With the daily stresses in an ever-changing world, would you consider yourself mentally fit? Well, if you’re not so sure if you are, read on to know more about mental fitness.
What is Mental Fitness?
Mental fitness refers to our mind’s state of well-being. This includes our ability to think rationally and make good decisions. Moreover, it includes self-awareness in the way we think, feel, and behave.
Life is stressful. When we learn how to take a moment before responding to any given situation, we’re much more capable and overall, more effective in dealing with it.
Importance of Mental Fitness
Just as we exercise for our physical health, we also need to mind our mental health.
Being mentally fit has significant benefits. For instance, at the end of a long working day, if you know how to wind your mind down, then you’ll likely have restful sleep. And of course, you’re more resilient to stress.
Now, your body and mind have a very strong connection with each other. Ever felt your stomach get queasy before an interview or your heartbeat fast when you worry, it’s because your body’s reacting to how you’re thinking. When your mind is overwhelmed, your body will also show signs of stress—aches or pains, high blood pressure, stomach upset, and many more.
This mind-body connection is heightened with automatic thinking or our survival instinct. A special part of our brain called the limbic system is constantly on the lookout for threats but these negative thoughts can also do us harm.
That’s why it’s vital for us to learn how to reprogram these thoughts to make them useful instead of harmful. In this way, we can create neural pathways that can help us cope with difficult moments.
We’ll discuss several mental exercises we can try to give our mind a good workout.
But before we do that, let’s first take a look at the key components of mental fitness.
Components of Mental Fitness
Similar to physical fitness, mental fitness has four (4) primary components.
Since mental and physical fitness are linked, you need to take care of your body by getting enough sleep, having a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
Significant research shows regular and moderate exercise leads to better mental health. For instance, a large-scale 2018 US study showed that the participants felt better emotionally when they exercised for about 45 minutes 3 to 5 times a week.
Meanwhile, the emotional component includes self-esteem, resilience, and self-acceptance. Plus, your ability to handle your own emotions.
As for the social component, it includes support from friends and family. This is especially true with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has triggered a rise in mental health issues, especially anxiety and depression.
A 2021 large-scale study showed that interaction and social support helped different age groups during these challenging times. Additionally, even just connecting online has been shown to be beneficial in combating loneliness, specifically for those living on their own.
Lastly, we have the financial aspect. According to a 2021 APA (American Psychological Association) survey, 72% of Americans are stressed about money. And this can lead to diseases like diabetes and health problems. In addition, you may also have mental health issues.
Exercises For Your Mental Health
So, now that we’re aiming to be mentally fit, we’re sharing some exercises to boost your mental health.
Yes, sometimes just being conscious of the way we breathe is enough to bring in the calm. Our breaths tend to be fast and shallow when we’re stressed so practicing deep and slow breathing with our abdomen would be helpful when a crisis arises.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
As your time and energy are limited, you need to set firm boundaries of things you can and can’t do. Healthy NOs are good to have.
Eat and Drink Right
Did you know that there’s a powerful connection between your mind and your gut? So, keep your gut healthy by going for lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, and good probiotics.
By practicing meditation consistently, you can improve your focus, increase your self-esteem, reduce stress, and even cultivate kindness.
Speaking of meditation, there are a number of wellness technologies available you can try at Everybody in Mind Wellness Center such as the Somadome Meditation Pod, Crystal Bed Therapy, and Ajna Light.
And the best news is, working on your mental fitness today is just a session away.