Mentally Strong Person of the Week: Ally Brooke

Singer, author, and former Fifth Harmony member gives advice on inner strength.

Ally Brooke

 Verywell / CSong

In the “Mentally Strong Person of the Week” series, I’ll share wisdom from some of my favorite guests on my podcast, “Mentally Strong People.” I’ll explain the strategies they use to stay mentally strong and then give you my take (as a therapist) on how you can apply these strategies to your own life.

Ally Brooke is a Multi-Platinum Award-winning recording artist who is known for her role in the group Fifth Harmony. The group broke up in 2018, and Ally has been working on her highly-anticipated solo career ever since. 

She recently wrote a memoir called Finding Your Harmony in which she opens up about some of her most painful experiences, including the death of several loved ones as well as the many highs and lows in her career. She also shares how she’s stayed true to her values, grown from her pain, and continues to persevere.

Ally Brooke

You can overcome even your most gut-wrenching, difficult moments and learn from them and, yes, even grow stronger.

— Ally Brooke

Ally shared many valuable mental strength strategies during our conversation on the Mentally Strong People podcast. Here are three of my favorites—and my advice on how you can apply them to your own life.

See a therapist even when things are going OK.

Ally has turned to therapy to help her deal with life’s inevitable ups and downs—like when she was about to go on her first solo tour but the concerts had to be canceled due to the pandemic and when her mother underwent an operation that could have left her paralyzed. But she’s also used therapy during the good times in her life. 

“I really discovered that therapy is such a powerful tool to unlock so much of yourself, to conquer so much of your inner fears and doubts and traumas, and really become stronger. And it's also awesome when you're celebrating something. It's not just for when you're in a crisis or when you're dealt a hard situation.”

My Take

I appreciate the fact that she said you don’t have to wait until you feel terrible or until you’re at your worst to call a therapist. You can go to therapy when life is going well too.

For some people, seeing a therapist during the good times is important because they have trouble being happy when things are going well. They might worry so much that their good fortune won’t continue that they can’t enjoy the moment. Other people sabotage themselves because they feel undeserving of their success. So seeing a therapist during these times could help them sort things out.

If you’re thinking of seeing a therapist even though you’re doing OK, go ahead and do it. You might find it’s easier to learn more about yourself when you’re in a good place. And of course, if you’re struggling to manage your emotions or you’ve hit a rough patch, it is a good idea to see a therapist then as well.

Look beyond yourself when you need a boost in strength.

“Sometimes it’s actually easier for us to be strong for the people we love than it is to be strong for ourselves.”

Ally shared several stories about how thinking about her family has given her an extra boost in courage when she needs it most. For example, when she was on "The X Factor" she was afraid to ask if she could sing some lyrics in Spanish. But once she thought about how important that would be to her family, she felt brave enough to speak up. 

My Take

Emotions, like anxiety, can make difficult things seem impossible. But thinking about how happy or proud other people will feel when you act bravely can make it easier to push through those feelings.

So the next time there’s something you want to do but you feel afraid, think about the people who care about you. Ask yourself what they would want you to do. Or imagine how they might feel if you act bravely. It could help you draw on some inner strength you never knew existed.

Get help from other people when you believe your negative thoughts.

Ally was scared to go on “Dancing With the Stars.” When she was in the group Fifth Harmony, people made fun of the way she danced. A meme of her dancing even went viral for all the wrong reasons. 

So when the producers of “Dancing With the Stars” invited her to be on the show, she was terrified that she would fail. Her head was filled with negative thoughts, so she called her parents and her friends for encouragement. She needed their help silencing her self-doubt.

Ally Brooke

Friends said, ‘be fearless. Go for it, girl. This is going to be an incredible opportunity. Don't listen to the haters!’ And then I finally said yes. And it ended up being one of the most amazing times of my life.

— Ally Brooke

My Take

There are times when you can reframe some of your own negative thoughts. But when you are struggling and your brain is telling you that you’re going to fail, talking to supportive people can help you get a reality check. 

Hearing someone else offer truthful words of reassurance can counteract the irrational, negative thoughts running through your head. 

The next time you need a little help drowning out your negative thoughts, tell someone you trust what you’re thinking. That person might be able to offer some words of wisdom that help you believe those thoughts a little less.

To hear more of Ally’s mental strength suggestions, listen to the full episode on my Mentally Strong People podcast. Each week, I’ll share another Mentally Strong Person and explain how their strategies can help you think, feel, and do your best in life.

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