Maintaining Mental Fitness in Challenging Times Strategies for Resilience

It seems as though every day, one opens the TV to more stories of hardships, struggles, conflicts, and complexities. I cannot stop but think of my own journey from being an education director to becoming a resilient speaker, a trainer, and a practitioner of Positive Intelligence. Was it all ordained from above? Perhaps. Maybe I was moved toward this line of work because the “powers at be” knew that I would need it to overcome my own struggles! Perhaps that is why I was introduced to Positive Intelligence! Positive Intelligence is a mental fitness program that advocates working on our brains and bodies and thus influencing our minds, hearts, and emotions. Its primary goal is to decrease our hijacking of emotions led by fear and open up opportunities to build our strengths by leaning into the sage in us. 

Mental fitness is crucial for well-being as it builds resilience. The quicker you bounce from setbacks, the faster you are to recover and return to the path set before you.  In this blog, let’s explore strategies for maintaining and enhancing mental fitness during difficult times. Read and contemplate your own journey of self-reflection as we delve into practices that can increase your mental strength and promote resilience.

The Importance of Mental Fitness: Let’s start there. Why is it important? Mental fitness encompasses emotional resilience, stress management, and overall psychological well-being. Do you want to react without thinking or processing when things get tough? In Positive Intelligence we refer to it as “keeping your hand on the hot stove” Do you tend to resort to the immediate reaction when you feel negative feelings? Or, do you allow space (in the form of time) from the moment of stimulus to reaction? Reflect on your own mental fitness. How do you typically respond to challenging situations, and what might you do to stop the automatic response and instead strengthen your mental resilience?

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: I recall Shirzad Chamin, the founder of Positive Intelligence stating that stress lives in the past and the future, but never in the exact moment we are in the present. Think about it for a second. Often we will feel stress because we think of something that happened in the past as we are planning for an event in the future. If the event in the past did not produce the results we were hoping for, we will experience stress. And what would naturally follow? We will take that stress with us into the future. Mindfulness practices can be powerful tools for reducing stress and enhancing mental fitness, by directing us to be in the present. How often do you do breathwork that connects you to the present and releases your mind from stressing about the future? How often do you pay attention to your beating heart, your expanding chest, or even the ridges of your fingertips, all intended to bring you to the present moment? Reflect on your experience so far- how have mindfulness techniques impacted your ability to navigate stressful circumstances?

Seeking Support and Connection: I call it the People Factor! Building a support system and seeking connection with others is vital for mental fitness. Reflect on the strength of your support network. How can you nurture these connections during challenging times, and when should you seek professional help if needed? Who can you connect with right after reading this blog?

Self-Care and Well-Being: An important part of being mentally fit is acknowledging all that you bring to the world. Not in a narcissistic way, but with self-love and self-value. A sense of worthiness. Acceptance of who you are. That is an integral part of self-care.  What are your Self-care practices? You might want to also include physical activity, nutrition, and adequate rest, all contributing to mental fitness. Reflect on your self-care routine. How can you prioritize well-being and incorporate self-care into your daily life?

Resilience and Adaptability: Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. To shift our negative emotions and thoughts from negative to positive. Reflect on your past experiences of resilience. What strategies have you used to overcome challenges, and how can you further develop your resilience? I use the 4 P’s whenever I measure resilience: People and community, Power of Mental Fitness, Perspective of the current situation, and the Practice of Positivity. Rank yourself from 1-10 in each of the categories. Where can you improve? 

Cultivating a Growth Mindset: A growth mindset promotes the belief in one’s ability to learn and adapt. A person can always learn and do more. There is a Jewish quote that advocates that if a person does not learn something new each day, what is the use of that particular day? That quote encourages me to learn something new every day!

Reflect on your mindset in the face of challenges. How can you cultivate a growth mindset that allows for continued personal and professional development?

Maintaining mental fitness is an ongoing practice that empowers individuals to face life’s challenges with resilience and strength. 

As you reflect on your own mental fitness journey, consider how these strategies can become integral to your well-being. Remember that mental fitness is a valuable asset in navigating the uncertainties of life, and mastering this skill can indeed make you swim in the oceans of life, however turbulent the waters may be.