"What you think affects how you perform. Training your brain is as important as training your body."
- Gary Mack
Getting Mentally Fit
Being mentally fit means thinking, feeling, and acting in a positive manner to keep you strong, energized, and healthy.
Tips to strengthen your mental muscle:
a. Take time during the day to just breathe and clear your mind. Shut down the technology, the chatter, the thoughts, and expectations. Even if it’s just for a minute. Find a quiet place to breathe and focus.
*Apps like Headspace, Ten Percent, Calm, and Work Mindful are phone apps that can help you to clear your mind as well. Make it a consistent part of your day, be it first thing in the morning, a mid-day break, or at the end of the day.
b. Positive messages, pictures, and quotes. Post messages and quotes on the walls in your room, in your bathroom, in your car, on your locker, and on your phone. The more you see it and think it, the more you will believe it and want it.
c. Read a book. It can be fiction, non-fiction, whatever. Like taking a moment to breathe, reading a book allows you to take a time out during the day. It stimulates imagination and gets you to focus on just one thing at a time. Even if you just read a few pages, just take a timeout to learn and imagine.
d. Get active. Getting active is a stress reliever. Even if it’s as little as taking the stairs each day versus taking the elevator, or parking your car a little further away and walking, just get active! Even better, get your 10,000 steps in, go to the gym, or get outside for some fresh air and sunlight.
e. Eat healthier. Like posting affirmations, surround yourself with healthy food options. The more you surround yourself with healthy food to eat, the more you will likely grab something healthy vs some junk food. This doesn’t mean you have to give up junk food, just balance it out. This can include packing a lunch or cooking a healthy meal a few times a week.
f. Journal. The best listener is you. When you write it down, you can say anything you want, you can get it all out there, vent, and release. It’s the one safe space to say anything. Journaling is a great way to get perspective and relieve stress. By getting it out, you can see what’s upsetting you, where the source of that emotion is coming from, and how to find a solution. In the end, journaling can help you to recognize what triggers you, identify your feelings, work through and create solutions, and to stop ruminating on negative thoughts and feelings. It’s that insight that allows you to learn and to keep moving forward.
g. Practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude each day is a way to increase happiness, manage depression, and to be resilient.
*An app like 365 Gratitude is an app you can take note of what you are grateful for each day.
h. “Friendships are the sweetest influence.” Remember to create time to spend with those who are important to you. We are social creatures, so it’s important to spend time with others. Especially, with those who you care about, and who care about you. Carveout time to meet and build relationships with new people as well. Cultivate and nurture relationships with people who inspire you, care for you, challenge you to be better, and feed your soul.
i. Embrace the boredom. There will be moments when you experience boredom. Whether you happen to be stuck in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store, or just sitting around at home with nothing to do.
Take a moment to just do….nothing.
Boredom is defined as lacking mental stimulation. Boredom doesn’t mean you have nothing to do, it just means that things have slowed down. Let your mind wander and day dream in those moments. It's the act of learning to be patient.
These tips are meant to help enrich your brain, unlike tapping into your phone and social media. Social media is a passive form of stimulation and entertainment that doesn’t tap into what you are passion about, and it doesn't stimulate your creativity and your curiosity. In the end, creating a consistent mental fitness habit will allow you feel better both mentally and physically, thus improving your mind body connection.