Character Chats

Helping Others’ Mental Strength

How do we help others be mentally strong?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio. I have two Master’s degrees in Education, and we’ve developed this program to best meet the needs of our youngest students who are four, and our oldest student who is 85.


And this month we’ve been talking about mental strength. Mental strength is knowing that your tough mind can do things as long as we’re managing our thoughts and taking those positive actions.

Earlier we talked about what mental strength was, having focus, persevering, having an “I keep trying” kind of an attitude, that kind of thing. And then we talked about how sometimes we get into this stinking kind of thinking where, “I can’t,” or, “I’m not good enough,” and what mentally strong people do to overcome that, to move past that, that kind of thing.

Last week then we talked about our big emotions and how we need to name them to really understand them. We might need to take deep breaths and connect our bodies together. We talked about how even as adults we may need to have to take a moment and press pause or take a timeout, that type of thing, and that is not a bad thing to do. Too often our youngest students think timeouts are bad, but if they are taught how to regulate emotions, they can understand that pressing pause is okay because then we can start again in a positive manner, of course.

Guidance by Examples

But today we’re talking about mentally strong people and how we help all others around us be mentally strong. And if you watch young kids, they learn by all different avenues. They listen to their teachers, they watch their parents, they observe at restaurants and grocery stores and all sorts of places.

Their ears are open, their eyes are open, their minds are a sponge just soaking up information. And so as we are helping those around us be mentally strong, one of the things that we can do is over explain a little bit, really help them understand that, “I’m not giving up.” If they’re watching you in the middle of a task that is starting to frustrate you, that’s when you explain to them, “Hey, this is frustrating me. This is how I’m feeling right now. This is what I’m doing to overcome that,” because then they see that example in front of them and that’s how we can help them grow into mentally strong people.

We can talk about examples like, “If you were out riding your bike with your friend Johnny and he fell off his bike, and he threw it to the side and said, “I’m never going to do that again. I can’t ride my bike,” what would you say to him?” And get them to think about what their responses would be? How would they encourage him to continue trying riding his bike?

All the kids love those kinds of stories, and we can find those stories as we’re reading to them at night or during the day or whenever that may be. They’ll hear those stories. They’ll pick up on those lessons so that they can help themselves be mentally strong and help others be mentally strong too.

Leading with Positivity

Gratitude is a great way of showing mental strength. At one point, something might be really difficult for me, “Thank you for helping me with this. You really explained it to me.” And making sure that we understand the gratitude side of it so that we can keep moving forward in that positive manner.

So as we’re helping those around us, we want to be able to teach them, but we also want to be that example too. Like if we’re at work and we hear a coworker getting upset on the phone, something like that, walking by, giving them a smile. When they get off the phone, hand them a piece of chocolate or give them a funny meme to help them move past that feeling. Ask them what it was that caused it that way so that they can work through that feeling for a moment.

That’s how we can help those around us continue to be more mentally strong is by taking that positive interest in what’s going on in the world around us.

Mental Growth

If we walk around like this the whole time and not looking at anybody and not seeing anybody, and not communicating with anybody, we’re not growing and no one else is growing. Somebody shares the idea of, kindness should be sprinkled like glitter so that it’s everywhere. Mental strength, helping each other, taking those positive actions, similar idea.

And so as we’re helping our friends and neighbors grow their mental strength, we’re also growing ours. We can lead by example. We can demonstrate those skills, we can give them some strategies, and that’s how we can help those around us be mentally strong as well.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here