Mental Fitness Exercises to Keep Your Mind in Shape
Keep Your Mind in Shape!
Mental fitness can be defined as having and maintaining a state of well-being and cultivating awareness of how we think, feel, and behave. The same way that physical fitness provides us with an increased skillset and awareness, mental fitness helps in the same way. Practicing good mental fitness provides with better capacity for decision making, whether coming from external or internal stimuli and therefore less likely to sustain emotional injury. Mental fitness is the cumulative effect on our emotional health, and it affects us internally as well as those surrounding us. Some benefits of maintaining good mental fitness include:
- Being present
- The ability to respond appropriately
- Improved cognitive function
- Improved relationships
Now, how can you practice and improve mental fitness? The same way you would practice physical fitness: Through exercise! You may be surprised by the things you are and aren’t doing that can boost your mental health. Here are some ways you can practice improving your mental fitness:
Meditation is hands down one of the best forms of mental exercise. Meditation not only reduces the negative effects of the nervous system and allows you to relax, but it also enhances and activates the ‘positive’ nervous system by slowing down your heart rate, controlling your breathing, and maintaining your blood pressure. Mindful meditation also improves connectivity between areas of the brain, improving the ability to focus and concentrate.
Check out these tips for mindful meditation!
- Try Something Different:
Trying new things in different ways can help the brain form new connections as well as maintain current ones. Every time you have a new experience, your brain forms new brain cells. Making changes can be as small as reading a new book, going to a new grocery store, or taking a different route home from work. All of these changes exercise your brain just a little bit more and keep your mental fitness sharp.
- Stay Positive:
The more positive you are, the better your outlook on life will be. Positive thoughts and feelings seem impossible to cultivate on your own, but your brain is much more capable than you think. With practice, you can push away all negative thoughts and feelings and allow yourself to be more confident and content. The best way to practice this is when negative situations occur. Do your best to always try to find the silver lining in any situation, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Practice optimism by being gracious for all of the positives in your life, and see how well it improves your mood.
- Get Physical Exercise:
The mind and body are interconnected. When one is imbalanced, the other feels the effects of that imbalance. Just as mindfulness can relax muscles and ease tension, physical exercise can relax the mind and relieve stress. Exercise can boost both physical and mental energy, and enhance mood through the release of endorphins. To add some additional mindfulness to your workouts try to bring awareness to your feet hitting the ground, the pattern of your breathing, or the rhythm of your heartbeat. By focusing on how it feels to be exercising, you may be able to interrupt the flow of anxiety-inducing thoughts running through your mind.
Just like physical exercise, mental fitness takes time and hard work to see improvements. Be patient with yourself, and find what works best for you.
Learn more about mental health and mindfulness here.
Check out some campus workshops, classes, and events that are dedicated to mindfulness here.