Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin | TEDxOcala

Translator: Linda Anderson
Reviewer: Rebecca DeHovitz So, I have a Facebook friend
whose life seems perfect. She lives in a gorgeous house. And she has a really rewarding career. And she and her family go on all these exciting adventures
together on the weekends. And I swear that they must take a professional photographer
along with them, (Laughter) because no matter where they go
or what they do, the whole family just looks beautiful. And she’s always posting
about how blessed she is, and how grateful she is
for the life that she has. And I get the feeling
that she’s not just saying those things for the sake of Facebook,
but she truly means it. How many of you have a friend
kind of like that? And how many of you kind of don’t like that person sometimes? (Laughter) We all do this, right? It’s hard not to do. But that way of thinking
costs us something. And that’s what I want to talk
to you about today– is what our bad habits cost us. Maybe you’ve scrolled through
your Facebook feed and you think, “So what
if I roll my eyes? It’s just five seconds of my time. How could it be hurting me?” Well, researchers have found that envying your friends on Facebook, actually leads to depression. That’s just one of the traps
that our minds can set for us. Have you ever complained about your boss? Or looked at your friends’
lives and thought, “Why do they have all the luck?” You can’t help thinking that way, right? That way of thinking seems
small in the moment. In fact, it might even make you feel
better in the moment. But that way of thinking is
eating away at your mental strength. There’s three kinds of destructive beliefs that make us less effective, and rob us of our mental strength. The first one is unhealthy
beliefs about ourselves. We tend to feel sorry for ourselves. And while it’s OK to be sad
when something bad happens, self-pity goes beyond that. It’s when you start
to magnify your misfortune. When you think things like, “Why do these things
always have to happen to me?” “I shouldn’t have to deal with it.” That way of thinking keeps you stuck, keeps you focused on the problem, keeps you from finding a solution. And even when you can’t create a solution, you can always take steps to make
your life or somebody else’s life better. But you can’t do that when you’re busy
hosting your own pity party. The second type of destructive
belief that holds us back is unhealthy beliefs about others. We think that other people can control us, and we give away our power. But as adults who live in a free country, there’s very few things in life
that you have to do. So when you say, “I have to work late,” you give away your power. Yeah, maybe there will be
consequences if you don’t work late, but it’s still a choice. Or when you say, “My
mother-in-law drives me crazy,” you give away your power. Maybe she’s not the nicest
person on earth, but it’s up to you how you respond to her, because you’re in control. The third type of unhealthy
belief that holds us back, is unhealthy beliefs about the world. We tend to think that the world
owes us something. We think, “If I put in enough hard work, then I deserve success.” But expecting success
to fall into your lap like some sort of cosmic reward, will only lead to disappointment. But I know it’s hard to give up
our bad mental habits. It’s hard to get rid of those
unhealthy beliefs that we’ve carried around
with us for so long. But you can’t afford not to give them up. Because sooner or later, you’re
going to hit a time in your life where you need all the mental
strength that you can muster. When I was 23 years old, I thought I had life all figured out. I graduated from grad school. I landed my first big job as a therapist. I got married. And I even bought a house. And I thought,
“This is going to be great!” “I’ve got this incredible
jump start on success.” What could go wrong? That all changed for me one day when I got a phone call from my sister. She said that our mother
was found unresponsive and she’d been taken to the hospital. My husband Lincoln and I jumped
in the car and rushed to the hospital. We couldn’t imagine what could be wrong. My mother was only 51. She didn’t have any history
of any kind of health problems. When we got to the hospital, doctors explained she’d had
a brain aneurysm. And within 24 hours, my mother, who used to wake up in the morning
saying, “It’s a great day to be alive,” passed away. That news was devastating to me. My mother and I had been very close. As a therapist, I knew on an intellectual
level how to go through grief. But knowing it, and doing it,
can be two very different things. It took a long time before I felt
like I was really healing. And then on the three year anniversary
of my mother’s death, some friends called, and invited Lincoln and me
to a basketball game. Coincidentally, it was being played at the same auditorium
where I’d last seen my mother, on the night before she’d passed away. I hadn’t been back there since. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go back. But Lincoln and I talked about it,
and ultimately we said, “Maybe that would be a good way
to honor her memory.” So we went to the game. And we actually had a really good
time with our friends. On the drive home that night, we talked about how great it was to finally be able to go
back to that place, and remember my mother with a smile, rather than all those feelings of sadness. But shortly after we got home that night,
Lincoln said he didn’t feel well. A few minutes later, he collapsed. I had to call for an ambulance. His family met me at the emergency room. We waited for what seemed like forever, until finally a doctor came out. But rather than taking
us out back to see Lincoln, he took us back to a private room, and sat us down, and explained to us that Lincoln, who was the most adventurous
person I’d ever met, was gone. We didn’t know at the time,
but he’d had a heart attack. He was only 26. He didn’t have any history
of heart problems. So now I found myself a 26-year-old widow, and I didn’t have my mom. I thought, “How am I going
to get through this/” And to describe that
as a painful period in my life feels like an understatement. And it was during that time
that I realized when you’re really going
