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Preventative action is a vital part of looking after your mental health. Here’s some tips on establishing a ‘mental fitness’ routine.
You probably know that your physical health can affect your mental health and wellbeing. But did you know that it also works the other way around? Quite simply, your stress levels, how well you deal with things, and how you feel from day-to-day can significantly affect all aspects of your life — including your physical health. If you’re not feeling quite 100 per cent mentally, then chances your physical health will also be a bit out of shape. That’s where mental fitness comes in.
Many blokes include regular physical exercise as part of their routine, yet they do little to keep their mental health in working order. In fact, looking after yourself mentally is just as important as exercising, eating well, and watching your intake of alcohol, tobacco and other potentially harmful substances.
So what is mental fitness? Basically, it’s another way of taking care of yourself and your mental health. It’s not about training your brain or solving puzzles. Rather, it’s about taking a bit of time out to keep things running smoothly upstairs. Working on your mental fitness builds your inner strength and resilience, preparing you to deal with life’s stresses and difficulties.
In the same way that caring for your body can help prevent disease, so too can looking after ‘head health’ help shield you from life’s worries and stresses.
It’s been thoroughly established that the best way to deal with mental health concerns is to take preventative action to stop them from happening in the first place.
So what does prevention look like? An easy way to take action is to get into a ‘mental fitness’ routine. Here are some great ways to get you started.
A quick break from the busy hustle of daily life can help you adjust, calm down and see things in a better light. It’s remarkably simple and yet it can benefit your mental fitness.
Time spent with the people who are most important to you has been repeatedly shown to benefit your wellbeing. In fact, it’s even thought to contribute to greater life expectancy. Hanging out with ‘our people’ lets you take time out, talk about what’s going on in life, and even vent or just have a good laugh.
Find some space and time to do what you love, whether it’s gaming, handiwork, music or reading. Little things that are enjoyable tend to bring more happiness and satisfaction to life, even if you only get to spend short periods doing them.
Of course, you should consider capping the amount of time and money you spend on your favourite hobbies if they’re expensive or can get just a little bit too addictive. Otherwise, they’re a healthy pursuit.
You’re likely to feel better, build mental fitness and as a bonus, have a regular little slice of ‘me time’ to look forward to.
Mindfulness is getting a lot of press nowadays. It may seem a ‘bit hippy’ but mindfulness is actually an effective technique that can help improve your concentration, memory, general calmness, along with other mental health benefits.
Mindfulness is simply the act of paying attention and focusing on the present moment. Whereas some people find meditation a little tough, mindfulness tends to be easier, as it doesn’t require specific skills.
If you’ve ever exercised in the wild, camped out under the stars, ridden a bike, spent a quiet afternoon fishing or just stared for hours into a campfire, then you’ll know how good the outdoors can be for lifting your spirits.
More research is emerging that supports the benefits of ‘green time’ in treating and preventing conditions like stress, depression and anxiety. In fact, ‘time in nature’ and nature healing is increasingly being recommended by health professionals as a treatment option.
There are many other options to help build mental fitness in your routine. We’ll explore some more of these in greater depth in future, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for more, check out the topics below.
MensLine Australia is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with professional counsellors providing information and support for all emotional health and relationship issues.