This information has been copied from the Toronto 'Metro' newspaper.
Remembering moments that evoke a sense of comfort or pleasure can help keep the mind fit.
People's responses to stress and difficult events are as individual as the people experiencing them. So everyone will assess and measure their mental fitness in different ways, but there are commen factors which facilitate good mental health. By considering some of these factors, it is possible to identify how we can improve our mental fitness.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dream location. Breathe slowly and deepl. yWhether it's a beach, a mountaintop, a hushed forest, or a favorite room from your past, let the comforting environment wrap you in a sensation of peace and tranquility.
Collect positive emotional moments.
Make it a point to recall times when you have experienced pleasure, comfort, tenderness, confidence, or other positive emotions.
Learn ways to cope with negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts can be insistent and loud. Learn to interrupt them. Don't try to block them (that never works), but don't let them take over. Try distracting yourself or comforting yourself, if you can't solve the problem right away.
Close ties with family and friends build support networks through which we receive help and in turn, help others.
Self-esteem and confidence.
Instead of focusing on what we are lacking, we need to focus on the qualities we do have that make us a good friend, a valued colleague, a loving parent or family member.
When we are able to feel and draw on optimism, a sense of perspective and flexibility, we gain the resilience needed to endure shock, hardship or change, and to carry on with our lives.
Giving our minds and bodies a workout by engaging in a variety of mental activities-such as reading a book, solving crossword puzzles, , playing a musical instrument or painting a picture, enhances mental agility and promotes overall wellness.
Regular physical activity improves psychological well-being and can reduce depression and anxiety. Joining an exercise group or gym can also reduce loneliness, since it connects you with a new set of people sharing a common goal.
Do one thing at a time.
For example: when you are out for a walk or spending time with friends, turn off your cellphone and stop making that mental 'to do' list. Take in all the sights, sounds and smells you encounter.
Taking up a hobby brings balance to your life by allowing you to do something you enjoy,` because you want to do it free of the pressure of everyday tasks. It also keeps your brain active.
Set personal goals.
Goals don't have to be ambitious. You might decide to finish that book you started three years ago; to take a walk around the block every day; to learn to knit or play bridge; to call your friends instead of waiting for the phone to ring. Whatever goal you set, reaching it will build confidence and a sense of satisfaction.
Mental fitness helps us to achieve and sustain a mentally healthy state, just as physical fitness helps us to achieve and sustain a state of good physical health.