Physical fitness always gets a lot of attention, and there is, of course, good reason: good physical health can prevent conditions such as heart disease or diabetes and help you maintain a long, independent life. But often mental fitness is put in the background - while having a healthy and strong mental strength to enable you to face the challenges and opportunities that life has to offer. We discuss the importance of your mental mind.
The importance of promoting your mental strength
A common thought is that the absence of mental illness means that someone is mentally fit and emotionally good, but experts say that is a dangerous misconception.
“A person can certainly experience periods of stress, discomfort, sadness or anxiety without necessarily meeting the criteria for a mental disorder. Mental well-being is a process, and like physical health, it is a continuous process of maintaining mental and emotional well-being. ” - Rachel O'Neill
Unsurprisingly, difficult or stressful times can be the ultimate test of mental fitness. When we are haunted by a life event, rapid recovery requires significant mental strength and psychological resilience.
The benefits of being mentally fit means that we can use our mental faculties to the fullest, allowing us to be more creative, seize opportunities as they arise, and approach stressful situations more calmly and with less anxiety.
So, what can you do to improve your mental fitness?
Concentrate on one thing at a time
Multitasking is sometimes seen as a badge of honor, but too much multitasking is not healthy at all. That has now also been proven humans cannot multitask like a computer with multiple processors does, for productivity we better focus on 1 task at the same time.
Practice being present. During a walk, take in your surroundings - the weather, the birds. When you spend time with friends, really listen to what is being said. Turn off your phone and try to forget the ongoing to-do lists in your head.
Make time to move your body
Physical and mental health go hand in hand and should not be viewed as separate, as poor mental health can lead to poor physical health and vice versa.
Like medications in the treatment of mental illness, exercise can increase levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. It improves and normalizes neurotransmitter levels, ultimately making us feel mentally healthy.
Other important benefits include: improved mood and energy, reduced stress, deeper relaxation, improved mental clarity, learning, insight, memory and cognitive functioning, improved intuition, creativity, assertiveness and enthusiasm for life, and improved social health and relationships, increased self-confidence and heightened spiritual connection.
Mental wellbeing is a process, and like physical health, it is a continuous process of maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing. Make sure you sports into your routine to strengthen your mental strength.
Give yourself a daily moment for meditation and mindfulness
Just a week of doing a short daily practice of mindfulness meditation will bring about significant improvements in attention, energy and stress.
Research shows that these benefits are more than just subjective: participants in one research experienced an actual decrease in stress-controlled cortisol and improvement in their immune system. They also showed improved visuospatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning - important sets of mental skills that help you get things done faster.
For example, set aside 10 minutes each day (we like early in the morning) to meditate, contact your body and assess how you feel. There are some great apps that can help you incorporate a mindfulness practice into your routine in a structured way, or you can just develop a rhythm or method that works for you.
Define your core beliefs
We have all developed core beliefs about ourselves, our lives, and the world in general. Core beliefs develop over time and depend largely on our past experiences. Whether you are aware of your core beliefs or not, they influence your thoughts, your behavior and emotions.
Sometimes core beliefs are inaccurate and unproductive. For example, if you believe that you will never succeed in life, you may be less likely to apply for new jobs or take on new challenges - and inadvertently, you may not present yourself optimally in interviews. Therefore, your core beliefs can become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy that can put you in a vicious circle.
Identify and evaluate your core beliefs. Look for beliefs that are black and white, then look for exceptions to the rule. Few things in life are “always” or “never” true. Changing core beliefs requires purposeful intention and hard work, but it can change the entire course of your life and further strengthen your mental strength.
Make time for "self-care"
Allow yourself an afternoon or evening to take part in something you really enjoy doing. It can be sports, reading, binge watching your favorite Netflix series - actually anything: make an appointment with yourself before that moment to really do something fun that is meaningful to you.
Take responsibility for your life
When it feels like the world is collapsing on you, it's easy to blame the world for your problems. However, adopting this mindset will only make you powerless.
If you constantly say, “Bad things always happen to me,” life will feel like a struggle all the time. The universe is listening, so be careful with the words you speak.
You can't wait for someone to come over and make your life better. This is important if you really want to help yourself. You have the power to take responsibility for your life.
No dream or goal will save you. The sooner you accept and start living that truth, the sooner you step into your power and strengthen your mental strength.
Set boundaries and stick to them
Living in a success-driven society has its advantages. But it also comes with downsides, such as burnout, which is a real concern when you're trying to have everything: a fulfilling career, a social media-worthy time with friends, and a happy family life. Remember, it's okay to just say no sometimes.
As far as possible, set boundaries within your professional and personal life so that you never overload yourself.
Don't be afraid to seek help
Seeking help is often the first step to getting and staying healthy, but knowing how to start or where to go can be difficult. It's normal to feel insecure and wonder if you should try to fix things yourself.
Simply put, there is never a wrong time to seek help. Talking to someone about your thoughts and feelings usually gives you new insight that will likely be very helpful to your life. If you find yourself experiencing periods of stress, or if you feel angry, irritable, sad, or easily frustrated, it can be a good reason to seek help to deal with these feelings.
Mental fitness doesn't have to take a lot of time. Spending a few minutes on it every day will make you feel better and think more clearly.
Remember that relaxation is just as important in mental training and strengthening your mental strength as the more energetic activities, such as memory exercises or exercise.