We have come a long way since even the suggestion of a mental wellness problem was a taboo subject. It would be talked about in hushed tones and the term was taken to mean that there’s something fundamentally wrong with us.
We would never judge or perceive physical health problems in the same way, people tend to be far more sympathetic and understanding. Fortunately, we live in more enlightened times but even now, do we prioritise physical fitness and mental fitness in the same way?
If we want to get fit for a sporting fixture, we train, exercise, perhaps go to the gym. We train and practice. We want to be in great physical shape in order to perform well and compete at our best. We want to help our team win. So it should be with our mental wellness in the workplace.
If we want to perform at our best then from time to time we might need to dedicate time for a little training, help and support.
If we want to perform at our best then from time to time we might need to dedicate time for a little training, help and support. There are so many influencing factors that can drag us down, distract us, and affect our mood – both inside and outside of work. Sometimes this is purely temporary, we all have our bad days after all. But sometimes there can be problems that are more serious.
We might not be ill in the clinical sense of the word, but nor are we fit either. Being able to recognise changes in ourselves and others, and understand the underlying causes is key to helping us to get back on top.
When we’re feeling motivated, well-adjusted and positive, we enjoy work more and are well-placed to perform to the best of our abilities.
Our self-esteem rises, our output improves and our colleagues benefit. But as with physical fitness, the route to good mental well-being often isn’t a quick fix, it needs to be understood and maintained with regular monitoring and, if necessary, action.
What is Mental Fitness?
But before we dig deeper, let’s start with a definition so we’re all on the same page. Mental fitness means or refers to a person’s ability to think clearly, make decisions efficiently, and maintain a positive sense of well-being. It is similar to physical fitness in that it relates to the body’s ability to function.
Mental fitness can be thought of as a state of mind that allows an individual to stay calm, focused, and motivated during difficult times, while also remaining flexible and adaptable to change. It involves developing a healthy relationship with oneself and others, as well as having the capacity to learn and grow from both positive and negative experiences. If you are struggling, you may not be able to accomplish routine tasks in daily life and also have overwhelming emotions.
Mental fitness is not a fixed trait, but rather a dynamic state that can be cultivated and enhanced through various activities such as exercise, mindfulness, self-reflection, and seeking support from mental well-being professionals when needed.
Emotional Health: What Is It?
One key component of mental fitness to be aware of is emotional health. It involves your knowledge of and capacity for managing both happy and negative emotions. Those who are emotionally stable have effective coping mechanisms for unpleasant feelings, and they also know when to ask a professional for assistance for their emotional health.
How Do You Improve Mental Fitness?
There are several ways to improve mental fitness, including playing games, meditating, eating for your brain, telling good stories, turning off your television, exercising your body and mind, trying a new hobby or skill, taking your knowledge further.
Like all good things, practice makes perfect, which is why mental fitness training is so important.
These activities can help you build mental resilience and improve cognitive function. You can start by incorporating these activities into your daily routine. Here’s a breakdown of how each one helps further:
Playing Games to Improve Mental Fitness
A fun and interesting technique to increase mental fitness is by playing games. Cognitive abilities like attention, memory, and problem-solving can all be enhanced by it. The ability to make decisions and increase mental flexibility can both be improved by playing games that require strategy or critical thought.
Meditation to Improve Mental Fitness
A strong tool for enhancing mental wellness is meditation. It can aid in lowering stress and anxiety, enhancing focus and attention, and fostering emotional wellbeing. Frequent meditation practices can also aid in boosting emotions of inner calm and tranquillity as well as self-awareness.
Eating For Your Brain to Improve Mental Fitness
Our mental health can be significantly impacted by the food we eat. The necessary elements our brain needs to function at its best can be obtained through a balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Meals high in sugar, bad fats, and processed components can be detrimental to mental wellness and raise the risk of mood disorders like sadness and anxiety.
Telling Good Stories to Improve Mental Fitness
By fostering social skills and emotional intelligence, telling stories can be a terrific method to increase mental fitness. Sharing personal experiences can improve relationships, increase empathy, and provide a sense of belonging.
Turning Off Your TV to Improve Mental Fitness
Too much television viewing can be bad for your mental health. Spending too much time in front of a screen can cause feelings of loneliness, shorten attention spans, and mess up sleep cycles.
Disconnecting from television and doing more conscious things like reading, talking to people, or exercising can help with mental clarity and general wellbeing.
Exercising to Improve Mental Fitness
Exercise is recognised to enhance physical health, but it can also have important advantages for mental wellness. Endorphins are released during exercise, and they help elevate mood and lessen stress and anxiety.
Exercise can enhance memory and attention span as well as other cognitive abilities. Moreover, doing mental exercises like crossword puzzles, puzzles, or learning a new language helps enhance mental flexibility and cognitive efficiency. All of these should ensure you reduce blood pressure and have a great relaxation technique after the fact, as well as more positive emotions.
Trying a New Hobby to Improve Mental Fitness
By encouraging creativity and enhancing self-confidence, trying new things can help you stay mentally fit. A sense of success and an opportunity for personal growth and development might result from picking up a new hobby or talent, whether that be physical exercise or mental exercises. Both will improve your self esteem and create positive emotions.