through tough times, good habits aren’t enough. It only takes one or two small habits to really hold you back. I worked as hard as I could, not just to create good habits in my life, but to get rid of those small habits, no matter how small they might seem. Throughout it all, I held out hope that someday
life could get better. And eventually it did. A few years down the road, I met Steve. And we fell in love. And I got remarried. We sold the house that
Lincoln and I had lived in, and we bought a new house, in a new area, and I got a new job. But almost as quickly
as I breathed my sigh of relief over that fresh start that I had, we got the news that Steve’s dad
had terminal cancer. And I started to think, “Why do these things always
have to keep happening?” “Why do I have to keep losing
all my loved ones?” “This isn’t fair.” But if I’d learned anything, it was that that way of thinking
would hold me back. I knew I was going to need as much mental strength as I could muster, to get through one more loss. So I sat down and I wrote a list of all the things mentally
strong people don’t do. And I read over that list. It was a reminder of all
of those bad habits that I’d done at one time or another,
that would keep me stuck. And I kept reading
that list over and over. And I really needed it. Because within a few weeks of writing it, Steve’s dad passed away. My journey taught me that the secret
to being mentally strong, was that you had to give up
your bad mental habits. Mental strength is a lot
like physical strength. If you wanted to be physically strong, you’d need to go to the gym
and lift weights. But if you really wanted to see results, you’d also have to give up
eating junk food. Mental strength is the same. If you want to be mentally strong, you need good habits
like practicing gratitude. But you also have to give up bad habits, like resenting somebody else’s success. No matter how often that happens, it will hold you back. So, how do you train
your brain to think differently? How do you give up those bad mental habits that you’ve carried around with you? It starts by countering those
unhealthy beliefs that I talked about, with healthier ones. For example, unhealthy
beliefs about ourselves mostly come about because we’re
uncomfortable with our feelings. Feeling sad, or hurt, or angry, or scared, those things are all uncomfortable. So we go to great lengths
to avoid that discomfort. We try to escape it by doing things like hosting a pity party. And although that’s
a temporary distraction, it just prolongs the pain. The only way to get through
uncomfortable emotions, the only way to deal with them,
is you have to go through them. To let yourself feel sad,
and then move on. To gain confidence in your ability to deal with that discomfort. Unhealthy beliefs about others come about because we compare
ourselves to other people. We think that they’re
either above us or below us. Or we think that they can
control how we feel. Or that we can control how they behave. Or we blame them for holding us back. But really, it’s our own
choices that do that. You have to accept
that you’re your own person, and other people are separate from you. The only person you should
compare yourself to, is the person that you were yesterday. And unhealthy beliefs
about the world come about because deep down,
we want the world to be fair. We want to think that if we
put in enough good deeds, enough good things will happen to us. Or if we tough it out
through enough bad times, we’ll get some sort of reward. But ultimately you have
to accept that life isn’t fair. And that can be liberating. Yeah, it means you won’t necessarily
be rewarded for your goodness, but it also means no matter
how much you’ve suffered, you’re not doomed to keep suffering. The world doesn’t work that way. Your world is what you make it. But of course before you
can change your world, you have to believe
that you can change it. I once worked with this man
who had been diabetic for years. His doctor referred him to therapy because he had some bad mental habits that were starting to affect
his physical health. His mother had died from complications
of diabetes at a young age, so he just believed he was doomed, and he’d given up trying to manage
his blood sugar altogether. In fact, his blood sugar
had gotten so high lately, that it was starting to affect his vision. And he had his driver’s
license taken away. And his world was shrinking. When he came into my office, it was clear he knew all the things
he could do to manage his blood sugar. He just didn’t think
it was worth the effort. But eventually, he agreed
to make one small change. He said, “I’ll give up
my two liter-a-day Pepsi habit, and I’ll trade it in for Diet Pepsi.” And he couldn’t believe how quickly
his numbers started to improve. And even though he came every week to remind me how horrible
Diet Pepsi tasted, he stuck with it. And once he started to see
a little bit of improvement, he said, “Well, maybe I could
look at some of my other habits.” He said, “I could trade in
my nightly bowl of ice cream for a snack with a little less sugar.” And then one day he was at a thrift
store with some friends, and he found this beat-up
old exercise bike. He bought it for a couple of bucks, and he brought it home,
and he parked it in front of his TV. And he started to pedal while he’d watch some
of his favorite shows every night. And not only did he lose weight, but one day, he noticed
he could see the TV just a little bit more clearly
than he had before. And suddenly it occurred to him, maybe the damage done
to his eyesight wasn’t permanent. So he set a new goal for himself– to get his driver’s license back. And from that day forward, he was on fire. By the end of our time together,
he was coming in every week saying, “OK, what are we
going to do this week?” Because he finally believed
that he could change his world. And that he had the mental
strength to change it. And that he could give up
his bad mental habits. And it all started
with just one small step. So I invite you to consider what bad mental habits
are holding you back? What unhealthy beliefs are keeping you from being
as mentally strong as you could be? And what is one small step
that you could take today? Right here, right now. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin | TEDxOcala

