What is a strong mind?
When we talk about strong mind we mean how we think about things and what we think about things.
- being as positive as possible given our circumstances, and
- our determination to keep going when times are tough
For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples this energy is recognised as our spiritual energy.
Being strong in mind
When the spirit is strong and your energy positive, that is what powers your mind. When we are strong in mind, we are better able to process information, make better choices, feel more resilient and function well in our day-to-day lives. We just feel more strong and deadly.
Having a strong mind does not mean you need to be a genius, and it isn’t about living free from stress, doubt or sadness. These are normal parts of our beautiful human existence. We are all different, we think different, we understand different and we process different. We can all work on strengthening our mind and when you do, you will feel like a stronger deadlier you.
How to look after your strong mind?
No matter how things are going, we can all do things to build a stronger mind. There are three main things to focus on:
- good food and energy
- training and exercise
- rest and recharging.
Focusing on these things can help you function at your best. The more you train your mind, the stronger it becomes. Focusing on rest as well, helps make sure we’ve got the energy to keep going.
How can I be strong in mind?
This might include:
- eating good food to fuel your brain
- doing puzzles
- playing music
- undertaking challenging problems
- questioning your thoughts and actions and those of others
- learning a new language
- trying a new hobby
- painting and doing art.
Ways to rest your mind
Your mind and your brain need rest. The more you work or study or stress, the more you need to rest your mind. Learn some positive coping strategies and chill out in a way that works for you. This might be:
- meditation or mindfulness
- getting enough sleep
- or simply sitting quietly on country.
There is no right or wrong way to relax. It’s about you finding your zone and feeling happy going there whenever you need to.
What can impact on your strong mind?
We all get stressed and we all feel mentally tired at times. Junk food, drugs, alcohol, poor sleep, too much time on your phone or other screens, disconnection from your mob, working or studying too much and buying into other people’s drama can all create more stress and tension in our lives.
Resilience is like a rubber band, you can stretch it and release it time and time again and it will be OK but if you try stretch it too far without letting it relax, it is likely to snap. Our minds get over stretched easily when they’re not looked after. Building a stronger mind is looking after ourselves. It helps us bounce back from stress.
Sometimes we can get stuck stressing too much about:
- things that have happened that we can’t change, and
- things in the future that haven’t happened.
This is where a lot of anxiety and depression comes from. We sometimes don’t cope so well with the stress and we turn to unhealthy things to try and feel better. It can quickly become a toxic cycle that spirals out of control.
Avoid the cycle by yarning up before things get that way.
If you feel you need more help finding or maintaining your strong mind contact headspace or eheadspace to have a yarn with someone. You can also try yarning to your school counsellor or ask your workplace if they have an employee assistance provider (EAP) that you can contact. Your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service might also have counsellors available. You can call Lifeline (13 11 44) if you are feeling really unsafe for immediate crisis support.
This resource has been developed in partnership with the headspace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Reference Group (Womenjeka Reference Group), Marumali Consultations, the headspace National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and headspace National.
The headspace Clinical Reference Group oversee and approve clinical resources made available on this website.
Last reviewed 1 July 2021.
Wellbeing wheel reference:
Gee, G., Dudgeon, P., Schultz, C., Hart, A, & Kerrie, K. (2014).Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing. In P. Dudgeon., H. Milroy, & R. Walker (Eds.), Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice (2nd Ed.) (pp. 55-68). Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.