My message on mental strength didn’t just stem from my education as a licensed clinical social worker or my experiences as a psychotherapist. It was actually a personal letter to myself during a time when I needed a reminder to stay strong. Within a three year time frame, I had lost my mother and my 26-year-old husband, both in sudden and unexpected circumstances. Dealing with my grief taught me that having good habits wasn’t enough. I also had to get rid of bad habits – no matter how seemingly small or infrequent they seemed – that could hold me back. Then, in 2013, my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer and the anticipatory grief was almost unbearable. So I wrote my list, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” as a reminder of all those bad habits I’d need to avoid if I wanted to face the circumstances with as much courage and strength as possible. I published it to the web in hopes it might help someone else. Within a matter of days, my list was read and shared by millions of people. Just a couple of weeks after writing that list, my father-in-law passed away. So while I publicly celebrated my article’s success, my family and I privately dealt with our grief. I’m honored now to be able to publicly share my story behind that viral article. And I’m humbled that my book, also titled 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, has become a bestseller that is being translated into more than 20 languages. I’m passionate about resilience and I love sharing strategies for overcoming life’s inevitable challenges. Through my work as a therapist, and my experiences speaking with a variety of audiences, I’ve heard countless stories of people who choose to build mental strength. It’s a lot like physical strength – it takes hard work and dedication – but everyone can do it.
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