How to Be Mentally and Emotionally Fit
By Ryan Pell
What’s your goal for 2020?
Get the education you want?
Open your own business?
These plans are very ambitious. But such endeavors can also turn out to be very energy-consuming. And if you are not emotionally and mentally fit, you’ll soon feel completely drained.
So, before you embark on the journey to achieve your goals, ask yourself this question:
‘Am I mentally and emotionally fit for the journey ahead?’
You might have all the knowledge and experience in the world to achieve your goals. But if you’re not mentally and emotionally prepared for this journey, you won’t have the tools to follow through.
In this article, we want to inspire you to put your mental and emotional well-being first. But before we get to the practical part, let’s get rid of one question that may confuse you.
Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Fitness?
Commonly, working on becoming mentally and emotionally fit means that you develop your emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence, however, is just a set of ideas that, in theory, could help you become mentally and emotionally fit. These ideas will give you the motivation you need, but this motivation is short-lived.
You need something more productive. You need action.
That’s why, when talking about becoming mentally and emotionally fit, we imply emotional fitness rather than emotional intelligence.
Let’s say you want to have strong arms and back. What do you do? You start exercising to become more physically fit.
The same concept works with emotional fitness. To become more mentally and emotionally fit, you need to follow a set of exercises (actions) that will, in their turn, motivate you to achieve your goals.
What are the most effective exercises for emotional fitness?
Let’s take a look.
Mindful Meditation to Switch Focus
Mindfulness is probably one of the trendiest words on the Internet right now. But it’s not just a trendy word. There is science behind the effectiveness of mindful meditation.
A study, published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has found that a brief mindful meditation can significantly improve focus. The study united the participants who have never tried meditation before. After a few sessions of a short mindful meditation, participants reported the overall improvement in concentration.
To become mentally and emotionally fit, you need a tool that will help you switch to a positive mindset, whenever you start feeling overwhelmed and lose motivation. Mindful meditation involves a set of practices that help you focus on your current state and understand the roots of it.
So, if you’re currently feeling anxious or stressed, pause to acknowledge how you feel and find the reason that is fueling your negative emotions.
Regular mindful meditations are an excellent exercise to become mentally and emotionally fit. And the beauty of this exercise is that you can do it anywhere, either when taking a walk around the park or when sitting on your couch at home.
Here’s a resource to get you started...
Cognitive Restructuring to Practice Open-Mindedness
Open-minded people are more mentally and emotionally fit.
Why is that?
They acknowledge that there are several sides to everything, and there are multiple reasons behind a problem. The ability to see something from different perspectives helps them be more prepared for any surprises that come their way and be more mentally and emotionally fit.
Open-minded people are also more stress-resistant. Researchers at Flatfy offered a group of people to find several solutions to a problem. The participants who saw more than three solutions to the problem did better on a perceived stress scale than those who introduced one-two solutions.
People aren’t born open-minded. But you can train yourself to become open-minded by using different cognitive approaches.
One of them is cognitive restructuring.
Here’s how it works.
Cognitive restructuring allows you to understand your feelings and emotions by viewing them from different perspectives.
So, let’s say you are feeling stressed about your upcoming meeting with investors. You realize that this emotion distracts you. So, using cognitive restructuring, change the tone of your inner voice to neutral and think about the reasons that cause your stress.
The final step would be to acknowledge all the reasons that fuel your negative emotions and take a different look at them. Perhaps you need to get prepared more, or the venue where the meeting will take place makes you feel uncomfortable.
Recognize the reasons behind your emotions as resources to learn from, not be afraid of. You’ll notice how fast negative thinking will go away, and you’ll be able to see your problem from different perspectives.
Taking Breaks for Reflection Sessions
Yes, taking a break is also an exercise if you apply it correctly.
To become mentally and emotionally fit, you need to regularly reflect on what you’ve achieved in terms of emotional fitness. Just as with physical exercises and working out, with emotional fitness, you need to step back and take a look at what you already achieved and what is ahead of you.
Reflection sessions are a form of inner guidance. During these sessions, you have a conversation with yourself, discussing your progress in becoming mentally and emotionally fit.
This conversation can take various forms. You can write it down in your journal, tape yourself on a video camera, or just stand in front of a mirror and talk to yourself. There are, however, specific rules to follow:
- No criticism is allowed. Just as with cognitive restructuring, be neutral. Self-criticism, if it’s not constructive, will only make you feel more anxious.
- No punishment. After all, you are learning how to acknowledge the person that you are, and any sort of punishment will only make you despise yourself.
- Focus only on you. Don’t demotivate yourself by envying other people’s success in personal growth. It’s your journey to becoming more mentally and emotionally fit, and you’ll do it at your own pace.
Try taking a reflection session break in the evening before going to bed, and make sure that you finish each session with gratitude for what you already have achieved. You’ll notice an immense boost in motivation the next morning.
Your Mental and Emotional Well-Being Comes First
Just think about it.
Every time you set a goal for a new year, your enthusiasm lasts only a couple of months at best. You’ve been through it many times, and yet you repeat the same mistake over and over again.
Instead of putting all your enthusiasm into achieving your goals, put it into your mental and emotional fitness. This time, however, it will definitely pay off.
Just remember that emotional fitness requires regular practice. So, incorporate the above-mentioned exercises in your daily routine to become mentally and emotionally fit and lay the foundation of the success of your future endeavors.
Ryan Pell is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a sales manager, you can check his website here. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.