You may have seen Sarah’s recent recipe… but this piece truly reflects her expertise and career path. Therapy. We hope you enjoy! (Ps ignore if you find a typo… we’re both dyslexic so it’s like the blind leading the blind)
How do you measure your fitness? What about maintaining it? How do you check in with yourself that you are were you want to be? By your endurance, diet, strength, weight or stamina? What about your mental fitness? I appreciate I have posed a few questions but stay with me, because well-being isn’t just about your physical health! I believe health and well-being are synonymous, working in perfect harmony. Or they should anyway.
I can’t help but wonder why we are all so aware and open about talking and reflecting on how we look after ourselves in terms of our physical health, but never our mental wellbeing.
To be being mentally fit means being psychologically flexible and emotionally regulated. That means feeling that you can manage in times of stress, and your mood being fairly stable on an average day.
I believe that acknowledging, recognising, challenging and talking about emotions all position themselves under the umbrella of being ‘mentally fit’. I view mental health as something that we all have, it’s on a spectrum that’s constantly changes moment to moment, responding to things like our external environment, the people around us and even the weather. It should be viewed as something fluid, and also something we can have control over and should be looked after and maintained. Just like our physical health.
How to spot when we need some emotional maintenance?
To name a few: being irritable, sleep difficulties, finding it difficult to relax. I always notice when my mental fitness isn’t in the place I want it to be because I feel complacent and bored.
How do I manage it?
I’ve learnt to manage it by trying new things, sometimes that means trying something completely new to me, like rock climbing, or building on an existing hobby, like attempting to run further. I’ve noticed it gives me a sense of achievement, which in turn increases my mood and re-motivates me to achieve my fitness goals.
With mental health we have a bad habit of only recognising and thinking of it when we’re struggling, which means it can become over whelming. We need to work on maintaining a healthy overall wellbeing within ourselves, recognising and checking in with ourselves when times are good, thinking on what it is in our lives that is making us feel good. Allowing us to use it as a tool when we need it.
What’s key… self-awareness of how you feel, reflecting on why you may feel like that and working out how you can impact it in a positive way is one of the most important psychological skills someone can have.
It’s not just about your mood having an impact on your physical health. It works vice versa, the mental health foundation states that exercise of any kind influences the release and uptake of feel-good chemicals, known as seratonin endorphins, in the brain. They claim that even a brisk burst of walking can increase mental alertness, energy and positive mood. So basically it’s a cycle of wellbeing? I guess when it comes down to it, it’s about transferring skills. Just like you monitor your
ability at the gym to improve your physical health, monitor your mood to improve your mental health. Working in perfect harmony to give you a positive sense of wellbeing.
Points to take away? Spend some time reflecting on your mental fitness, and what makes you feel happier. Think of your mental fitness as something ever changing, but that you can have some control over. And recognise mental and physical health as a unity of your overall wellbeing.
Love and Light
Please feel free to comment and/or share with your friends. And take some of the advice from above and continue on the journey of a better living style.