What is Mental Fitness?
Have you ever thought about how mentally fit you are? You’ve probably heard of the buzz term “mental toughness”, but have you heard of “mental fitness?” Mental fitness is the ability to live life in a satisfying and sustainable way that enables you to cope with day-to-day challenges. It’s not just about feeling and thinking good, it’s about helping you to perform at your best. In addition, as with physical fitness, you need to continue focusing on your fitness to maintain an optimal level. Alternatively, low levels of mental fitness can be improved with the right resources and effort, for instance.
Furthermore, with pandemics, work, study, sport, and relationships all carrying their own challenges and demand of your time, it is crucial for you to understand where your own mental fitness is. There are four key states of mental fitness that you may find yourself in. These include floundering, languishing, struggling, and thriving. Moreover, and most importantly, you should assess your mental fitness without any judgement.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How am I coping with stress?
- How am I performing at work and life?
- Which state am I in?
The state of floundering can be characterised by having low mental wellbeing and low performance. It is OK to be in this state occasionally. Remember, things are pretty crazy at the moment, especially with COVID-19, for example.
Indicators of the floundering state include:
- Feeling down, blue, depressed
- Feeling as though you are lacking purpose & meaning
- Little movement towards goals
- High levels of ruminative thinking
- Everything feels like a struggle
Languishing is when you are experiencing high levels of mental wellbeing and low levels of performance. While life is throwing little stress your way, you may lack progress, challenge, and achievement. As a result, this puts you at risk of developing a low self-esteem and drop in your mental health.
Indicators of the languishing state include:
- Feeling carefree & easy
- Rust out: losing skills & abilities previously held
- Lacking discipline
- Lacking momentum in life
This state of struggling is characterised by low levels of mental wellbeing and high levels of performance. This is unsustainable and places you at risk of burnout.
Indicators of the struggling state include:
- Prioritising work over self
- Beginning to feel overwhelmed
- Tired & overworked
- Sacrificing self-care: sleep, exercise, good eating, relationships
This is the desirable state of mental fitness. In this thriving state, you have high levels of mental wellbeing AND performance. This is the sweet spot of mental fitness because it will lead to consistent positive mental wellbeing and continued pursuits of purpose.
Indicators of the thriving state include:
- Ability to integrate life and work positively
- Feeling in control & capable
- Responding well to challenges & setbacks
- Feeling of a flow state
- Consistent emotional and mental state.