By Kouris Kalligas, CEO and co-founder, Therachat
I first heard the term “mental fitness” when it was referenced in a blog by Foundry Group’s Managing Director, Brad Feld. Brad felt he was constantly fighting a stigma by using the term “mental health,” and I couldn’t agree more. As I continue to speak with mental health professionals (MHPs) and clients in my work, I am understanding the nuances and sensitivities that exist in the industry as well as the need for further disruption.
From my perspective, not only is mental fitness just as important as physical fitness when it comes to living a long, healthy and balanced life, but it’s also necessary as people begin to understand and accept the prevalence of mental health issues that exist today. Recent NAMI data found that one in five adults in the U.S. (43.8 million people) suffer from mental illness each year and 18.1 percent of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
With the need for mental fitness being widespread, it’s important to understand where it all fits in with treatment.
A State of Uncertainty
Unfortunately, the future of healthcare in the U.S. is completely uncertain. Even though the American Health Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Trumpcare, was pulled, the possibility of a revision is still possible.
Under the bill, Medicaid would no longer cover basic mental health services. Instead, the federal government would enable each state to decide to include those benefits in their Medicaid plans or not. To keep costs down, most states were anticipated to cut such coverage.
Whether the new administration allows Obamacare to continue or modifies a version of the bill, mental health support continues to be viewed as an opportunity for cost savings and is on the chopping block.
Taking Control of Your Mental Fitness
Those suffering from minor to severe symptoms of mental health conditions, such as anxiety, stress, PTSD, mood disorder, depression or addiction, must consider taking a proactive approach to their personal health and wellness. Self-guided exercises can be effective in helping you get your mental fitness back on track.
Here are three ways to promote self-reflection, relaxation and a calm, peaceful mind.
- Goalsetting – Basketball legend Michael Jordan wrote in his book, “You have to set your goals before you can reach them.” The first step to implementing any type of routine, whether it’s for your career, physical fitness or mental fitness, is to set goals that you can work towards achieving. Your goals should be demonstrative of what’s important to you and showcase what you want to accomplish.
- Journaling – Journaling is a simple method for you to slow down, examine and reframe your thoughts in the format that works best for your style, personality and schedule. Depending on what your mental fitness goals are, use your physical notebook or digital journaling tool to record your daily feelings, emotions and moods to identify patterns and become more self-aware.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CB) Techniques – According to the Beck Institute, “CBT is a psychotherapy that is based on the cognitive model: the way that individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their reaction than the situation itself.” Change how you think and approach a situation by taking the time to log and examine your thoughts. This will help your mental fitness by enabling you to be mindful of situations that trigger your symptoms.
Self-Help Has Never Been More Accessible
If your mental fitness routine is meant for achieving healthy emotional wellness, make sure to take steps to understand your triggers and focus on the tasks ahead of you. Communicate and chronicle your highs and lows to reflect, support these efforts and stay ahead of your emotional wellness.
While these activities can be great for keeping you on course, they are not the only way to exercise your mental fitness. It’s important to take a moment to breathe and consider the options that work best for you. Self-help tools and resources today have progressed with the times and become increasingly more advanced and accessible. Get the most out of your mental fitness exercises by leveraging self-help tools in conjunction with mental fitness exercises.
The plethora of wellness apps can guide you in your journey to a peaceful state of mind. From digital journaling tools to meditation apps, there are many technologies available to help keep you on track to achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself. Regardless of how you prioritize your mental fitness within your health and wellness, always remember that the first step in the process is to be aware of your current state of mind and be open to change.