What is Mental Fitness? Maybe you heard this recently or have seen a post from me about it but are confused about what it all means and how it ties in your wellness and fitness journey.
Mental Fitness can be defined as Fitness for your mental health. It is having and maintaining a state of mental well-being and cultivating awareness of how we think, how we behave, and how we feel.
It is also referred to as a series of exercises that help you slow down, decompress, and improve your mind.
There are 4 components to Mental Fitness that are within the psychological or emotional fitness area which includes self-acceptance, self-esteem, resilience, and the ability to manage or handle strong emotions. Just like physical fitness has a few crucial components of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility-stability, and body composition. (1)
Mental fitness and your overall mental health is just as important as physical fitness, and shouldn’t be neglected. But, unfortunately, it is the one thing we overlook and push to the side as we tend to focus more on our health and weight loss goals than our mental health goals.
Here are some things to start working on to improve your Mental Fitness Game. (2)
- Affirmations-Harnessing Positive Thinking with Daily Affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements you say to or about yourself that can help you overcome self-sabotaging, self-doubt, and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often and believe in them, you can make positive changes. Performing positive affirmations can be used to re-program your thought patterns and change the way you think and feel about things around you. Doing this will involve positive self-talk, which recruits the “left brain,” which helps promote self-esteem and well-being.
- Visualize– Visualizing or Manifesting brings something tangible into your life through attraction and belief. It is an act of daydreaming or imagining everything you want is coming true, using the law of attraction. You do this by visualizing what you want and the feeling of what it’s like to have it. Sitting in that positive vibration signals your subconscious that this feeling and state is your reality. That is where the magic happens within your subconscious. As discussed in Affirmations recruiting the “left brain”, visualizes recruits and activates the “right-brain” that enhances optimism or feeling of positivity, confidence, and personal effectiveness. You can also use the same practice into vision boards, putting everything you desire on a board using paper and magazine cutouts or electronic boards. Then focus and look at it each day. Doing this ends up easier for some people than sitting meditating or with your eye closed trying to visualize. In the end, Visualizations can help you be able to focus on positive things, even if it doesn’t quite go in the direction you want it to. It will help you head into a better path.
- Gratitude & Journaling– Journaling and writing down my gratitude for the day is one of my go-to’s for my health and wellness practices. Like meditation, I didn’t believe it was something I should do daily and had difficulty committing to doing it for a while. Practicing journaling with gratitude forces you to pause to be grateful and mindful, helps you express and deal with your emotions for that day, helps reduce anxiety and stress, and helps you write down specific thoughts out in your head and manifest them into the universe. Adding this to your routine will slowly change your life and even boost your mood.
- Breathwork & Meditations-Mediation or working on your breathwork can be a powerful technique that you can access anywhere and anytime by slowing down, deepening your breath, and clearing your mind. Making sure to breathe is obvious; however, when we are stressed or mad, we tend to hold our breath, or our breathing is more shallow or irregular. Deep breathing is an essential part of your daily routine. Practicing deep breathing exercises or even practicing mediations allows us to take fuller, slower breaths that reflect a genuinely relaxed state reducing stress or anxiety and can even be known to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Try closing your eyes and taking in a deep breath for a 3 count, HOLD for a second, and exhaling out for a 3 count. Then Repeat. If you want to go further in breathwork and give meditation a try, remember that it takes “practice,” so be patient trying it 3-5 minutes at a time. BUT, it can help calm the mind, reduce stress or anxiety, reduce blood pressure, improve memory, and lower negative emotions. While exercise is good for the brain and the body, so is meditation. Meditation, this Mind-Body-Connection, is an alternative way to treat depression and anxiety. Calming the mind allows you to problem solve in a more relaxed manner. Meditation can strengthen our ability to watch all the troubling and stressful things our minds do. It also helps us to focus and tune out distractions. You can grab some free apps like Insight Time, Smiling Mind, & Exhale. Did you know that when you work with me as your coach, you even get meditations added in my wellness app to be able to do at any time or schedule at your convenience?sight Time, Smiling Mind, & Exhale. Did you know that that when you work with me as your coach, you even get meditations added in my wellness app for you to be able to do at any time or schedule at your convenience? (3)
- Relax & PAUSE-We are in a world of always being on the go, working too much, constantly scrolling online, or adding too much to our plate. We need to SLOW down more. While everything around us is in constant motion, finding the time to PAUSE can be good for our mental health and to be able to appreciate all we have around us. Relaxing and Pausing or being Mindful in a more present state can look different for everyone. Maybe you take time to cozy up reading a book, take a long scenic walk or hike on a beautiful day, draw a bubble bath with candles lit listening to some soothing music, get outdoors more or play a sport, sit in a comfy chair taking in the day relaxing with a good cup of coffee or a drink. Whatever you choose to do, the fundamental of pausing and being mindful is the same; it’s about doing activities that help us take our minds off our daily stressors and reboot. AND, don’t forget to make sure to schedule more “ME” time each week.
