Category: <span>mental toughness</span>

Dealing with the covid-19 change Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Centurion Pretoria

Dealing with the Covid-19 change – corona virus

Dealing with the Covid-19 change – corona virus change

Dealing with the Covid-19 change has severely impacted and turned our lives upside down. Being upside down means that a lot of change has happened and are happening in your lives. Change usually bring with and forth a lot of uncertainties and insecurities in our worlds.

Dealing with the covid-19 change Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Centurion Pretoria
Change is constant – prepare for it!



We want to know what is “ok” and “normal” and it causes anxiety within us if we hear and see on social media and the television daily that there is no “normal” anymore. If you want any practical guidelines on how to set a new normal in this abnormal time of Covid-19, read my post here.

Dealing with the Covid-19 change however does not only mean negativity. Read more about change and what it implies in this post on “who moved my cheese” here.

For more information about Covid-19, and many other educational psychology topics, please visit my Facebook page. Or, if you are looking for some easy-and-fun arts and crafts activities for your children during the lockdown period, you can visit this post here.


Photo credits
Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
Photo by Bluehouse Skis on Unsplash
Mental toughness, Pretoria, Centurion, Midstream

Your Ego, your personality manager

Your ego: an introduction

Ego?!   Yes, we know about ego’s.  Usually men’s ego’s!

In a previous post I’ve shared Brene Brown’s “blaming” dvd.  If you haven’t seen it yet it’s worth taking a moment to go to the video and have a look.

Blaming is all about ego.  And NO, not just about men’s egos – it’s all about our ego’s as human beings.  Have a look at the picture below: sitting behind your desk, your feet on the desk and just feeling good about yourself, just like yourself as a person. That is what ego implies: Ego is the manager of our personalities and it’s biggest need is to feel good about himself (or herself).

The ego is the manager of our personalities
The ego is the manager of our personalities

Now, how is an ego formed?

Firstly, the ego is formed by telling yourself good things about yourself, like “I am good enough”. You are thus giving yourself positive feedback of yourself, for example: “Iva likes me and she thinks I’m a good friend”; “I’m making a difference in someone’s life”, etcetera.

But, the ego is also formed by telling yourself bad (or negative) things about yourself: “I’m not a good mom”. Maybe you think “I don’t have any university qualifications and therefore I am inferior compared to my friends”. What about “I’m fat and ugly” or “I don’t have self confidence”, etcetera.

The ego is further formed by interpreting the feedback (positive or negative) that you receive from others: “Other people don’t like me”; “My boss thinks Mark does this job better than I did” or on a more positive side: “My boss thinks I’m great”or “I handled this situation well”.

Your ego and blaming

Back to the blaming issue:

In order to feel good about yourself, you learn defending mechanisms (to boost your ego to feel good). For example blaming others instead of taking responsibility for your own actions. Or withdrawing from a situation where you feel inferior and accusing other people of not acknowledging and understanding you. It can be drinking too much in order to have confidence to “speak out” in front of other people.

So, we all have ego’s, because we are human.  But have you ever thought about what your defending mechanisms are?  Start to recognize them, try to stop using them and become an anti- blamer, anti- over-drinker, anti- withdrawing person. Become a pro “I am good enough the way I am” person. This is food for your ego.

Most people don’t even know that they have defending mechanisms.  So, why is it good to know what your defending mechanisms are?  Well, by knowing what they are, you can focus on minimising them, or using them less.  Start saying: I don’t blame others, but I take responsibility for my actions. I don’t withdraw from friends, because I rather learn more self assertiveness and start to belief that I can’t expect others to respect me if I don’t respect myself. I don’t need to drink too much as I would rather learn some skills to better socialize and communicate with other people.

And start treating your EGO well, saying “hi EGO, you are a great buddy!!”


According to the website, the definition of ego is:

Ego, in psychoanalytic theory, that portion of the human personality which is experienced as the “self” or “I” and is in contact with the external world through perception. It is said to be the part that remembers, evaluates, plans, and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world. According to psychoanalytic theory, the ego coexists with the id (said to be the agency of primitive drives) and superego (considered to be the ethical component of personality) as one of three agencies proposed by Sigmund Freud in description of the dynamics of the human mind.


Mental tough people, Educational Psychologist Midstream, Centurion, Pretoria

Mental tough people

Want to be mental tough?

Who doesn’t want to be tough? That person still needs to be born as we all want to have self confidence, belief in ourselves. Most of us want to be in control of ourselves and our feelings, we strive to be able to handle normal every day life challenges and we are all fighting a battle to stay with our good commitments, like eating more healthy, exercising more regularly, spending more time with our loved ones, etcetera. The above mentioned examples include the four components (known as the four C’s) of mental toughness, which are challenge, confidence, control and commitment.

What do mental tough people have that others don’t have?

  • They are willing to take action and not just wish that they had more emotional toughness. So, they get actively involved in the commitment to make their dreams come true.
  • Mental tough people belief in themselves. They focus on their best characteristics and work on their negative characteristics.
  • Mental tough people realise the importance to love and appreciate themselves. They know that you can’t reach out and love other people if you don’t like and love yourself. They know that they owe themselves to love themselves.
  • Mental tough people know how to be good to themselves. They know when to take a break in a hectic schedule, they know that they can’t function well if they don’t get a good nights rest and they exercise on a regular base.
  • They are more flexible than people who are not mental tough. A flexible person realizes that he is still able to make choices in the midst of adversity and difficult circumstances. Rigid people usually belief that they are trapped inside their adversity.
  • Mental tough people set goals for themselves. They realize that to keep on wishing and longing for what they want to achieve without setting any specific aims, will only remain dreams and wishful thinking.

During the next few weeks I will expand on above mentioned skills and characteristics of mental tough people. Watch this space, while you start to take action on your own mental tough journey.

References: Developing mental toughness (Peter Clough & Doug Strycharczyk)
The psycho-educational use of mental toughness in dealing with trauma (Unpublished Thesis by AMS Van Niekerk) (see References at the back)
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