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Mental Fitness - What is it, and Ways to Work it out

The mental health community is an every growing, ever changing world - and with new knowledge, comes new terminology. "Mental fitness" is one of those terms - essentially, the intentional and deliberate effort to take care of your mental health. This helps you have and maintain an overall state of wellbeing, all while cultivating awareness of how we think, feel and behave. There are four main categories of mental fitness, each adhering to a particular aspect of importance in our overall mental wellbeing.

1) Emotional: Emotional wellbeing is, of course, extremely important to your mental health! The Emotional category includes self-acceptance, self-esteem, resilience, and the ability to manage strong emotions and stress. Knowing your capabilities, and knowing you can trust yourself to act on them accordingly, is extremely important to emotional wellbeing.

2) Social: Social health is another key component of overall mental wellbeing and mental fitness. Your friends are important! Friends remind us that we are not alone, give us a break from the monotony, and hold close positive emotional bonds with us. Strengthening your friendships and making sure to spend time with the people you love can boost your morale! Friends and loved ones provide companionship and support - and often, people who have strong social networks are both physically and emotionally healthier, leading to a better quality of life.

3) Financial: Financial health matters for everyone. In today's capitalist society, money talks the loudest. Because of this, money related stress has been experienced by most of us at some point! But Financial wellness isn't about hitting a certain financial goal, or having a particular amount of money - it's about feeling in control of your finances, being capable of handling potential financial setbacks (blown tire, broken windshield, hospital visit, etc), and being on track to achieve personal life goals we've set for ourselves financially (i.e, own a house).

4) Physical: Physical health speaks directly to your mental health, and are completely intertwined. The effect that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep can have on a person is astronomical! Promoting our own physical health also helps us reduce our risks of developing long term chronic illnesses - such as diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular disease.

So how do we work on our Mental Fitness? A common practice is participating in Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the active practice of keeping a in-the-moment perspective of your emotions, thoughts, feeling, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment, but looking at it through a gentle and nurturing lens. It also includes acceptance, where we look at our thoughts and feelings as they happen without a perspective of a 'right' or 'wrong' way to feel. Just because we see and acknowledge our emotions, doesn't mean we have to act out on them!

Other means of mental fitness include physical exercise (we love a healthy endorphin release!), as well as self-care activities - spending time outside, eating a healthy meal, sitting in the sun and just enjoying the world around you. Heck, as long as your financial health won't take a hit - you could even go 'Treat Yo Self' style!

Taking the time out of your day to think about your own mental fitness and wellbeing is important. It can be as easy as wearing your favorite chap-stick and blasting your favorite song, getting in a walk around lunch at the park nearby, or getting together with friends to bolster your social connections!


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