- Practice Being Positive MORE-Oh the power of positive thinking. This is something that is often overlooked, and it is an important one. Positive thinking will bring positive results in your life. It also helps with stress management and improves your health and well-being. Believe it or not, if you shift your mindset to a more positive one, you will start seeing shifts throughout the day and week. Why? It is because our moods, behaviors, and thoughts are all connected, so when we make a positive change to one, it can create similar changes in another, creating a positive chain reaction. Thinking about it negatively will make us feel negative and more likely give us the results we do not want in life. Do you think to yourself, I have a black cloud following me around? Have you ever wondered if maybe it could result from how you are thinking and reactions or actions you are taking? Thinking positive is not about burying the negative thoughts or outcomes; it is about changing your perspective into seeing the positive side more in each day. Start every day with a positive thought. This will also help increase your mental fitness, change your outcome, and set the tone for the day’s rest. Here are some ways to work on being more positive: focus on the good things around you, hang around more positive people than negative, tell yourself that it’s going to be a great day and believe it, practice positive self-talk and slowly remove being your own worse critic.
- Exercise Your Brain Muscles-Reading and doing puzzles help to increase being mentally fit. One of the best ways to train your brain and work those muscles is to play games to keep your mind sharp. Some great games to start incorporating weekly would be doing crossword puzzles, board games like Jigsaw puzzles or chess, and Sudoku. These games are designed to improve memory and boost your mental fitness. Reading is excellent for your brain, helps you stay present, creates visualization, and promotes relaxation. In fact, it is one of the great ways to get you ready for sleep.
- Stop Multitasking-I know this one may come as a shock as I was one person who used to multitask like no one’s business, proud of how much I could do all at once and handle on the fly. BUT, did you know that it can hinder your performance, making you become less efficient and leaving you having a more likely chance at making mistakes? This is because our brain is constantly forced to switch gears, bouncing back and forth between tasks. Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than focusing on doing a single thing at a time. The study found that people who have regularly bombarded multitasking with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. That is what Gary Keller talks about in his book “The ONE Thing”, focusing your energy on doing one thing at a time. Even Brian Tracy talks about knocking down one task at a time in his book “Eat that Frog”. Another negative side to multitasking is it takes away from you being mindful and present. As we are more in a present state, we can better retain information, listen, and be aware of, not being sabotaged by distractions. Start carving out a chunk of time on your phone or calendar with each Task TODO or project that you will complete for that day. When working on that task, put your phone away; don’t check emails or text messages or scroll on social media or online during this time. This will help you stay focused and get the work done without distractions.(4 5)
Fitness, in my opinion, is a mental exercise more than just physical. -Anushka Shetty
So as you see, it is vital in your Wellness journey to start focusing on your mental health and become mentally fit. Make sure you start working more on your mental fitness for at least 10 minutes a day or more. Then see how everything comes together in your health and wellness journey once you do.
To everyone who is overworked, busy, and stressed. So you are always busy working, on the go, or taking care of everyone else that you forget to take care of yourself and make yourself a priority. Let’s CHANGE That TODAY!
Need help working on your healthy habits and mindset? I can help as a Holistic Wellness & Life Coach! Book a 15 min Success Call to see how I can help you in your Wellness & Life Journey this year!