5 Ways to Increase Your Mental Fitness to be a Better You

What is mental fitness and why is it important? Mental fitness refers to your mind and its ability to handle life’s challenges. There are a number of benefits to mental fitness, for example a mentally fit mind is more able to accept and overcome challenges.

When you are mentally fit, it is easier to handle stress and deal with setbacks. Mental fitness not only relates to overcoming obstacles but it also leads to a better quality of life.

What is it like to be mentally fit?

There are a number of misconceptions related to mental fitness. Here are two common myths that often make people think that mental fitness does not apply to them.

  1. Mental fitness means always thinking positively. It’s a part of life that bad things can happen. Mental fitness is not always being positive through the tough times, it’s about still being able to think rationally, even when something bad has happened. Try putting the situation into perspective. Will it still seem this bad in a couple of days or a couple of months?
  2. We are either intrinsically mentally strong, or not. Our mental strength is not something that we are born with and unable to change. It is more like our physical fitness. We all possess some amount of mental fitness, however, it is always possible for us to increase our mental fitness, just like how we can increase our physical fitness.

Our mental fitness is something we can work on and mould in order for it to be something that is able to support us when life throws us unexpected obstacles. Here are just a few easy ways to increase our mental fitness.

  1. Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes. Exercising releases endorphins, the hormone of happiness . Regular exercise means we’re regularly getting a rush of this euphoria, thus increasing our mental strength.
  2. Increase vitamin B. Vitamin B is needed to maintain a healthy brain, so make sure you eat foods with lots of vitamin B like leafy greens and dairy.
  3. Leave time to relax. You need down time in order to recover from challenges and obstacles. If you don’t leave time to relax, everything can build up and make you feel overwhelmed.
  4. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness gives us the tools we need to accept our feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations and to calmly manage our attention and focus on the current moment. Mindfulness allows us to reduce any distractions we have and allows us to focus on what is currently important.
  5. Start a new hobby. Starting a new hobby is not only exciting and a great way to meet new people, it also challenges our brain. Try taking up a new sport or learning a new language. You’ll not only feel great as you see yourself improving, but you’ll also help increase your mental fitness.

As with physical fitness, there is no quick fix to improving our mental fitness but with knowledge, discipline and practice, we can all start that journey with a few small steps.

Sabrina is an MSc Psychology student and the University of Birmingham. She is passionate about increasing awareness around mental health to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, and also to help people better understand how they can help those suffering from a mental health problem.

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