“Mental dexterity” means having a sharp mind, or skill in thinking creatively while understanding things quickly and expressing it easily.
Nowadays we see a lot of people emphasizing the importance of physical exercise. This has led people to get involved in some or other form of physical exercise for keeping themselves physically fit. Being physically fit means having a strong and healthy body.
For a healthy lifestyle, we not only need physical fitness but also require mental fitness. Mental fitness in a simple sense is“Keeping your brain and emotions in best shape”. Possessing a good mental health empowers one to be creative, to use ones’ mental abilities to the fullest and to fight stress. Higher the level of mental fitness, higher will be your concentration and focus. Not being mentally fit can hinder the ability to perform complex tasks.
Connection between your Mind and Body
The more you help your body, the more it will help your mind. Physical exercise increases the oxygen flow to the brain and increases the amount of feel-good chemical such as endorphins in your brain. Thus it can be seen that the people who are in good physical shape enjoy a higher level of mental dexterity.
Performing intense workouts can help you ease depression and fill you up with zeal and excitement. It is also a great method to relieve stress, which in long term can harm you both physically and mentally.
Your body responds to the emotions you are harboring. The response is good for positive emotions but can be catastrophic for negative emotions. This can be another type of “mind-body connection”. When you are fostering some negative emotions like stress, anxiety, anger, sadness etc. your body might react signifying something is not right.
Example: A stressful lifestyle can be the cause of high blood pressure.
Poor mental health can lead to a weaker immune system, making it more likely for you to catch cold and other diseases during emotionally difficult times.
Benefits of mental fitness
Just as physical fitness helps us to achieve a physically strong body, mental fitness aids us in achieving a good mental health. When we are mentally fit, we tend to be creative and enjoy our life and environment. We are able to deal effectively with the difficult times in our personal and professional life. We feel the negative emotions that come with difficult times but we are able to cope up and get back to our regular life in a shorter time frame. Nurturing mental health can help us prevent or combat mental health problems which are sometimes associated with a chronic physical illness. In few cases, it can also prevent the beginning or worsen of a mental or physical illness.
Ways to improve your mental health
- Organized Lifestyle
Disorganized lifestyle could lead to a haywire mental state. Having an organized lifestyle or a standard routine to follow puts your life in place and help you become mentally stable. It may sound tough but it is easier than you think, you can start by organizing the environment you live in like your room or office desk.
- Proper meal
Your thinking is affected by the food you eat. Several studies suggest that healthy food is essential to have a healthy mind. Food also plays a role in preventing several mental problems such as depression. Choose a good nutrition and healthy diet containing fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, essential fats and amino acids. Make sure to drink ample amount of water, hydrated body leads to optimal brain functioning. Without proper hydration, the brain doesn’t perform optimally.
- Learning new things
Learning is one thing in life which never stops. Utilize your free time to learn something of your interest. Learning help your mind to avoid boredom and to do something of value in the free time. For instance, you can take up classes for guitar or something of your interest to keep your mind occupied and also learn something new.
- Physical activities
Staying physically fit is a good way to keep your mind fit. Several researches suggests that people who exercise or indulge in some or other form of physical activity regularly have a better sense of wellbeing throughout the day. They tend to be more energetic and creative while feeling positive about themselves. Many professionals encourage regular involvement in physical activities like exercise or sports to treat mild or moderate depression.
- Proper Sleep
Not getting adequate sleep can hamper your state of mind. You should spend a good seven to eight hours of time to give your body the deserved rest. Sleep helps the body and brain to get energized and organized for the next day. You would have noticed in absence of proper sleep you tend to feel irritated and agitated easily. Not able to sleep? Try some workouts
Exercises to improve mental health
- Aerobic exercises
Significant changes can be achieved by your body, metabolism, heart and spirit by performing aerobic exercise regularly. It has a unique capability to cheer up and relax, to provide stimulation, to relieve stress and depression. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, a brain chemical which are natural painkillers and mood elevators. Running, swimming, walking, dancing, hiking, and kickboxing are few examples of aerobic exercises.
- Breathing exercises
You can perform several breathing exercises to relax your mind and body. Deep breathing is one of the exercises which can be performed to dissipate stress and relax you.
Deep breathing can be performed as below:
- Breathe in slowly and deeply, pushing your stomach out.
- Briefly, hold the breath.
- Thinking “relax” exhale your breath slowly.
- Repeat the above steps for 10-15 times, breathe slowly and deeply.
Mental fitness is essential in maintaining a sound brain and keeping your body healthy, especially as you age. There are many types of exercises, and one need not go to the gym to do them such as learning a new thing or playing a game. Even the restful ones such as relaxation and visualization exercises turn out to be beneficial.
Incorporating a mental fitness break into your calendar along with your workout schedule will help you in maintaining a sound mind and fit body. At the end of the day, it is all worth it, for your mind and your health.
~ Monika Sharma