16 NovTweaking Your Routine to Train Your Mental Fitness

As discussed in our previous blogs, there are many definitions for mental fitness, but in a nutshell mental fitness is achieving a state of well-being, and becoming aware of how we think, act and feel in order to build up our resilience to stress. 

It’s easy to fall into a pattern of negative thoughts, and when we have these thoughts frequently, the neural pathways in our brain become strengthened so we’re more likely to adopt this negative perspective. The great thing is that our brain can establish new and stronger positive neural pathways. Achieving this requires us to: 

  1. Recognize the negative thoughts/ behaviors 
  2. Adopt strategies to manage these feelings
  3. Overcome these thoughts & behaviors and replace them with positive ones 

      And repeat! The more we practice this, the stronger our positive neural pathways will become 

      As we become aware of our reactions to certain situations, we build up our ability to regulate these reactions. This means that rather than our brains going into autopilot when something inconveniences our day and driving us down the path of pessimism, we have the power to stop and choose how we are going to react. This allows us to put a stop to the negative waterfall effect and learn how to prevent small inconveniences from impacting our entire day. 

      So how can we train our brain?  

      • Practicing mindfulness teaches us to stop, observe our current situation thoughtfully and without judgement, and take the reaction path that we choose. 
      • Exercise! Staying physically fit has so many benefits for our health, but it also does wonders for the mind. Low physical activity levels have been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety, so make the most of exercise’s FREE stress relieving benefits and take a walk in nature. Find out more in our last blog.
      • Journaling- sometimes it can be daunting knowing where to start with journaling, but the important part is getting started. Here are some prompts you may find helpful: writing about your day and how certain things made you feel, writing down a nice affirmation or quote that you have heard and why it resonates with you, or even just writing down 1 thing your grateful for that day. Become aware of how situations have made you feel, rather than letting them pass by unnoticed.  

       

      It’s easy to forget that we have power over our thoughts, and our conscious mind is strong enough to influence our reactions and consequently our wellbeing. 

      Sometimes all it takes is 5 seconds to stop, take a step back, think, then choose how we want to react. 

       

      Keely MacLean 

      Clinical Exercise Physiology student