Whether you are a student, business leader, parent, entrepreneur, Olympic athlete – we all share the need for developing our mental fitness as part of our personal development journey.
Strengthening mental fitness improves our ability to manage stress, make decisions and influence the way we think, behave and feel. This is a core component of Rule 2 in our 10 Rules for Life.
Have you ever noticed how much more clear your mind feels after a long walk? You can improve your mental fitness by creating time for daily muscular meditation – any activity that involves repetitive and rhythmic patterns of movement. Find at least 15 minutes and swim, bike, paddle, walk, run. The goal is to find an activity that allows your brain to relax into the repetitive motion of the activity you choose.
Physical exercise reduces our “stress hormones” – adrenaline and cortisol – and elevates our “feel-good hormones” or endorphins. Incorporating bouts of physical activity into our day strengthens our body’s ability to react, respond and process how we think, feel and behave.
Added bonus? Find an activity to do outside. Moving our bodies while in nature can support an added improvement to the body’s stress response.
Ways to practice mental fitness
- Take a deep breath before an interview, presentation or tough conversation to calm thoughts and train your focus.
- Concentrate on simply listening when you are talking with someone. Focus on hearing what the other person is saying without thinking about what you’ll say next.
- Take a deliberate pause after receiving a challenging email. Too often our behaviors reflect our body’s physical response to conflict or challenge instead of a more cognitive, calm and logical thought process that our brains are capable of when we are feeling “fit.”