Your mental health is as important as your physical health, yet there is far more information out there focused on improving your physical strength than your mental strength. Your mind is a muscle, and just like you need to challenge it, you also need to allow it to recover. Try these power exercises to improve your mental strength, and your ability to handle life, the good and the bad, like it’s no big deal.
1. Use Fabulous to Practice self-awareness
One of humankind’s biggest challenges is being able to reflect on oneself. We often don’t like to acknowledge our shortcomings, and instead opt for blissful ignorance. What we don’t realize though, is that reflecting on our flaws provides us with an opportunity to grow. Be aware of your habits and don’t be afraid to call yourself out for the bad ones. If you notice yourself handling certain situations in a less-than-ideal way, come up with a better alternative, and make a conscious effort to handle future situations like that.
2. Practice self-affirmation
Once you get over how weird it feels to talk to yourself in the mirror, you’ll notice how much more confident you become when you look yourself in the eye and tell yourself how great you are and how successful you will be.
3. Acknowledge your emotions
We have this idea that suppressing our emotions is healthier than letting ourselves cry or get angry. In reality, the less accustomed you are to showing your emotions, the less equipped you’ll be to handle them when the time comes that you can’t suppress them. Emotions should be embraced, not feared.
4. Step out of your comfort zone
If you always stay in your comfort zone, you’ll never improve. Doing, and ultimately conquering, the things that make you uncomfortable, like signing up for a public speaking class if you’re shy, for example, will boost your self-esteem and make you more comfortable with trying new things.
5. Make a power stance
There is actually scientific evidence that if you stand in a power stance for two minutes, it will significantly increase how powerful you feel. Stand up straight, puff out your chest, and put your arms on your hips or high above your head like you’re cheering yourself on. Do it in the morning or right before a big meeting, and see how much more confident you feel.
6. Make time for your passions
Even those who love what they do need a break sometimes. It’s important to always make time to practice your passions, whether it’s playing an instrument, knitting, or going for a short run. Figure out what hobby makes you happy, and anytime you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, do it.
7. Be mindful
Mindfulness was a bit of a buzzword in 2017, and for a good reason. We don’t realize how much our mind wanders elsewhere while we’re doing things but try practicing mindfulness for a day and you’ll catch yourself making plans for the next day while you’re brushing your teeth, or daydreaming about a vacation while you’re washing the dishes. Make a conscious effort to focus on the moment. Being present will help you to be more productive and more appreciative of the simplest moments of your day.
8. Find balance
Balance is important in every way. Yes, it’s important to eat a balanced diet, but balance is also about not restricting yourself if you crave McDonald’s every now and then, or allowing yourself to take a day off from work or the gym if you’re feeling burnt out.
Meditation is in the same realm as mindfulness but requires a more conscious effort. Train yourself to block out distractions and clear your mind by closing your eyes and focusing only on your breathing. You’ll notice when you first start, it’s difficult to ignore sounds and keep thoughts away, but the more you do it, the easier it will become, and the more at ease you’ll feel. Eventually, you’ll be able to meditate anywhere anytime you start to feel overwhelmed.
10. Get physical
Exercise is about more than being physically healthy. Doctors recommend physical activity to people struggling with mental illness, or who find themselves stressing out often because exercise clears our minds and produces endorphins to make us feel better. If you need to take a break from something, go for a short run, or do jumping jacks beside your desk and you’ll feel ready to focus again.
Nobody likes to fail. It doesn’t feel good, and it makes us hesitant to put ourselves out there again, in fear that we’ll keep failing. Ironically, the less afraid we are to fail, the less likely we are to fail, so by practicing failure, for example, by playing a sport you’re not good at, you’re overcoming the fear of failure and learning to keep trying despite it.
12. Practice thought-stopping
Sometimes negative thoughts creep into our minds and we’re unable to shake them. We become consumed by them, which only makes us feel worse and creates a cycle of negative thoughts. Next time you notice yourself thinking something negative, practice making the conscious decision to stop that thought and replace it with a positive one. Eventually, it will become second nature to you, and you’ll notice yourself feeling more positive altogether.
13. Perform under pressure
Everyone gets a little nervous under pressure. Your mind starts racing and you start to feel overwhelmed, and you suddenly find you can’t think clearly. The key is to learn to calm yourself down and finish the job anyway. Take up competitive sport or hobby, or volunteer to take on a last-minute task at work as a way to train yourself to handle these situations.
14. Memorize stuff
As we get older, our memories start to go. Like our muscles, which become weaker over time if we don’t exercise, our minds become weaker if we don’t continue to push them. The mental strength exercise sessions in Fabulous can potentially reduce your risk of dementia, and it’s a fun way to sharpen your mind no matter what your age.
15. Learn to say no
Saying no is tough. You don’t want your boss to think you’re incompetent, so you take on every project you’re given. You don’t want to disappoint friends and family, so you agree to attend every get-together and reunion. But ultimately, taking on too many tasks can leave you burnt out and overwhelmed. It’s important to practice saying no without fear or guilt because you can’t be your most valuable self if you’re spread too thin. If you find you have trouble saying no, check out tips on our previous blog posts, The Power of “No.”
Level up your Mental Game
Not each of these 15 tips will work for you, but it’s a start to improve your mental strength. Make a daily habit out of it, and it’ll become routine that’ll keep you on top of your mental health and well-being.