2020 made us all more resilient. If you’re reading this, always remember – you were able to persevere through a global pandemic. You were able to push through despite a world health crisis, and the seemingly never-ending setbacks and obstacles it threw your way. Be very proud of yourself.
We now enter 2021 with a better understanding of how to navigate through uncertainty, and a full understanding that it will entail a lot of stress and fast changes. But how do we maintain our resilience? Before moving forward, take a step back to look at your mental health – be honest with yourself and attend to your needs. Like any physical activity, in order to power through, you need to be fit.
What is mental fitness?
As our mind is a muscle, it needs to be trained and strengthened. Mental fitness involves exercises that develop our mental and emotional abilities – the more we exercise our minds, the stronger it gets. No, these activities aren’t done to increase your IQ. Mentally, they help us become healthier and fitter with skills that allow us to focus better, be more optimistic and connect well with others.
What are the benefits?
Mental fitness has physical benefits too – by being able to slow down, especially at night, our bodies will be able to rest properly. Having a calm mind will also help us become less reactive to stress and solve problems in a more relaxed manner. When it comes to concentration, mental fitness builds cognitive strength, which allows us to ignore distracting thoughts. Socially, it benefits us with the ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships as we become less judgemental and more understanding.
How do we practice mental fitness?
- Meditating – Meditating isn’t the only mental exercise, but it does help us focus and tune out distractions. By working on our cognitive strength, we’ll be able to improve our attention, thinking and memory.
- Being present – Pay more attention to your senses daily – what do you see, hear, feel, smell and taste? When we practice being present, we’ll be able to apply it to moments of stress and worry, preventing us from overthinking and becoming more anxious.
- Letting go of control – We can only change ourselves, not others. Accept the fact that you can’t control everything and you’ll find yourself happier and grateful without the disappointment that comes with unmet expectations.
- Exploring – Open yourself up to new things, perspectives and ideas to get a better understanding of how other people feel. Breaking out of your routine can also help keep your brain healthy and active.
- Socialising – As a social species, engaging and interacting with others is beneficial to our mental health. Reach out to your family and friends, join an online community, care for others and you’ll care for yourself more.
When it comes to training, whether physical or mental, consistency is key. It won’t always be easy, but by adding these small actions to our daily routines, we’ll be able to achieve our goals of having a stronger mind. Be patient, be kind, and remember that improving your mental fitness will take time.