There is a lot of attention paid to physical activity when it comes to fitness and that is for all the obvious reasons. We want to improve our bodies, performance, and quality of life. So of course we want to learn more about how to make all of that possible. But there is another aspect to fitness and overall health that is often ignored by the masses.
By Roger Lockridge
Have you ever heard the phrase “where the mind goes, the body follows”? That phrase is quite popular for an important reason. It’s true. You simply can’t pursue physical fitness and ignore your mental health if you want to consider yourself an overall healthy person. Now of course if you question your overall mental health, you should seek the help of a professional who’s qualified to help you address your individual needs but the following tips are strategies that anyone can reap benefits from if followed regularly.
Meditation is in its simplest meaning, the act or practice of thinking about nothing. The goal is to clear your mind and focus on simply relaxing. Meditating on a regular basis can help you relax and clear your mind so you can better focus on a task or series of tasks. If you’re new to meditation, you should be in a comfortable position, whether that’s sitting or lying down. Wear clothes you feel are comfortable. Set a timer for two minutes. Once you start that timer, you close your eyes, breathe normally, and think about nothing. If any topic comes to mind, imagine yourself swiping it away and resume your concentration on relaxing. Once the timer goes off, open your eyes and slowly work your way into your normal routine. Once you’re comfortable, simply increase your time one minute at a time until you’re meditating for up to 15 minutes a day.
Much like your muscles need exercise to improve, your brain needs challenged to maintain its overall health and performance. Brain exercises can help you retain memory, increase focus, and elevate your mood. These activities can be as simple as doing a Sudoku or crossword puzzle every day, trying to memorize a short poem, or playing classic games like “Memory” where you try to match cards that are flipped upside-down. Much like physical training, you can take days off but adding a brain exercise to your regular routine will yield positive results sooner rather than later.
Address the Stress
It can be hard to focus on a current task or relax if you’re dealing with a lot of personal and/or professional issues at once. These causes of stress may be bothering you before you train, while you’re out with family, before bed, or all of the above. While no one can be expected to solve all of their issues in a moment’s notice, there is something you can do to at least help you move forward.
Get out a sheet of paper or open a note app on your phone. Write out all of the things or issues that are bothering you at the moment. Now go down that list and ask yourself, “what can I do to solve this issue?” Once you have an answer, write it down. If there is nothing you can do, simply write “nothing”. Repeat this step with the entire list. Once you’ve finished, remind yourself that at that moment you’ve addressed it and can now move forward until the time comes to handle those solutions. This isn’t a guarantee that it will eliminate the stress but it can at least help you deal with whatever is on your mind so you can go on with your day or finally rest.