  1. I deleted Facebook a long time ago. I’ve not spoken to 98% of my ‘connections’ since. I don’t get bombarded with adverts which have underlying messages saying unless you buy curanail, your toenails will rot, and you’ll have hobbit feet. I won’t see posts from people I don’t really know, I’ll focus on real connections. Ones that are there for you when life throws a curveball like this lady. She’s had a lot.

  2. Excellent!! What I have learned in therapy is that it’s never about them, it’s always about you. Life is about choices. “Life is what you make it and what you make it is up to you.”

  3. Freaking yea yes U am a beautiful person a motivate d by TED talks i find TED and Ted content to be better than free and freeing i find ut the key to unlock ME Namaste

  4. 🔥☀️JESUS. LOVES. YOU🔆🔥. ….He’s that one friend that will never Leave you, even when everyone else does.

    It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’ve been.


  5. "You have to accept that life isn't fair!"
    "Before you can change your world, you have to believe that you can change it"
    …Which is it?

  6. 3 unhealthy believes
    1. feel sorry for yourself ( to yourself)
    2. give away your power( to others)
    3. think the world owes you something( to the world)

    the secret to being mentally strong is to give up your bad mental habits
    to build good habits is very important, but to give up bad habits is also essential

  7. Really good talk. I have a self limiting belief that I have been alone for decades and have no support so I see others with support and I am extremely jealous. I fee not strong enough to change by myself.

  8. Sometimes this type of thing helps.. other times it won’t and doesn’t.. sometimes people are experiencing emotional need.. address the emotional need and the cognitive functioning improves intuitively.. it can’t always be fixed at the level of rational thought and in fact when it fails, people tend to feel like they failed and there’s something wrong with them.

  9. I am a very Empathetic person and can hear the message of the speaker she is wanting to share with the world. My question is how does it help her move on from the past in finding a platform to vent your personal grief? How does it help others? It would have been more beneficial discussing how her mindset has changed towards growing into a new person with a new story. Tell the story you want to see not regurgitate the past.

  10. I admire her for being so strong. All of us go through loss and disappointment, but the key is finding our best path to mitigate our life for ultimate joy and happiness.

  11. OR you can create another you that doesnt give a fk and let it handle the stuff while the current you rest on the back, did that got rid of anxiety and depression, was like flipping a switch.

  12. Give up junk food to rly be strong? Om sry lady, the strongest humans on earth eat alot of junk food. That is great fuel

  13. We are all trying hard. Trying hard to be successful. Some on us are working so hard that the expectation of good results is building up to almost Everest. But what happens when we fall, when the result isn’t as good as expected. And there is another person, who works normal, is always having a life which we want after our “success” and still does good.

