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4 Components of Mental Fitness

A new year is almost upon us and for many this yearly flip of the calendar signals a time for goal setting.  

Resolutions associated with weight loss, exercise and healthy eating commonly top the list each year.  And while most people are highly aware of the term physical fitness, the topic of mental fitness is not always as understood or recognized.

What is mental fitness and what role does it play in the overall quest for a healthy lifestyle?

Mental fitness is simply having and maintaining a healthy state of well-being through an awareness of how you think, feel and act.  While the definition is simple, developing an awareness around it or improving that healthy state of well-being may feel daunting!

The first step to improving your mental fitness is to understand the elements that make up your well-being. Evaluating your level of satisfaction in each one of these elements will help you clarify, prioritize, and focus on the most impactful areas to improve your overall well-being.

There are 4 core components to mental fitness: 

1. Emotional

Comprised of self-acceptance, self-esteem and resilience, your level of stability in this area is a great predictor of how well you will manage responses or reactions – aka how you deal with stress!  How you speak to yourself impacts your ability to cope.  How will you assure yourself of your strengths and turn them into valuable resources to navigate or progress forward?

2. Social

Comprised of companionship and supportive networks, your level of fulfillment with your circle can be a bucket filler, or detractor, both personally and professionally.  As I mention frequently, your circle is valuable real estate.  Think about your core values.  How do the people in your circle align with those values and elevate you to be the best version of yourself?  If you have any weeds growing in the circle, now is a great time to pull them!

3. Financial

Deserving of a category all its own, how you feel about your financial situation can greatly impact your well-being.  As it relates to mental fitness, this component is centered around the amount of control you feel you have more so than the amount of your actual income or wealth.  Having a solid sense of control over your financial situation alleviates or minimizes stress that can be harmful to your overall health.  It also builds your confidence to deal with inevitable financial setbacks in life.  What is your financial mindset?  What are some actions you can take to either regain or maintain your sense of control over your financial well-being?

4. Physical

Your mental and physical health are forever intertwined, where one certainly helps to elevate the other.  Maintaining or creating healthy habits such as proper diet, regular activity and getting enough sleep will help to reduce your risk for chronic illnesses and equip you to better deal with stress.  How do you feel about your physical health?  What are the areas of your physical health you should focus on improving or maintaining?  What is one action you can commit to routinely doing to support those improvements? 

Taking steps to foster and build your mental fitness enhances your ability to cope with stress and improves your physical health, productivity at work, relationships, and overall happiness.