6 tips for staying mentally fit

You probably know that it’s important to stay physically fit… but did you know that it’s just as important to stay mentally fit? 

Research shows that physical fitness and mental health are linked. The “mind-body connection” isn’t just something a fitness guru invented. Your thoughts and feelings can either positively influence your body, or affect it negatively in a very serious way. 

For example, if you’re stressed at work, you might think that losing hours of sleep to get a project done is no big deal. However, if you’re constantly stressed out and decide to ignore it, your body will manifest it somewhere physically. That might include anything from chest pains to headaches, dizziness, high blood pressure, and panic attacks. 

Putting effort into staying mentally fit can prevent that from happening, and it will help you feel better overall. 

With that in mind, here are 6 easy and helpful ways to stay mentally fit:

Tip 1: Exercise and move your body

Your body was made to move! Research shows that regular exercise floods you with endorphins, which can boost your mood and help improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. 

If you don’t exercise regularly, you don’t need to sign up for an expensive gym or start an intense program. Even a 5-minute walk outside can help improve your mood! 

When it comes to exercise, make sure to pick an activity that you enjoy. If you’ve chosen running but you absolutely hate to run, it’s going to be hard to find the motivation to get your body moving when you need it to. Some other healthy activities include:

  • pilates
  • yoga
  • dancing
  • team sports
  • biking
  • hiking

And of course, there’s so much more. If you don’t have the time to work out, doing some simple stretches every day can help improve your mood as well. 

Tip 2: Keep up with therapy and medication even if you’re feeling “better”

If you’ve been in therapy and/or on medication for a while, it would make sense if you started feeling better and more like yourself again. Which is great! 

But – it’s still very important to keep up with going to therapy and taking your medication.

Too often, people decide to end their therapy sessions or stop taking their medication because they feel better. However, once you stop taking care of your mental health in this way, things can very easily go back to the way they were before.

For example – if you’ve been going to the gym for a while and working out, you’ll see a difference.

If you want to keep it that way, you don’t stop going to the gym! Showing up regularly helps you maintain a healthy body. It’s the same thing when it comes to your mental health. 

Even if you think there’s nothing to talk about in your next session, you can still gain a lot of value from just talking about what’s going on in your life with a therapist. 

You especially shouldn’t make any changes to your medication routine without seeing your prescribing provider, otherwise that could lead to some significantly harmful effects on your body.

Tip 3: Eat a healthy and nutritious diet

Eating a healthy diet is an important part of staying mentally fit. Studies have shown that what you put into your body could be directly related to your mental health. 

It may be easy at the end of a long day to just order your dinner online, but taking a bit more time to put together some simple, healthy meals can go a long way to improving your mental health. 

When you’re living with depression and anxiety, you may not have the energy to put together a full meal for yourself. If all you have the energy and appetite for is celery and peanut butter, or maybe some avocado toast, that’s infinitely better than only eating junk or frozen food.

Want help getting through the day when feeling low? Putting together a simple, healthy meal, like: 

  • whole-wheat pasta with spinach
  • peanut butter toast
  • canned vegetables and soups 

There are plenty of possibilities!

Tip 4: Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine

Mindfulness is a powerful way to stay mentally fit. Being mindful is simply the ability to be fully present in the moment, accepting the things that come your way with an attitude of openness. 

Research shows that mindfulness and the practices that come along with it can reduce stress and improve both long-term mental and physical health.

Some simple ways to practice mindfulness include:

  • meditating
  • observing the present moment
  • connecting with your senses
  • observing your breathing

Instead of constantly thinking about the next thing on your to-do list, take some time to meditate and be mindful. You can clear some space in your mind that way, which can allow you to de-stress and relax. Taking a moment to pause and simply observe where you are will help your mind stay mentally healthy. 

The best part – you can start anytime you want.

Tip 5: Practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercises

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that examines the relationship between your cognition and your behavior. It explores how your thoughts and memories affect your emotions and feelings. CBT exercises are designed to help you recognize when you have negative thought patterns or beliefs that impact your behavior and emotions. 

CBT exercises are a powerful way to stay mentally fit. Studies have shown that internet-based CBT exercises can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia, especially when combined with support from a mental health professional.

Some examples of CBT exercises include:

  • journaling
  • rescripting
  • relaxed breathing
  • cognitive restructuring

Cerebral members can now access a variety of CBT exercises anytime through the Cerebral app! You can now log in and access:

  • lessons for discovering how CBT can help with conditions like depression, anxiety, and more
  • interactive worksheets that put CBT into action and help you explore your thoughts and behaviors
  • information and exercises on grounding techniques

If you’re not a member yet, sign up today and learn more about how Cerebral supports CBT exercises.

Tip 6: Focus on self-care

Sadly, we’re not talking about a treat-yo-self day. Self-care may look different for everyone, and it’s not necessarily shopping sprees and spa days. It can also look like:

Skipping self-care can be detrimental for your mental health. Even a 5 minute break from the chaos of your day could help you function well mentally and enrich the rest of your life.-

As you can see, staying mentally fit is really important, and it goes hand-in-hand with staying physically fit. If you make time to do at least one of these tips everyday, your mind will thank you.

Here at Cerebral, we make it easier for you to stay mentally fit by providing a one-stop approach to mental healthcare that includes therapy, care counseling, and medication management. 

Thinking about signing up? Take your free emotional assessment today. 

Medically reviewed by: David Mou, MD, MBA

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  • If you are in emotional distress, here are some resources for immediate help:

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
    Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line:
    Text Home to 741-741
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