Friends Don’t Let Friends Skip Brain Day – Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Your Mental Fitness
We’re no strangers to conversations about mental health. Arguably amplified by the pandemic, mental health has been a topic at virtually every conference or educational that I’ve been to over the past five years. While we can all agree that mental health is important, I recently became acquainted with another concept – the idea of mental fitness. These two concepts, mental health and mental fitness, while related, address different aspects of our psychological well-being.
While mental health focuses on the overall well-being of our minds, mental fitness is the concept of actively and intentionally working to improve and maintain your mind’s capabilities. It’s similar to physical fitness, but for your brain. Mental fitness involves working to build mental strength, resilience, and agility, and can include:
the ability to adapt to new information and circumstances,
recognizing, understanding, and managing your own emotions and the emotions of others,
practicing present-moment awareness to enhance focus and reduce stress,
developing strategies to tackle challenges and find creative solutions; and
continuously seeking knowledge and personal growth.
Of course, mental health and mental fitness are not isolated concepts. A solid foundation of mental health provides the stability needed to work on your mental fitness. Think about it like building up your cardio fitness before trying a challenging hike or longer than normal run route. Similarly, enhancing mental fitness can contribute positively to mental health. They are interconnected in multiple ways, including:
mental fitness practices, such as mindfulness and cognitive flexibility, can bolster your resilience to handle stress and adversity, promoting good mental health,
by improving emotional intelligence through mental fitness, you gain a better understanding of your emotions, which can help manage your mental health more effectively,
strong problem-solving skills acquired through mental fitness can be invaluable when facing mental health challenges; and
A commitment to mental fitness often includes the pursuit of knowledge and skills that can positively impact your mental health, such as stress management techniques and coping strategies.
As we all continue pursue healthy, happy, and balanced lives, it’s important to consider both mental health and mental fitness and to understand how they are closely related.
Ironically enough (or not), the key components of mental fitness seem to have a direct link with the key components of personal and professional success. So – the next time you finish a physical workout, consider scheduling a mental workout too – and see how it has the power to contribute to your overall wellbeing.
About the Author
Alexa is the Director of Marketing at Harper Grey. She serves as the Treasurer of LiL and is also a member of LiL’s Marketing Committee and Strategic Planning Committee where she assists with content development, event organization and all other things LiL! She is active in the legal community and is a Board of Directors Member and Past President of the BC Legal Management Association (BCLMA). Passionate about mentorship and inclusion, Alexa is keen to expand the association’s membership to include the next generation of legal leaders in BC.