Advancing Your Knowledge to Improve Mental Fitness
On the topic of positive emotions. By encouraging mental agility and boosting cognitive function, lifelong learning and knowledge expansion can help people become more mentally healthy.
Essentially opening up them neural pathways to improve memory and cognitive function. Reading, taking classes, or going to seminars can all help you learn new things and have a better grasp on difficult concepts. Continuous learning can also encourage a sense of fulfilment and purpose, which can enhance general wellbeing by again, opening up those neural pathways.
Why is It Hard to Improve Your Mental Fitness?
Many people have mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and stress, which can make it challenging to develop constructive attitudes and behaviours. In addition, social pressures and stigma associated with mental health might make it difficult to get help and access resources.
Nonetheless, despite these difficulties, improving mental fitness is necessary for general wellbeing and may be done by making a conscious effort and a commitment to taking care of oneself.
4 Key Reason Why Improving Mental Fitness is Tough
1. Psychological Obstacles:
In order to develop mental fitness, a person must have a thorough grasp of themselves, including their areas of strength and weakness. Unfortunately, many people might be having a hard time becoming conscious of their own unfavourable patterns or behaviours, which can be harmful to their mental well-being.
Moreover, mental health conditions like despair and anxiety can make it difficult to maintain beneficial habits, creating a vicious cycle of unfavourable thoughts and actions.
2. Social stigma:
Despite increased awareness of mental health issues, societal stigma associated with mental illness can still make it difficult for people to get the help and services they need.
This might make it difficult for people to freely discuss their mental well-being or get help from a professional, which can cause feelings of loneliness and humiliation.
3. Lifestyle Factors:
A person’s mental well-being can be significantly impacted by lifestyle variables like nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Yet, developing healthy habits needs work and dedication, which can be difficult for many people who have hectic schedules or suffer socioeconomic obstacles.
4. Lack of Resources:
Those who may not have the financial means or access to these services may find it difficult to access mental health resources like therapy, support groups, or mindfulness programmes. It may be challenging to get the help and resources you need to improve your mental fitness as a result.
The Objective Position Against Mental Fitness
Here at Gallantium, in all our publishing we are working to share counter positions for your viewing, based on objective viewpoints. Our arguments are supported by data and research that is based on the evidence, and there is no unbiased argument against people putting more emphasis on their mental fitness.
We literally can’t find a counter argument anywhere. In fact, mental fitness is crucial to overall well-being and can have a significant impact on physical health, relationships, and overall quality of life.
It is crucial to remember that improving mental fitness does not require a one-size-fits-all strategy and may call for various tactics and ideas for various people. Additionally, it is important to seek support from mental well-being professionals when needed and to address any underlying mental health conditions.
The HSE report (16 Dec 2021) into work-related stress, depression or anxiety estimated that there were 822,000 workers affected by the conditions in the previous year. That represents 2,480 people per 100,000 workers. It’s not currently a legal requirement to do so, but offering support for the better mental wellness of employees is definitely recommended. Thankfully, mental well-being awareness, or fitness, is more widely recognised and in the UK some 60% of organisations have taken some measures to support their employees.
Improving mental fitness across a workforce requires investment, although in practice this is not merely a financial consideration. Expert support programmes should certainly be part of the mix, and delivered in the same way that we support physical health and safety.
However, by understanding and embedding mental fitness best practice into management skills and techniques we can help to sharpen the organisation’s evolving culture. This then is also part of the required investment.
Any organisation that can keep awareness of good mental well-being on the agenda all year round is taking an important active step towards supporting a healthy, happy and motivated workforce. Absenteeism falls, creativity flourishes and performance improves.
Devoting a little time to instil understanding and nurture a culture of good mental fitness across an organisation is surely one of the easiest and most impactful steps any leadership team can take.
Further Reading on Mental Fitness
As part of this research for this article, and beyond the citations listed directly below, if you want to learn more about mental fitness we recommend the following sources:
Mind is a mental health charity in the UK that conducts research on mental health in the workplace and provides resources and support for employers and employees.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – HSE is a UK government agency responsible for promoting health and safety in the workplace. They conduct research on a variety of workplace health and safety topics, including mental health.
Institute for Employment Studies (IES) – IES is a UK-based research and consultancy organisation that specialises in workplace issues, including employee well-being and mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation – The Mental Health Foundation is a UK-based charity that conducts research on mental wellness and provides resources and support for individuals and organisations.
These organisations may have relevant data sources on the impact of mental fitness in the workplace.
- Physical and mental fitness | Mental health – ReachOut Schools
- What Is Mental Fitness? A How-To for Exercising Your Brain
- Mental Fitness Explained by a CBT Psychologist – Starling Minds
- The Importance of Mental Fitness – Healthline
- What is mental fitness? Learn how to exercise your brain
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- Exercising Your Brain: 6 Ways to Build Mental Fitness
- Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Brain Fitness – Verywell Mind
- Five Ways to Train Your Brain for Lifelong Mental Fitness
- What Is Mental Fitness? A How-To for Exercising Your Brain
- Ten Ways To Improve Your Mental Fitness – WG Psychology