What is mental fitness? The Doc’s how-to for exercising your brain!

What is mental fitness? The Doc’s how-to for exercising your brain!

Weights. Jogging. Gym.

It’s what often comes to mind when you hear about fitness. We associate fitness with physical activity because of the strong health and wellbeing benefits.

The Doc recommends applying the same fitness logic to your mind to help keep your mental wellbeing just as fit as your physical self!

What is mental fitness?

Mental fitness is keeping your brain and emotional health in good shape. There are no brain crunches or I.Q. tests involved but the occasional game of Wordle definitely counts!

Mental fitness can influence how you feel, think, and act and how you choose to process stress and anxiety. Mental fitness helps to provide you with more space to choose how to respond to a situation and to be your best.

The goal is to create thought patterns and practise daily habits to help experience more positive emotions on a regular basis.

Take for example, a stressful day at work. Mental fitness gives you the tools to pause, stay calm and be mindful of your actions and resolve your emotions without being overwhelmed by them.

Strengthening your mental fitness will help you to stay in control of your thoughts and feelings to create more positive choices that better benefit your life.

What are the benefits of mental fitness?

There are many benefits to strengthening your mental health. Building your mental fitness into your daily life routine will give you a greater chance of lowering stress, anxiety, and burnout. 

Mental fitness is important because it enables you to develop the habits that help you break unhelpful thought or mood patterns.   

How to practice mental fitness? 

There are simple ways to build your mental fitness that you can add to the many activities you already do on a daily basis:

Gratitude: Make it a point to list out the things in your life you are grateful for each day. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present and magnifies positive emotions. 

Breathing exercises: Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in your body. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.

Sleep: Rest is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing, and is vital for maintaining good mental and physical health. Sleeping helps us to recover from mental as well as physical exhaustion.

Play games: One of the best ways to train your brain is to play games that test your reasoning and are fun ways to keep your mind sharp and stimulated. Consider these games: Wordle, crossword puzzles, board games, Sudoku.

Read more: Reading is great for your brain. It helps you visualise the characters you’re reading about, imagine what voices sound like in the written dialogue. Having to follow words and pay attention helps your memory skills improve and get better over time. Try carving out uninterrupted time in your day to read.

Time out: Mental fitness does not have to take up a lot of your time. Just spending a few minutes every day visualizing, affirming, or relaxing can help you feel better and think more clearly. Schedule a mental fitness break into your calendar - your mind and your health are worth it!

Stop multi-tasking! You may think that multitasking enables you to get many things done at once, but it actually creates more problems than it solves. Try focussing on one thing at a time. 

Try to combine these activities throughout your day. Each activity will help strengthen your mental fitness to be and feel your best. 

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