Can We Talk About Mental Fitness?
By Peris Wangui
When was the last time you dedicated time and effort to maintain a healthy state of mind, especially during this pandemic and 2020 as a whole? Physical fitness gets a lot of attention because it involves working on parts of your body that can be seen, but the same doesn't apply for mental fitness yet it is equally important. Incorporating mental exercises in your fitness routine isn’t a waste of time because a healthy mind and a strong body make the perfect win.
Mental fitness is the ability to cope with and meet the psychological demands of life, without undue fatigue or damage to your mind or body. It is actively keeping your brain and emotional health at its best. When you start working out to lose weight, one must take steps that will enable you to attain specific results. For mental fitness, the results will be seen in how we choose to deal with stressful situations, how we decompress, or even steps we take to boost our memory.
Let’s be scientific for a minute. The physical activity you engage in increases the flow of oxygen to your brain which in turn increases the “feel good” hormones such as serotonin and the famously known endorphins. You can bear me witness that after a good sweaty workout, your mood is so much better than before. Unlike physical fitness which has visible results, mental fitness can be measured by assessing the levels of stress, satisfaction, anxiety, responsibility, and competence you have.
Our mental fitness highly relies on what we choose to think about, and focus on. Thinking is often the root of our anxiety, substance abuse, reduced productivity, and even low self-esteem. Learning how to rewire how you think and doing it accurately and effectively is one of the major components of mental fitness.
We must learn how to be aware of our internal dialogue. Is it irrational, illogical, or faulty? Take note, our minds hear how we talk to ourselves and accepts that as factual whether or not its true. The effective mental exercise would be to use your critical conscience to question what you might be telling yourself then make the necessary adjustments.
Being mentally fit means we are able to use our mental abilities to the fullest potential which would ignite our creative minds, and approach stressful situations more calmly with less anxiety. The same way wellness is an active process of making healthy choices for our bodies and minds, mental fitness is a continuous process of developing habits that bolster our mental health. It’s about breaking patterns so that you experience positive emotions more regularly than negative ones.
Positive thinking, practising mindfulness, being more understanding and patient are some of the practical tips you can apply to develop a more resilient mind. Similarly, don't shy away to seek professional help when you feel stuck. Going for therapy means you understand the importance of maintaining a healthy state of mind. Our mental health matters as much as our physical health. They work simultaneously and if we choose to focus on either one of them we would be doing a disservice to our well being.
Yours in Wellness,
Writer: Peris Wangui, Certified Psychologist
Images: Pexel, Strikingly
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