We all know the importance of physical fitness in keeping us healthy and vibrant throughout our lives. What you may not know is that mental fitness is equally important. In fact, the two are intertwined. Neglecting your mental health can make you less resilient to life’s ups and downs, leaving you more likely to make poor lifestyle choices. You can only achieve mental fitness if your body is functioning well.
What is mental fitness?
Just as there are four components to physical fitness—cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and a healthy weight—there are four components to mental fitness. These are:
- Emotional. This includes self-acceptance, self-esteem, resilience, and the ability to manage strong emotions.
- Social. Friends are important because they bring companionship, support and enrichment to our lives. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who have friends are generally physically and emotionally healthier and enjoy a better quality of life.
- Financial. According to a 2016 study, 40 percent of us experience stress due to money issues, often enough to negatively affect our work and relationships. Financial wellness is not about having a certain amount of money at your disposal; it’s about feeling in control of your finances, being able to handle financial setbacks, and being on track to achieve your financial and life goals.
- Physical. Mental and physical fitness and health are intertwined. You can improve both through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep. You can also reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.
Taking steps to build your mental fitness enhances our ability to cope with stress and improves your physical health, productivity at work, relationships, and overall happiness. If you would like more support as you work to build your mental fitness, call your assistance program.