After the holidays, starting a new fitness routine or committing to a better eating regime is common. But what about your mental fitness? Many experts would argue that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. 

Mental fitness might be a newer term, but the concept has been around longer than you think. When you strengthen your mental fitness, you improve your ability to maintain a state of well-being and develop an awareness of how you think, behave and feel. It’s essential to understand that if you want optimal well-being, you can’t only have good physical health. 

In reality, if your mental health declines, it eventually affects your physical health and overall quality of life. This relates to the mind-body connection all humans have. There is an undeniable link between thoughts, attitudes, and behavior and their correlation to physical health.

When considering the question, “What is mental fitness?” You can categorize it into four main components: emotional, social, financial, and physical. Strengthening any of these components improves your ability to cope with stress, health, and relationships and positively impacts your overall wellness.

Benefits of Improved Mental Fitness

Let’s face it; negative thinking impacts you in negative ways. In turn, thinking positively can improve your life fulfillment. If you don’t focus on your mental fitness, you’ll never slow down to decompress. Before you know it, panic and overwhelm creep in. That’s why the importance of mental fitness is paramount. The importance of mental fitness may make you focus on it more.

Strengthened mental fitness benefits you, your overall wellness, and others in your life in several ways. 

  • Optimism: When you are more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, you can successfully evaluate and rework them to be more helpful. And studies show optimism can help you lead a healthier, happier life.
  • Better cognitive functioning: The importance of mental fitness extends beyond improving your mental and emotional health. Strengthening your mental fitness also improves memory, concentration, focus, and communication skills. 
  • Respond rather than react: Improving mental fitness allows you to have more control over the thoughts that automatically come into your mind. This helps you respond to things more rationally and less reactively.
  • Improved confidence: When you think more positively, you can actually improve your self-esteem and self-confidence. Focusing on the good in your life and your strengths can help you feel more confident in yourself.
  • Better sleep: Sleep plays a significant role in your mental and physical health. And when you improve your mental fitness, you improve your sleep.
  • Ability to stay present: Mindfulness is crucial to living a fulfilling life. With strong mental fitness, you can remain aware of distractions but not be sabotaged by them. 

12 Ways to Improve your Mental Fitness

Improving mental fitness is not only about brain dexterity. It’s also about your daily routines, thoughts, behaviors, and patterns for optimal well-being. Let’s look at 12 examples of how you can positively improve and exercise your mind below.

1. Mindful activities – Put your mind at ease with something you enjoy. Listen to music and dance around your living room. Reading a book can be a calming way to center yourself and get your mind in one focused state. It also wakes up the brain and ignites creativity. 

2. Breathing exercises – Deep breathing or Yoga rhythmic breathing techniques are a great way to regulate your nervous system. Conscious breathwork practices help to alleviate anxiety and calm your mind. 

Staying present is a part of having strong mental fitness.

3. Guided imagery – This powerful self-awareness technique uses your imagination to change how you are feeling or what you are focused on. Guided imagery typically involves imagining a relaxing scene and utilizing all five senses. This practice can be done anywhere and can quickly destress and put you at ease.

4. Switch negative thought patterns – When a negative thought creeps into your mind, immediately replace it with three positive ones. You can retrain your brain to think positively on a sort of autopilot. Negative thought patterns can fester quickly and become depression if you are not careful to change them.

5. Get enough exercise – As mentioned earlier, physical activity is directly related to mental fitness. If you exercise regularly, the chances of you having better mental health are much higher. It can boost your mood and concentration and even improve your sleep. Exercise can also significantly reduce depression and anxiety. 

6. Practice journaling – If you are having difficulty turning off your mind, taking to pen and paper is an excellent outlet. It can help you track your day-to-day symptoms and recognize triggers. Journaling can also help you to identify negative thoughts and behaviors and calm fears.

Practicing journaling is a great way to improve mental fitness.

7. Avoid multitasking – A study done at Stanford University concluded that multitasking could take quite a toll on your mental fitness. It can add stress, harming your mood, motivation, and productivity. This division of your attention can result in anxiety, stress, and confusion.

8. Set personal goals – Having an end goal and plan can be a great way to hold yourself accountable and give you a sense of self. When you set an attainable goal and achieve it, your self-esteem soars. You have a sense of direction and feel more in control of your daily life.  

9. Get regular sleep – Sleep deprivation is linked to several mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. A lack of sleep harms the brain’s processing mechanisms, including emotional content. This can impact mood and trigger negative behavior patterns.

How to improve mental fitness? Get enough sleep.

10. Try something new – Escaping from the mundane can give you a fresh outlook. Breaking out of routine also helps your brain to stay healthy by forming new connections. Find new experiences such as traveling, new foods, or a different exercise routine. 

11. Practice gratitude – recalling times when you have experienced positive emotions helps to put you in a better mood. When you practice gratitude, you are happier overall. This directly leads to a lower amount of stress, anxiety, and depression. 

12. Mental fitness training – We are all busy, so remember that practicing mental fitness can fit into the small portions of time throughout your daily routine. Try to focus on 1-3 strategies per day to help ease you through and keep your day on a more positive note. Mental fitness is vital as you age. Along with your workout schedule, mark down some time to fit in a mental proficiency exercise. 

Working out your brain can look like slowing down or playing a fun game to spark those neurons. Figuring out what your mind needs can be challenging. You may find yourself asking, “What is mental fitness for me going to look like?” Keeping track of your mental fitness takes some effort and self-awareness. Remember that stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental ailment you are experiencing may need to be addressed with a professional. 

Our Minnesota Psychiatry Team Can Help You Improve Your Mental Fitness

Awareness of your patterns, thoughts, and behaviors is essential. How are they impacting your mental and physical health? When you are physically unwell, you might go to the doctor to help yourself feel better. In terms of mental health, a mental health professional like one at our Minnesota psychiatry practice can help you fully understand the importance of mental fitness and how to improve yours.

Our team of Certified Nurse Practitioners at Nexus of Hope are PTSD Specialists.

At Nexus of Hope, our Minnesota psychiatry group understands the importance of mental fitness. Our team of experts will provide you with a holistic and compassionate approach to bring a sense of positivity and regulation to your everyday life. You don’t have to be alone in finding relief from your symptoms and becoming a mental fitness self-advocate.

You can receive top-notch care at our Lakeville office or get the help you need from anywhere in Minnesota through our teletherapy options. Let us help you commit to your mental fitness and improve your quality of life.

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