What is mental fitness? Is it essential for your sense of self?
What is mental fitness? Is it essential for your sense of self?
Mental fitness is defined as having an optimal state of mind and cultivating self-awareness around how we think, behave, and feel daily. Mental fitness is just as critical to our well-being; just like working out, using a nutritional plan or personal trainer is essential to our physical fitness.
When you are mentally fit, you are more in control of your world. As a result, your emotional capacity strengthens, and you become less reactive to the stressors around you.
Many working moms have lost emotional capacity and view the day as a never-ending list of things to do, only to wake up and do it again. This thought process strips us of our identities, removes our ability to see a way out and moves us to a place of feeling out of control.
We often view these moments as the "normal" day to day price of having a family and work life, but it is far from normal. By learning how to become self-aware and create solid mental fitness plans, we no longer have to dismiss how we feel; it puts us back in the driver's seat and empowers us to dig deeper into who we are and want to be.
How Does Mental Fitness Work:
Our daily thoughts travel along neural pathways, and we can decide to reinforce those pathways or choose a different route. Like a GPS for a car, we need self-awareness as our GPS. Unfortunately, many of our behaviors are on autopilot (typically unaware) due to these pathways, which can be beneficial or detrimental to our overall well-being.
Have you ever had a negative thought and then suddenly thought of a million other things that could happen? That is the power of the internal GPS; it can cause us to react in an unhelpful way and potentially become detrimental to our sense of self.
This "rabbit hole" way of thinking occurs because our pathways are built up of emotions that are well travelled from previous adverse life events. However, as you build your mental fitness and self-awareness, you have the agility to pivot from these moments and choose a different route that rewires your limbic system from reacting.
Automatic thinking comes from our survival brain (limbic system) constantly scanning our environments for threats. The great news is we can rewire this part of our brain with mental fitness tools and choose a different pathway.
Mental Fitness Training—creating a natural rewiring routine and learning how to choose different pathways to bring you back to your true sense of self.
What are the benefits of mental fitness training:
Mental fitness training often goes beyond the traditional conscious benefits of yoga, affirmations, and talk therapy. Instead, we use self-awareness and the limbic system's connections to explore who you are at your core. We can then explore how your thinking came to be, then rewiring those negative moments into more self-aware, positive ones. Looking at your inner GPS from a different perspective empowers and strengthens your mental muscle.
Here are a few benefits of mental fitness training:
- Being present
- Responding and less reacting allows you to view the world from a different lens
- Improved mood and increased emotional capacity
- Less polarized decision making
- Healthy boundaries
- Improved physical health
- A more intuned sense of self. This is the most significant benefit of mental fitness routines. By combining self-awareness and self-regulation, you can quickly shift and pivot into the emotionally/mentally stronger version of yourself.
Finding Your Sense of Self:
Our sense of self is rooted in many years of belief systems and inaccurate perceptions of the world through the lenses of life gifted to us by our caregivers. Right or wrong, our limbic systems have had to navigate a world of unknowns and projections by others, which has ultimately shaped our behaviors and interactions with others in our circle. For example, your father used to take you to sports practice and afterwards, he would have the dreaded on the way home conversation about all the things you did wrong (or that's how it felt). These interactions in the car on the way home could have planted the seed of you personally never being enough, your efforts go unnoticed, and the list goes on. However, from your father's perspective, he may be coaching you on how to be your best self to achieve what you want in life. But because of the lens of life given to you, you have now grown up believing, "why should I try when it isn't good enough" which affects your relationships.
When you take the time to use self-awareness and self-regulation (the top two mental fitness routines I use and coach), you can learn to look at these lessons in life from a different vantage point. These top tools allow you to reframe and create a new version of the belief you have discovered and now implement it in your present life.
As mentioned above, mental fitness tools such as self-awareness and self-regulation allow you to view your sense of self differently, reclaiming who you are or want to be. So often, in the world of working moms, we wear so many different hats. We hold onto so many beliefs about ourselves that our true identity gets lost in the shuffle. Being able to untangle these thoughts, previous experiences, traumas, emotions and pathways, we start to detach ourselves from the "perfect" version of who we feel like we have to be and become the best versions of ourselves as is.
Does this mean you will never have setbacks or question who you are again? No, we are evolving humans and will always have beliefs and emotions that are stored and come to the surface. However, creating a mental fitness routine accounts for these moments in life and allows you to make long-lasting changes and work on the limbic system at your convenience.
5 Ways to Start Your Mental Fitness Routine Today:
While working on yourself may take some time to learn, the help of a coach will help you expedite this process. Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation are the top tier tools to use in every mental fitness routine, and this area is crucial in any coaching program you may be seeking. The benefits of having a coach look at your blind spots, help change your vantage point and help you reframe and create new habits, which are often the missing pieces to the personal development puzzle.
Here are five ways you can implement a mental fitness routine and begin reclaiming your sense of self :
- Journaling with purpose: One of the ways you can start to see your blind spots is through effective journaling. Start to assess your own words from a second or third-person perspective.
- Practice noticing your thoughts: Where can you reframe naturally? Did you mean to respond in a certain way, or was it purely emotionally driven?
- Practice body awareness: Notice the times you start to have physical sensations and be aware of what is happening in that particular moment. Your body will send physical sensations often before emotional reactions occur.
- Start to take a deeper dive into what makes you, you: When you are stressed out, burned out or can't handle one more thing. Notice how it makes you feel and what you believe about yourself, and write it down.
- Explore new interests and create new habits: When faced with something new, are you hiding from doing it or making excuses? Start to notice when you self-sabotage and ask yourself why you can't do XYZ. Then, allow yourself to look at where you hold yourself back and begin taking steps to explore these new opportunities.
Becoming mentally fit is an essential step to a healthier sense of self. It allows you to learn how to become self-aware and self-regulated and create healthy habits that will benefit you for a lifetime.
Taking the time to focus on your mental fitness is one of the best decisions you can make, and we hope these tips have given you some ideas about how to get started. So what are you waiting for? Start working on your mental fitness today!
Check out our programs today on how to create a mental fitness routine to reclaim your sense of self: www.tiffanyrspencer.com
Hi, I am Tiffany Spencer. I am a mental fitness coach for six-figure+ moms who want to reclaim their sense of self without sacrificing success at work or home.