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Tips for Mental Fitness

May 27

Tips for Mental Fitness
 

Mental fitness is given its due attention in programs designed to fulfill health and wellness goals; certainly the benefits of physical fitness and mental fitness go hand-in-hand, but there are also some tricks to apply to the mind and its mental fitness which can also boost overall wellness. Without going to the gym!

One of the easiest ways to boost mental fitness is by developing a new taste or a new hobby. The possibilities with this one are endless, and relatively easy. The Sudoku trend offers up one type of option that gives people the chance to play while honing mental sharpness. Beyond that, something as simple as trying a new cuisine or new cooking style, can have a similar effect. Or, determining that it’s time to really ‘know’ Mozart and be able to develop enhanced listening skills.

A hobby that involves writing, journaling, dialoguing or anything related to communication is also highly thought-provoking and compels reflective thinking. To a similar end, volunteering increases interpersonal skills and has obvious feel good benefits. On the level of personal learning and increasing mental abilities, each of these works off different sensory modes of the brain – logical, taste, smell, comparative thinking, listening and interpersonal relatability – the side effect of picking up a new taste or hobby will undoubtedly benefit some part of the brain’s processing.

Another trick to incorporate is to try something new, if not daily, than at least once a week. Again, this could be anything and can be quite simple. It could mean seeing a classic film that you have always been curious about and increasing your frame of reference, or engaging in a more meaningful dialogue with an acquaintance. It could mean taking your child out for ice cream and trying a new flavor or going into a bookstore and browsing a section that you don’t normally read. Each of these opens up an individual to new sensory experiences in a similar way to taking on a new hobby, and is also a precursor to finding a new hobby or taste that is worth taking on.

This last trick may be the most difficult, and is also one that many people have strong feelings about when it is used in educational efforts: behaviorism. In this case, behaviorism is a self-propelled goal – the breaking of bad habits and the forming of good ones, or thinking before you speak. In parenting and education, we aim to teach positive behaviors; like most personal skills it is something that is modeled, and so, for behavior learning to be imparted, it must also be self-taught.

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