16 May 2 Actions you can take right Now to Build your Mental Fitness
How is your mental fitness? It may not be as easy to recognize mental fitness as physical fitness.
It’s very obvious when you’re seeing physical fitness right? When you see someone who is in shape they have: abs, a tight body, and they may have this energy and this glow about them. Physical fitness is very obvious.
Similarly, the same could be said for poor physical fitness when someone is really overweight and heavy, and you see them carrying a lot more mass than they really should be or they are huffing and puffing and sweating and those kinds of signs of lack of physical fitness.
What’s interesting though is how’s your mental fitness? Let’s go back to physical fitness for a second. Think about someone in a mall and they are walking through the mall and they see the escalator. All of a sudden the escalator goes down and their physical fitness isn’t where it’s supposed to be, what happens? Major trauma, right!?! They have to walk up a flight of stairs, experiencing heart palpitations, sweating, legs burning. All because they’re not physically fit. Well, the same analogy applies to mental fitness.
What happens when you get a bad report from your boss? What happens when you get bad news from the government for taxes? Or what happens when you lose your job? Or you lose business? Or a sudden illness in your body? How do you handle that? There are so many other scenarios where these things happen, does it totally debilitate you? Shut you down to the point where you can’t think. Or do you have this thing called “Emotional Eating.” You’ve got to drink and eat all kinds of junk and binge watch Netflix. You know what I mean?
Mental fitness is so important because how do you handle that escalator going down mentally? I started thinking about how I use to be a personal trainer. So, if you came to see me as a personal trainer regarding physical fitness I’d say, “Okay, yeah, yeah, we’ll do some squats, we’ll do the treadmill, yada, yada, yada” Boom, physical fitness handled no problem.
What do you do for mental fitness? How do you improve that?
Well, one quick way is this. You hear about gratitude journals all the time. So every night you put down what you’re grateful for. To me, it was always a corny practice. I’m grateful for breathing. I’m grateful for walking, etc. It seemed so corny. But what we’re finding out with positive psychology and neuroscience is every night if you write down three things you’re grateful for, it starts to retrain your brain to look for the good in your world. Training your mental fitness.
So instead of seeing that lay off as a bad thing, your mind will gradually start looking for what’s good about this. The first thing to do to build mental fitness is, every night write in a gratitude journal three things that were good about that day.
The second thing you can do is start to change your self-talk. Again another corny practice that I thought was just so cheesy. Thinking of Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale and all these old guys saying “As you speak, so you become.” I used to make fun of these practices by saying; “ oh ya, I want a Lamborghini, and I don’t see it.” I don’t mean to be facetious here but understand this, when I’m coaching my clients, I train them and I say “You need to have your brain creating a positive automatic response when challenging things are happening to you.”
So, let’s say someone gives you really harsh criticism. When you improve your self-talk, the first thing to instantly hit your mind is “It’s not true, I’m better than this.” You want to get yourself saying that on a regular basis. Speak that which you wish to become. So, when you experience that mental tension, automatically the good stuff comes out.
Here are some examples of things you might say to yourself during challenging times. It could be a layoff, “New job is coming.” It could be a breakup, “Great I’m going to find the perfect girl for me or the perfect man for me,” You have a phrase or a trigger that fires off when the tension happens. As you improve your self-talk, you’ll improve yourself mentally. Does that make sense?
So two things you can do first, a gratitude journal, do it, every night. Write down three things that felt great about your life that day. The second thing is, improve your self-talk. Do those two things and you’ll find a way to win.