How to build resilience and prioritise your mental fitness
In these challenging times there is a lot that is outside our control. However, the one thing we can all is to take care of our own minds. Arguably the most important aspect of our lives we can take care of.
No matter which path we choose in life, our brain and mind is our greatest tool to thrive through the challenges presented to us.
As Vicktor Fankl ( psychiatrist, Auschwitz survivor and author of the seminal work Man’s Search for Meaning), puts it:
‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’
Our attitude is determined by our state of mind.
Care of our mind and developing our own self-awareness can be enhanced from whatever our start point by two simple routines and a tool kit.
These can help us when we know we are being taken away with corrosive thoughts, ‘catastrophising’ and rapidly approaching a vortex of despair! Which, as we all know, can happen very quickly!
Routine 1: EARLY MORNING CLUB
The concept of our Early Morning Club is mentioned in numerous success literatures, books and publications. Get into the habit of rising an hour earlier than usual, before the day has started and runs away with itself. This could be as early as 5am-6am. Design a routine for yourself made up of 10-15min chunks:
Do not dive straight into e mails and social media!
- Mindfulness meditation
- Journaling -writing down whatever is in your head
- Learning – developing our professional or personal capabilities ( online course, TED Talks, books, blogs etc)
- Planning the day
Early Morning Club sets us up for the day in front of us.
I don’t want to get up any earlier!
Depending on your circumstances will determine the extent to which you’re able to adopt the Early Morning Club. Perhaps you have a young family and sleep and need the sleep to care for your mind. If this is the case, find a time during the day that better suits you and use this time to use these suggested tools. It doesn’t need to be an hour, carve out whatever time you can. It’s our small daily actions that add up over time to have big impact.
Quick, Easy To Use Mental Fitness Tools
As we proceed through the day we can enhance our mind and moods by the following:
- Taking time to show appreciation and gratitude for the smallest of things.
- Pausing between tasks for a few moments to gather our thoughts and visualise what we are going to do next. This is called Segment Intending.
- Positive thinking, as soon as we recognise we have a negative thought replace it with something positive.
- Small 1-2 mins of short mindfulness practice.
- Taking a walk and ‘breathing in’ what nature has to offer.
- A random act of kindness to a colleague, friend, family member or complete stranger.
These might seem a bit prosaic during our manic day, but they are proven to improve our mental state, wellbeing and happiness.
Keep these concepts in place, as back of pocket tools we can bring out when needed. So when the corrosive thoughts come and visit us we can develop our emotional pause button….stop and use one of the techniques mentioned above.
These small pauses really make a difference, a recent study at Microsoft found small pauses to breathe/practice mindfulness in between tasks during the day physically reduced stress in the body and mind.
We’ve developed a daily mental fitness toolkit in our Pocket Mentor app to support you to implement tools like gratitude, affirmations, journaling and breathwork into helpful habits during busy days.
Routine 2: Evening Digital Shutdown
Being always on is not good for our mind and wellbeing. Get into the routine of setting a time when you come out of work mode, perhaps by setting an alarm on your phone. Bear in mind this may change each day, so perhaps as part of your early morning club look at the day ahead, decide your ‘off’ time and set the alarm.
At this time, turn off incoming alerts from your devices and challenge yourself not to look at them to you finish your EMC ( Early Morning Club) the following day.
Spend a couple of minutes reflecting on the day – what went well, what progress did you make, what did you learn? For maximum impact jot your answers down, the reflection tool in our Pocket Mentor app provides a space to do this.
As a wise man once said ‘our calm mind is our ultimate weapon against our challenges’ and the routines and tool kit mentioned will help us develop a calmer mind. A calm mind is more critical, now more than ever during the challenges we experience balancing work and home life and the wider economical uncertainty.
If prioritising your mental fitness is something you would like support with, reach out by sending us the message ‘MENTAL FITNESS’ using the form below and we’ll point you in the right direction of helpful resources.