting I.COULD.NOT.DO.IT.
Have you ever actually, truly thought about your values?? What’s important to you?? What really matters?
Seriously, try it. Stop reading, and list your values. I’ll wait.
Could you do it?
If you could….are you living your life according to those values?
Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’ve been able to at least identify some of my values. Prioritizing them is another matter entirely. Living them…some yes, but some I could definitely do a better job with. So what are my values?
- Adventure and a sense of fun
- Knowledge and wisdom
- Connection to others
These aren’t in order, but even then, I think they’re pretty telling. Nowhere on there do I see career, or money, or status. I don’t see family, though I do see connection to others – which is bigger than family. I see kindness, honesty, loyalty, and openness….all things I strive to be, and things I tend to demand from the people around me. Respect should probably go on there too – maybe that’s the umbrella for a few of these.
I see knowledge and wisdom, but I also see fun. Life should be fun. Fun is important. Without fun, what’s the point? (I think I said this exact thing back in July during my birthday week posts. It’s still true.) And of course, happiness. And maybe, peace should be there too.
All things considered, I think I’m doing ok with being mentally strong. Can I improve? Of course. Am I in a better place than I was a year ago? Without a doubt.
Unfortunately, I think many of the people who need this book the most are the least likely to read it. That’s the problem with self-help and personal growth books…generally, the people reading them are open to change, and thus miles ahead of everyone else.
A huge thanks to TLC and Harper Collins for the opportunity to join this blog tour and read the book. I needed it! Make sure you check out the other stops on the Book Tour!
And just for fun, here’s a quiz to see how Mentally Strong you are. How’d you do?
Amy’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmyMorinAuthor
Amy’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyMorinLCSW
I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.