What does it mean to be “mentally fit”?

by | 23 Dec 2020 | Mental Fitness

Have you paused to think about how mentally fit you are? Do you consider yourself to be thriving? Not just ‘okay’, not just surviving – but truly thriving? It may seem like a heavy question, but it’s an important one that has an answer which can change the course of your life. 

We live in a world where millions of us struggle daily with feelings of complacency, anxiety, stress, resentment, and inadequacy… but it’s not our fault. Mental fitness is something very few people are taught, and the term itself feels foreign to many. 

Being mentally fit means being in control of your emotions and your worldview. It doesn’t mean you never feel anxiety, self-doubt, stress, or weakness – it just means you’re more equipped to process those negative feelings, learn from them, and move on with the ability to find joy in your day. It means being able to take criticism without spiraling. It means feeling gratitude and happiness even in moments that may seem simple to some. It means getting more out of life; being more engaged and productive, having a greater sense of purpose, and having better health in general. 

Being mentally unfit, however, looks a lot different. When you’re mentally unfit, one negative aspect of your day can make it feel as though you’re drowning. Traffic on the way to work can make you angry until you go home for the night. One wrong word from a coworker can leave you struggling under the weight of your own self-doubt. The days may feel as though they blend together, leaving you with a lingering numbness or dissatisfaction.

How many people are mentally fit?

You may be surprised that many more of us are mentally unfit than mentally fit – and a significant part of that can be attributed to our own avoidance of our mental wellbeing. Sure, you may say, I’m not excited about life, and I’m not particularly happy… but I’m still functioning and getting the necessary things done. 

Here at Akimbo, we understand that improving your mental fitness can feel daunting. With so much going on in our daily lives, picking up things like self-help or analyzing the way we feel can seem like more work than it’s worth – especially when we think we’re doing just fine.

But the thing is, life potentially has so much more to offer that most of us are missing out on. We all deserve to be thriving, feeling energetic and optimistic, and feeling as though we are living with real purpose. We all deserve to be getting more from life than we currently are. 

Yet incredibly, only 15 to 20% of all people are actually flourishing. The other 60 to 70% of people are living in various shades of ‘just okay.’ And at the lower end, 15 to 20% are languishing daily, so much so that they struggle with daily activities. All in all, that’s billions of people who have sub-optimal wellbeing and missing out on better lives. 

We all deserve to be thriving, feeling energetic and optimistic, and feeling as though we are living with real purpose. We all deserve to be getting more from life than we currently are.” 

15 to 20% of people are languishing in terms of their mental fitness

Why aren’t more people mentally fit?

There are a variety of reasons we struggle to be mentally fit. The way we act, feel, and think are influenced by hundreds, if not thousands of factors. Some of us have been through trauma – which can be one or many stressful events that changed our worldview – and some of us were raised in environments that created a cracked foundation for us to build our mental health and lives on. 

And then, there are things like our genetics and biological wiring that influence how our brain processes information and regulates our emotions. Left unmanaged, this results in a situation where we are perhaps not seeing things clearly and have negative thoughts and reactions that are not helpful to us or others around us.

The good news is that, like any muscle, your brain can be worked, strengthened, and healed. By working on your mental fitness regularly you can achieve all kinds of positive outcomes including; increased resilience, increased longevity, higher sense of self worth, better relationships, higher achievement and so on.

How can we become mentally fit?

Here are a few of the ways we can become, and stay, mentally fit: 

  1. Let things from our past go and stop worrying about things that can’t be changed. Instead spend that time appreciating what you have in the here and now.
  2. Have people in your life who charge our batteries and spend time with them. Don’t spend time with people who drain you.
  3. Be generous, kind and have a positive attitude. Each of these things decrease stress hormones and make us feel much better.
  4. Eat better. The saying we are what we eat is so true. Our gut health plays a significant role on our mental energy and how we feel.
  5. Slow down and do less. Give yourself time to do nothing and switch off from technology. Boredom is actually very good for us.

What are the benefits of being mentally fit?

Increased Job Opportunities

The benefits of increasing our mental fitness are immense in regards to both our personal and our professional lives. According to the World Economic Forum, out of 10 skills that scientists say will be required in jobs within the next 5 years, 8 of those skills require strong mental fitness. These skills include problem solving ability, critical thinking, creativity, resilience and stress tolerance. By being mentally fit, you can increase your job opportunities and make yourself significantly more valuable as an employee. 

More Meaningful Relationships

At home, strong mental fitness allows you to have more meaningful relationships with loved ones. Without the barrier of things like insecurity, poor communication, or stubbornness, you can really connect with those around you in ways that few people know are possible. 

Being Comfortable When Alone

Strong mental fitness allows you to spend time alone without the burden of spiraling negative thoughts, loneliness, rumination, or feelings of inadequacy. You can simply be and do whatever you please in harmony with your thoughts and emotions. You can be at peace without needing distractions to keep your mind off worries. 

Imagine for a moment if everyone around you was mentally fit. Picture a world where people are kind to one another without impulsively reacting and saying harsh words. Or a world where people are gentle and accepting with themselves, and therefore, gentle and accepting with everyone else. What would that world look like?

Would our society be more productive? More healthy? Would we be able to solve the world’s problems a bit easier without things like ego and insecurity getting in the way? Would there be less conflict if our mental fitness allowed us to have more compassion and better insight? Would we be more inclusive as a whole, kinder to those struggling, and more willing to lift one another up? 

Those are all questions we can only answer if we, as a society, strive to be more mentally fit – and that journey starts with one person at a time. One person taking a few minutes per day to include positive psychology into their day, one person taking just a few minutes to really think about how they can improve their wellbeing. 

By being that one person to accept you deserve more happiness and fulfilment out of life, you can positively affect those around you and put the world on a better path. 

Ready to become more mentally fit? Take your first step today, and download the Akimbo App.