    This example best fits in college, where there are some students who are not always studying but still perform good whereas we still after studying ten times longer than them could not. It’s tough to take care of that envy feeling, and upto some extent, it is normal. But rather than envying and being jealous, we have to resent it. We have to realize that it is doing nothing but as said in the video “Taking our mental strength away”. And also, because life is not always fair, we will need that all strength to tackle numerous situations in life.

    So rather than having thoughts that holds us back, we have to work on our self so that what we want in life, we can have it, but with total positive mentality and being happy for others as well that they are there too.

  14. This woman sounds like she is about to have a "nervous breakdown" at any moment. Who allowed her to make a speech about this topic?

  15. How long should we allow ourselves to be sad? I suffer from depression and anxiety. I lost my mom 9 years ago this month and I've never felt the same since. I took care of her for 20 years until she passed away. In the beginning when she was still able to do things, we would be getting ready to go to her doctor's appointment and come out of our respective rooms wearing the same color. We would finish each other's sentences. I've had a lot of bad things happen this past year and a half concerning work. I got a new job and it seemed fine until this past week. It feels like it's starting again. Am I giving off vibes? I don't know. I guess I'm just rambling. Thanks for the good talk. I'll work on my bad mental habits.

  16. May the Divine bless your soul with what it truly needs ❤🙏❤ the strength and courage you took from your grief is inspirational. Many people throw victim cards down on the table and ask questions like, "Why does this always happen to me?" And, "Why do I have to go through this?" Yes, this instantly gives your power to an outside source. I used to be guilty of this negative commentary, which was also accompanied by negative self talk. Instead of these victimizing questions I have now replaced them with a very simple one, "What is this trying to teach me?" I am a firm believer in, "Everything happens for a reason," and along my life's journey I have realized that nothing is ever truly "bad," only challenging (as terms like, "bad," and, "good," are opinions and opinions cannot be fact). I have been through various forms of abuse, bullying, loss, betrayal, and other forms of hate/negativity directed at me, and I realized that I have learned something valuable from each and every challenging situation. Every single step I've made has brought me to exactly where I was meant to be. If these challenges were not presented to me in this lifetime I would be a completely different person living a completely different life. Life is like a classroom. We must learn how to add and subtract long before we can understand calculus, and every lesson better prepares us for future challenges or to help someone else. Trust in your journey ❤☮☯️🕉🌌

  17. We unconsciously create these bad habits, because people get bored fast. We are forgetting how to consciously think. And this takes over and attracts to whatever we believe. So we need to focus on how to consciously think, removing this mind wandering habit that was programmed to us many years ago. Expand your emotional intelligence and meditate when you feel your mind wandering.

  18. i forgot when i first watched this video that really helped me conquer my grief and insecurities. i was a 16 year old girl when i lost my mom, and my dad works outside the country so i need to be motivated enough to survive. i’m 19 now, and i can say that i’m better and still striving to be better by eliminating my nad habits. i rewatched this coincidentally and remembered how this helped me. i couldn’t help but compare myself today to the person i was. i am now mentally strong!!! i wish that all of you who are carrying tragic baggages that hinder you from walking peacefully to your journey can soon lift it up with strength and confidence.

  19. three types of unhealthy beliefs

    1) beliefs about yourself ( "I have to work late" -> Not doing it has consequences, but it's a choice. )
    2) beliefs about other people ( "She drives me crazy" -> your reaction = your choice / social comparison -> only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday)
    3) beliefs about the world ( "why does this keep happening to me?" -> Life isn't fair, get used to it. / Life is fair, because it's unfair to everybody.)

    • adding good habits isn't enough, you also have to let go of bad habits holding you back
    -> "What's holding you back?" is a really good question mane

  20. I know you have been going through very strong struggles and pains, but by sharing those and making sad evening or day for audience was not good idea for sure. I literally got disturbed in half of your speech, and I had to listen some comedy and strong motivational speech to come out of disturbance from your speech. Please stop this kind of conversation over Ted Talks. This is one of the worst ever Ted Talks I have watched, heard and participated in my life.

  21. I could actually feel her when she was speaking about her mother. I lost my father back in 2013 and the call i received on ist may 2013 at around 8 am ………….

  22. b4 retiring at night . do a written review your day . sort out the pos n neg . apologise 4 the neg and b grateful for the positive . keep it simple ! review it monthly and let me know how your doing . there is a solution .

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