The Importance of Mental Fitness: Tips and Techniques to Improve Your Well-Being
Mental health gets plenty of attention, and for good reason. But mental fitness doesn’t always make headlines.
Just as physical fitness is important for your overall physical and mental health, so is mental fitness.
So keep reading to learn more about mental fitness and its importance and to discover tips and techniques that can help you reap the benefits of a sharper mind.
Mental Fitness vs. Mental Health: What's the Difference?
Mental fitness is often confused with mental health. While they are related, they have distinct meanings.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health refers to your overall emotional, psychological, and social well-being, which includes things like emotional stability, outlook on life, and the ability to form positive relationships. It's important to prioritize your mental health in your daily life through practices like self-care and mindfulness meditation, and it's also important to seek professional support when needed.
What is Mental Fitness?
Mental fitness refers to your ability to handle and grow from challenges, as well as your capacity to improve and sustain your own state of well-being.
Understanding the Relationship Between Mental Health and Mental Fitness
Here are a couple of examples of how mental health and mental fitness relate to one another:
- Mental fitness can help you navigate major life changes, such as starting a new job or moving to a new city, without harming your overall mental health.
- When your mental health suffers due to a difficult situation, such as a conflict with a family member, your mental fitness can help you resolve the issue and regain a sense of well-being.
By taking care of your mental health and proactively strengthening your mental fitness, you can improve your overall well-being and better handle the ups and downs of life.
The Benefits of Mental Fitness
Incorporating mental fitness into your daily routine can help you reap the benefits of improved well-being and increased resilience for years to come. That’s because when you have good mental fitness, you’re better equipped to improve your overall well-being and increase your ability to bounce back from challenges and setbacks.
Here's a little more information on a few of the primary benefits of strong mental fitness:
1. Improved Well-Being
When you are mentally fit, you’re better equipped to handle stress, maintain positive relationships, and be productive at work. This can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.
But don’t just take it from us: Studies have shown a strong correlation between mental fitness and overall well-being. In fact, individuals with higher levels of mental fitness reported greater life satisfaction and happiness and lower levels of depression and anxiety.
2. Increased Resilience
Additionally, when you prioritize your mental health, you’re better able to bounce back from adversity without letting it affect your mental health. This can help you navigate difficult situations with greater ease and maintain your overall well-being.
For example, individuals with good mental fitness are better equipped to cope with feelings of grief, anxiety, or depression after major life setbacks, such as job loss or the death of a loved one, than people with weaker mental fitness. They may be more likely to seek support from loved ones or mental health professionals or engage in self-care activities such as exercise or journaling, which can help them maintain a positive outlook on the future.
3. Stronger Growth Mindset
Additionally, mental fitness can help you develop and maintain a growth mindset, which is the belief that you can learn and grow from challenges and setbacks rather than viewing them as roadblocks. Individuals with a growth mindset may be more likely to seek out new challenges or take risks, knowing that they have the mental resilience to handle any potential setbacks, and this helps them learn and grow faster than their peers who have a more fixed mindset.
3 Techniques to Improve Mental Fitness
There are several actionable techniques you can use to improve your mental fitness, including mindfulness meditation, stress management, and healthy habits.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation can improve your mental fitness by helping you calm your mind and become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. It involves paying attention to the present moment, without judgment.
To incorporate mindfulness meditation into your daily routine, try setting aside 5-10 minutes for it each day to start. You can use a guided meditation resource like the Balance app or try other mindfulness exercises to assist in your practice.
2. Stress Management
When you're stressed, it can be hard to think clearly or effectively solve problems. So by decreasing your stress levels, you can increase your ability to strengthen your mental fitness by freeing up that brain space.
To start, you can try simple stress management techniques, like deep breathing exercises, physical exercises, and time management strategies.
3. Healthy Habits
Healthy habits can also help you improve your mental fitness by supporting overall brain health.
Examples of healthy habits include getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day. You can also train your brain daily with an app like Elevate to help keep your cognitive skills sharp.
Mental Fitness and Self-Care
Prioritizing your mental fitness is just as important as prioritizing your physical fitness, so it's important to make mental fitness part of your overall self-care routine.
The Importance of Self-Care
At its core, self-care involves taking intentional actions to care for your physical, emotional, and mental health. Self-care can also help you build resilience and better cope with challenges when they arise—in other words, it can help you strengthen your mental fitness when you make certain activities a priority.
Incorporating Mental Fitness into Your Self-Care Routine
Here are some examples of ways you can incorporate and prioritize mental fitness activities in your self-care routine:
- Practice mindfulness meditation or breathing exercises
- Play brain games or crossword puzzles
- Engage in physical activities, such as going for a walk or practicing yoga
- Pursue hobbies or interests that bring you joy and fulfillment
- Spend time with loved ones or pets
- Journal or write down your thoughts and feelings
- Set boundaries around work or technology use
It's important to remember that self-care—and mental fitness—can look different for everyone, so take the time to identify what works best for you, and then create a personal mental fitness plan.
How to Build A Mental Fitness Plan
Ready to identify your goals and create your mental fitness plan?
Identify Your Goals
The first step toward improving your mental fitness is identifying your mental fitness goals.
Examples of mental fitness goals include:
- Leveling up your cognitive skills
- Reducing your stress
- Improving your emotional regulation
- Increasing your resilience
- Building your self-esteem and self-confidence
- Improving your relationships with others
- Developing a growth mindset
To set achievable mental fitness goals, it's important to start by identifying areas of your life that you’d like to improve. Consider what's most important to you, and then prioritize those areas.
Create an Action Plan
Once you set your mental fitness goals, then you can create an action plan to help achieve them. An action plan involves breaking down the goals you just identified into smaller, more manageable steps.
For example, if your goal is to reduce your stress, some smaller steps you could take might include:
- Practicing mindfulness meditation for 10 minutes a day
- Taking a 10-minute walk during your lunch break
- Limiting screen time before bed to improve your sleep quality
Once you have identified these smaller steps, create a schedule or timeline for when you will complete each step. This can help you stay on track and make progress toward your overall goal. Additionally, consider using tools such as a planner or journal to keep track of your progress and identify any obstacles that may be preventing you from reaching your goals.
There are many tools and resources available to help you create and stick to your mental fitness plan. Some examples include:
- Mental health apps that provide guided meditation and mindfulness exercises
- Online support groups or forums where you can connect with others who are working toward similar goals
- Mental health professionals such as therapists or counselors who can provide extra guidance and support in achieving your mental fitness goals
Start Improving Your Mental Fitness Today
Mental fitness is an important part of your overall well-being. By incorporating a few techniques and self-care activities into your daily life, you’ll be well on your way to greatly improving your mental fitness—and therefore, greatly improving your mental health, too.
As mentioned earlier, you can also consider making brain training a daily habit to help stay sharp and improve your mental fitness. With the Elevate brain training app, you’ll get personalized brain training workouts, plus 40+ games backed by science and designed to improve your vocabulary, mental math, memory skills, and more.
- Do you ever struggle to remember a name or date you should know? That’s called memory block. Read on to learn how to overcome that.
- Training cognitive skills can improve brain function. Think of it like a workout for your mind. Read on to learn how brain games can help.
- Discover the benefits of brain games, which are an effective way to keep your mind sharp and active.