When most people hear the word fitness, the first thing that comes to mind is their physical body. This is because we’ve all been told that maintaining a healthy body can help prevent problems like heart disease and diabetes.
It can also help you remain as independent as possible as you age.
As a result, many people have a regular exercise program to keep their bodies strong.
But what about your mental fitness? What are you doing daily to keep your mind as healthy as possible?
While you may not have thought about it, the state of your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Some would argue that mental fitness is even more important.
So today, let’s examine mental fitness and introduce you to some easy things you can do to maintain your metal health
The importance of mental health
According to Dr. Andrew Miki, the founder of Starling Minds. “Mental fitness is defined as a state of well-being and having a positive sense of how we feel, think, and act.”
The way I see it is mental fitness encompasses your overall outlook, how you feel about yourself, and your attitude towards life.
As you’ve probably witnessed already, happy, optimistic, and resilient people are generally likely to have more positive and healthy relationships. They are also much more likely to lead healthier physical lives as well.
But, just as with physical health, maintaining a healthy mental state takes effort. The good news is there are several simple things you can do to maintain your mental health.
Maintaining your mental health
The CDC tells us that 15% of adults in the U.S. are physically inactive. This lack of physical activity often leads to chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, as well as various forms of cancer, and obesity.
Additionally, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a lack of physical activity impacts your mental health, often resulting in increased feelings of anxiety and depression.
Not getting enough exercise, eating an unhealthy diet and being overweight can all negatively impact your mental health.
So, improving your physical fitness is the first step to taking care of your mental fitness.
Secondly, it’s essential to make time each day to go do something you enjoy. Take a walk outside in the park or on the beach. Watch one of your favorite moves. Read a book you enjoy,
These are all simple thing you can do to brighten your mood, improve your mental fitness, and make you feel happier.
5 Tips to improve your mental fitness
1. Eat well.
Too many of us eat compulsively. This can take a toll on your mental health.
People who just eat anything they can find, rather than watching the fuel they put into their bodies, are more susceptible to depression and anxiety.
Just as many foods help protect your body from disease, eating nutritiously can also help promote your mental fitness and happiness.
To improve your mental fitness, eat healthy foods that fill you up without adding lots of empty calories.
2. Get the right amount of rest for you
When I was younger, people would tell me things like, “Why do you sleep so much? Don’t you know that you only need four hours of sleep per night?”
I tried that for a while, and I can tell you that four hours doesn’t work for me.
While many people, like the ones above, believe that sleep is a waste of time, it’s one of the few times where your body can recharge itself.
So, what is enough sleep? The CDC tell us that we should sleep at least seven hours every night, but you might need more, depending on your unique body needs.
Because you want to get the most from every day, try to go to bed as early as possible.
If you don’t have the habit of getting enough rest each night right now, start small. For example, get into bed a half hour earlier.
You can also get more rest by reducing the amount of time you play video games or watch TV. You might be surprised just how much your mental fitness improves by doing this one thing.
3. Take care of yourself
Are you one of those people who only pays attention to your health when you’re sick?
This is a recipe for disaster!
Instead, begin forming the habit of listening to your body.
If a part of your body hurts or doesn’t feel right for a few days, schedule an appointment with your health care provider.
Also, stay away from people with unhealthy attitudes. You don’t want to be around people who are a negative influence any more than necessary.
While it may be tempting to hang out with people who stress you out, this will eventually make you feel miserable. To improve your mental fitness, spend time with happy, positive people who like and respect you for who you are.
4. Mental fitness starts with following a regular exercise routine.
Exercise should not be a choice for you. It should be a commitment.
In addition to helping you stay you fit and healthy, exercise will boost your mood and improve your energy levels.
While it strengthens your physical body, exercise also reduces stress and helps you feel happier. Tai Chi, yoga, swimming, and jogging are examples of exercises that will also help reduce your stress while keeping your mind in shape.
5. Practice mindfulness
A vital part of mental fitness is being able to stay focused on what’s important in your life. The purpose of mindfulness is to pay attention to the here and now. This helps you develop your focus.
Practicing mindfulness also gives you more awareness of your emotions. This helps you figure out how they make you feel and their effects on you. You can use this information to better control them.
Another excellent benefit of practicing mindfulness is it helps you calm your mind, and as a result, your body. Again, this not only helps you stay mentally fit but physically fit as well.
Use mental fitness to develop your happiness
Studies show that physical activity and mental wellness can benefit your mind, body, and spirit while improving your overall well-being.
Physical activity helps release endorphins, which make you feel happy and energized. Because exercise releases endorphins, you may not feel as stressed or anxious. It can also help reduce the risk of depression.
Practicing mental fitness will help keep your mind active and limber for your entire life.
And, as you’ve already discovered, it helps improve your physical health as well.
The bottom line is, practicing these five tips can – and will – make you enjoy life more and feel happier.