Most people think of mental health as something that only applies to people with mental illnesses. However, mental health is actually a term that refers to our overall emotional and psychological well-being, and therefore it can be extremely important to anyone who truly cares about themselves.
Mental health is often disregarded in the fitness space, but it is one of the most important aspects of our lives and one that impacts all other areas of our day to day living. In fact, mental health has a huge impact on our physical health.
For example, when we are mentally healthy, we are more likely to take care of ourselves and make positive choices for our well-being. For that reason, in today’s blog post we will discuss how fitness impacts your mental health and what are the basics you can follow to improve your mind!
Is mental health really important?
Having good mental health is really important for anyone who wants to really be the best version of themselves. After all, when we’re in a good space mentally, we’re more likely to make healthy choices for ourselves both physically and emotionally.
In addition to impacting our physical state, mental health also plays a role in our overall happiness and quality of life. When we’re feeling good mentally, we’re more likely to enjoy life and be happier. Conversely, when we’re struggling with mental health issues, life can be downright tough and it can be hard to even get to enjoy anything!
So overall, mental health is extremely important and it affects every aspect of our lives. Thankfully, there are things we can do to improve our mental state if it’s not where we want it to be!
What can you do to improve your mental state? The basics
1- Take care of your body
There are a lot of things that you can do to help improve your mental health, but let’s address the elephant in the room first: one of the most important things is to make sure that you are taking care of yourself physically.
Exercise is a great way to do this, as it releases endorphins which have mood-boosting effects. In addition, exercise helps us to manage stress and can be very calming.
If you’re not currently exercising, start small and work your way up. Even just taking a walk every day can make a big difference. And the same can be said about getting your nutrition right.
If you don’t know where to start, our beginner’s guide to exercise and our nutrition guide can be a great starting point!
2- Live in the moment with meditation & mindfulness
But we can’t only talk about fitness and physical health when we’re adressing your mind. One of the best ways to improve your mental health is through practices like meditation and mindfulness.
When we take the time to focus on our breath or just on being still, and we try to be in the present moment, it can be incredibly calming and soothing. This can help us manage stress and feel more at peace, and at the same time it teaches us that our thoughts are just that: thoughts.
There is a lot of research that supports the idea that meditation is helpful for mental health. For example, dozens of studies show that after just a few weeks of mindfulness meditation training, people show decreased anxiety and rumination (i.e., negative thoughts about oneself), and increased positive emotions.
If you’re not familiar with meditation or mindfulness, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started. And even if you only have a few minutes to spare, it can still be beneficial!
3- Reflect about your goals and values with journaling
Journaling is another really powerful way to work on your mental wellbeing. It can be helpful for tracking your thoughts and feelings, for processing emotions, for setting goals and for reflecting on your values.
When you take the time to write out your thoughts and feelings, it can be really helpful in managing stress and anxiety. It can also be a great way to reflect on your day, set goals for yourself and track your progress.
And like meditation and mindfulness, journaling has also been shown to be beneficial for mental health in numerous studies. For example, one study found that expressive writing helped people who were struggling with anxiety and depression to feel better.
4- Disconnect with some active, fun activities!
When it comes to mental health, one of the most important things is to make sure that we’re engaging in activities that are fun and active, as opposed just tuning to passive forms of entertainment.
Passive entertainment, like watching TV or browsing the internet, can be enjoyable in the moment, but they’re not very mentally stimulating. And over time, they can actually lead to feelings of boredom and lethargy. The even have a lasting, negative impact on your brain chemistry!
On the other hand, activities like playing sports, going for a hike or even just dancing around your living room are all great ways to get your body moving and to have some fun.
And there’s plenty of research that supports the idea that these types of activities are good for mental health. For example, one study found that people who engaged in regular physical activity (specially if it was fun or in company of other people) were less likely to develop depression.
So, if you’re looking for ways to improve your mental health, don’t forget the importance of active, fun activities! Anything from going for a walk to picking up a new hobby can do wonders for your emotional state.
Improving your mental state is important for your overall wellbeing
As you can see, there are quite a few key things that you can do to improve your mental state. These are just a few basics, but they can really make a difference in how you’re feeling mentally and emotionally.
And if you’re looking for more tips on how to conduct a more fulfilling, active life, make sure to follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our biweekly newsletter!