by Lyndsay Flagel
Plenty of studies show how physical activity, spending time outdoors and regular exercise is good for our mental health. It’s safe to say that when you’re exercising, it’s as though you’re working out your mind as well. What about exercises that are solely to improve brain health? Exercising your mental energy will keep your memory strong and keep your mental well being balanced. In turn, a balanced mentality will improve your physical health by replacing any negative thoughts that may lower your self-esteem or keep you from exercising.
Let’s discuss ways of practicing mindfulness, positive thinking, and the mental power it takes!
What can you control?
It is common to waste mental energy overanalyzing what is out of your control. For example, what others may think of you, ensuring that kids are nice to yours and vice versa. By focusing on what you can control, such as diet and exercise, you will be utilizing your brainpower substantially.
Controlling your daily diet takes awareness. Are you conscious of what you’re putting in your body? In the morning before work, or perhaps at night when you have more time, plan your day’s food intake. Pack a healthy lunch and AM/PM snack if you desire. Make this a routine and before you know it, eating mindfully is a habit.
Taking time out of a day to exercise can be difficult, but the goal is to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day. Make it a family activity to get everyone healthy. Exercise is easier in the spring, summer and fall. Before winter approaches, begin identifying activities the whole family can enjoy during the cold such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or simply taking a walk in the crisp, winter air.
Replace Negative Thoughts
When you’re starting a new, healthy lifestyle but not seeing results, it can be discouraging. Practice replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations, and your discouragement will evaporate and results will show sooner. Stop waiting and start progressing! Also, positive thinking goes hand-in-hand with eating mindfully. Thinking positively about your food and your new habits will help keep you moving forward to your end goal.
Negative thoughts lower self-esteem and self-confidence. On a daily basis, remind yourself that you’re beautiful, funny, smart, and hard-working. If you’re getting discouraged, take a moment. Breathe. Analyze what you have accomplished. Did you eat a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner? Did you make it through your workout? Or did you do a great job at work or teach your child something new today? These are positive situations. Practicing this is like anything in life; results take time. Good things take time.
We all have discomforts. Practicing mental strength isn’t dismissing your emotions; practicing mental strength acknowledges your feelings and allows you to feel them without responding negatively. Become your words. Instead of saying you want to be strong, start exercises that improve strength, like free weights or push-ups. Turn the “I wish(es)” into actions, that way you’re not just tolerating yourself, you’re actively changing your ways.
Practicing mindfulness and awareness is a lifelong practice. It takes mental strength and stability. There are different ways to improve our mental strength. For some, it may be improving intelligence and keeping sharp with mind games. Replacing negative thoughts, understanding what is within your control and working toward change are only a few, effective ways to improve mental strength for overall wellness.
Lyndsay is a Communications Specialist and a writer and editor for Holland Hospital. She spends her free time writing or watching Netflix.