Your mind is always one step ahead of the body.
Building your mental health is as important to you as building your speed, strength and stamina! It is your mind that will give you the orders to your body to find that extra last burst of energy in every situation. And having sound mental health has become more important during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever before.
So how do you build your mental fitness? How do you reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and mental fatigue while most of you continue to stay home? We spoke to Ms Seema Agarwal, a consulting psychologist at Practo to learn more about how to build your mental strength and she gave us 7 ways to achieving a fit mind!
1. Establish Goals
The human brain is naturally predisposed to reach for and achieve goals, both short-term and long-term.
With each goal you achieve, you'll gain more confidence in your ability to succeed. You'll also learn to recognise when your goals are unrealistically ambitious and when they're not challenging enough.
2. Set Yourself Up For Success
Becoming mentally strong doesn't mean you have to subject yourself to temptations every day. make your life a little easier by modifying the environment.
If you want to work out in the morning, leave your shoes next to the bed at night and sleep in your gym clothes. If you want to eat healthier, remove the junk food from your pantry. When you set yourself up for success, you won't exhaust your mental energy trying to resist the urge to sleep in or dig into a bag of potato chips.
3. Tolerate Discomfort For A Greater Purpose
Discomfort can lead people to look for unhealthy shortcuts. Rather than dealing with a problem, they reach for something that provides immediate emotional relief—drinking a glass of wine or binge-watching their favourite show, for example. But those short-term solutions can often create bigger long-term problems.
Practice tolerating discomfort by reminding yourself of the bigger picture. Continue to work from home even though you are tempted to step out and go to the office, push yourself to start working out every day even when you have a lot of workload—just don't escape the discomfort. The more you tolerate discomfort, the more confidence you'll have in your ability to do difficult things and to get through difficult times.
4. Reframe Your Negative Thoughts
Strive to develop a realistic yet optimistic inner monologue. Reframe catastrophic thoughts, such as 'The coronavirus disease will never end’ with ‘We all can fight the virus together with the right precautions.'
You can’t eliminate all of your negative thoughts. Everyone has rough patches and bad days. But by replacing those overly pessimistic thoughts with more realistic expectations, you can stay on course.
5. Balance Your Emotions With Logic
You make the best decisions when your emotions and logic are in sync.
Always consider the balance between your emotions and logic. If you’re overly excited or especially anxious, write down a list of the pros and cons of moving forward with the decision. Reviewing that list will boost the logical part of your brain and help balance out your emotions.
6. Do Something That You Love Every Day
All of us have a hobby that we would have kept on the back burner. It's the best time to re-look into that. Spend one hour at least to immerse yourself in the hobby. This can enhance your personal value and make you feel good about yourself.
7. Use The 10-Minute Rule
Mental strength won’t magically make you feel motivated all of the time. But it can help you be productive, even when you don’t feel like it.
When you’re tempted to put off something, use the 10-minute rule. When you eye the couch at the time you planned to go for a run, tell yourself to get moving for just 10 minutes. If your mind is still fighting your body after 10 minutes, give yourself permission to quit.
Getting started is often the hardest part. Once you take the first step, you’ll realize it’s not nearly as bad as you predicted, and your other skills can help keep you going.
Lastly, Seema says,
The Covid-19 pandemic is an uncertain situation. We all are anxious about the future, our jobs, and our finances; which is absolutely normal. Taking time out to build mental strength is a necessity and seeking professional help, if needed, is not shameful!
Stay strong, stay fit!