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  • Writer's pictureCharmaine Sheen

Mental Fitness: How to Shift your 2024



When you look up the definition of fitness it states that fitness is “the condition of being physically strong and healthy”(1). The concept of fitness has traditionally been viewed as a physical dimension that is focused on building one’s health. However, the idea of fitness has expanded its definition to include mental health; which we now refer to as mental fitness.

 

What is Mental Fitness?

In the same way that physical fitness refers to being physically strong and healthy, mental fitness refers to keeping your brain healthy and strong; physiologically, psychologically and emotionally.  But like physical fitness, being fit does not always mean having to train at an Olympic scale, instead it means being active in building and/or maintaining your health; even if it is to do every-day tasks.

 


Why is Mental Fitness Important?

The world is becoming ever more complicated and challenging. It is for this reason that we need to be more mindful of our emotional and psychological resources to help manage our actions and/or reactions to these situations. In building your mental fitness you are able to:

  • Regulate both your body and mind

  • Improve physical health

  • Build resilience and endurance (mental stamina)

  • Emotionally regulate

  • Manage stress better

  • Become more adaptable

  • Support a work-life balance

  • Build healthy habits and healthy relationships

  • Reduce symptoms relating to anxiety, stress, burnout and depression

  • Reduce trauma-related symptoms

 

5 Tips to Keeping Mentally Fit

As mentioned before, mental fitness is about making an active effort in looking after your mental health and emotional wellbeing. This means the willingness to develop and/or maintain the right habits. Here are some tips to becoming mentally fit.


1.       Define Your Journey & Set Attainable Goals

The same way when you want to become physically fit you need to decide what kind of fit you want to be (e.g. endurance, aerobics, strength, etc.), the same needs to happen for mental fitness too. You can become mentally fit at a physiological, cognitive, psychological and/or emotional level. Depending on the type of mental fitness you want to achieve, your goals may change in order to align. This is why, at a first point of call, you need to know what you want to achieve. Do you want to achieve total mental clarity? Do you want to improve your memory? Do you want to manage stress better or be more resilient? Do you want to reduce anxiety symptoms? The possibilities are endless.

 

Once you understand what you hope to achieve, you then have to do your research and look at what exercises and activities can help you achieve it. From there you can set attainable goals as stepping stones to you final achievement. Often, we fail at the first step because we do not have a plan of action that helps us build easy habits to achieve our final goal. It is for this reason it is important to plan your journey, focusing on meeting key milestones and proper habit building.

 


2.       Focus on Your Mindset First

Once a plan has been set, the next line of call is to focus on shifting your mindset towards achieving the goal. Although this may seem to be something that does not need to be said, often we make the mistake of running for our goals before making the mental shift and preparation for the journey. Similar to how you need to mentally prepare before a large hike or marathon, so do you need to mentally prepare to change habits and make lifestyle changes. The mental preparation aids us in being able to adapt when things go against our plans and it enables us to maintain mental fortitude. In addition,  it helps us problem-solve and keeps us motivated.

 

To make the changes to become mentally fit, it requires discipline and commitment. This can only be achieved through mental preparations such as practicing self-awareness, introspection and mindfulness. You can also make use of visualisation exercises focused on visualising a future where you have achieved your final goal and how it would make you feel. Making use of daily affirmations and positive self-talk can also help build the right mindset to be more resilient. And lastly, keeping your goal top-of-mind, through visual prompts and regular reminders.

 


3.       Make the Necessary Lifestyle Changes

Once you have made your plans and mentally prepared, it is time to make the necessary lifestyle changes needed in order to achieve your goals. Remember, the changes needed will depend on the goals you are trying to achieve. For example, a person wanting to become more resilient may choose to focus their energy on activities that challenge the individual, such as hiking, running, boxing, fitness classes, puzzles, and quizzes. They may also want to build their spiritual connection in order to gain mental clarity and presence, emotional regulation, and a balanced-world view. Building a spiritual connection for this individual could include meditation, prayer, visiting places of worship, attending spiritual retreats, joining a community or regularly attending religious meetings.

 

The activities mentioned will differ for each person, however, the main requirement is consistency. If your plan states that you need to eat more plant-based foods, it is important to remain consistent. This means preparing meals and learning recipes that align to this goal. On days that you do not follow-through with your plans, use them as learning curves and get back on track the next day.

 

Remember, exercise, healthy eating and mindfulness are key activities that can help all forms of mental fitness, and ought to be included in your plans to achieve mental fitness.

 


4.       Know Your Motivation

What is your “why”? Knowing what motivates you, not only to achieve the goals, but also what will keep your momentum going is important. This means knowing (1) how to incentivise yourself when you achieve your daily goals, and (2) how to get back on track when you derail from your plan.

 

5.       Get Support From the Professionals

Sometimes when we want to become physically fit we need to seek professional support to help us get on track, for example a personal trainer, a coach, a dietician, physiotherapists or a doctor. For mental fitness, the same may be true, for example a psychologists, counsellors, doctors or dieticians can assist with the transitions needed. Seeking support from a professional assists with alignment of your goals and helps with building a reserve of resources to support your journey.

 

At Reality Wellness Group, we are able support your mental fitness journey with the extensive wellness and psychosocial support that we provide. That is why 2024 is the Year of Shift for Reality Wellness. Let us help you shift your mindset, shift your goals, and shift your lifestyle towards mental fitness this year.

 


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