When I visit my doctor for a routine check-up, she checks my blood pressure, listens to my chest and perhaps will take some blood tests. When I met up with my personal trainer initially, he started by measuring my resting heart rate, BMI and weight to establish my level of fitness.
So, what about ‘mental fitness’?
Are you mentally fit?
You do not have to be physically able to be mentally fit. In fact, many people would say that their mental fitness actually increased following a severe physical illness or accident. The three main areas of mental fitness are;
- Self-motivation and confidence
- Self-discipline and habits
For the purposes of this article, I am going to focus on self-resilience. Resilience is your ability to recover quickly from setback and disappointment and is like any other fitness, in that you need to practice it regularly, so that it is there when you need it. After a severe illness or injury, there are many things that you can no longer do, and you are adjusting to your life. You get up every day; you are adapting. In essence, each one of you is resilient.
There are certain things that we can all look at to help us get back into the driving seat of our own lives even more. One major factor, which we all have to some degree, is self-limiting beliefs. We all have self-limiting beliefs; these connect use with the world around us. We get these from many sources, our parents, our role models, our education, our culture, organisation or group, our experience, our pain memory and our emerging self- awareness. The problem with these self-limiting beliefs, however, is that we often are not aware of their presence and therefore fail to recognise them for what they are – Roadblocks that hold us back!
Here are some examples:
- I’m not the type to be self-motivated
- I’m a procrastinator
- I should be better able to cope/manage my pain
- I must be doing something wrong
- I can’t get organised
- I’m not confident enough
Reclaim You Full Power
For each belief, you subconsciously create mental rules that govern your behaviour. To gain a better understanding of who you are, and to fully reclaim your full power again, it is helpful to start by eliminating the four things that you are not:
- Your past circumstances (Try recalling 1-3 that have held you back until today)
- Your present circumstances (Name 1-3 things that are holding you up right now)
- Other people’s opinions (Identify 1-3 limiting beliefs that you have accepted from someone else)
- Your inner critic (List 1-3 things that you often tell yourself, which are limiting in essence)
There are times when our limiting beliefs keep us from harm and are worth keeping, however many of us err on the side of perceived safety. Next time the event or experience presents itself, see what happens first. Is it the thought: ‘I can’t, just in case’? What if you changed that thought to something like: ’I’m doing this and I’m going to enjoy it’!
Your Health and Your Life Can be Better
Henry Ford, the great motor industrialist, once said: ‘Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you cannot, you are right.’ We act in accordance with our beliefs. We defend them, so we need to ensure our beliefs serve our best interests. Think of how a tiny plant shoot manages to grow through concrete layers, and this is resilience. However the strength within you is no less incredible, for in spite of all the odds and everything that you have gone through – you are here right now, reading my article, still wanting to know more. I invite each one of you to believe your health and your life can be better. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can and will occur.
Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you cannot, you are right.
Have you ever walked into a dark room while still wearing sunglasses? You can’t see anything at first and fumble around trying to figure out where you are. This is the same as embracing your world. Your vision becomes so dark at times that you may miss all of the beautiful things right there before you. Take my challenge now, lift those shades off, have a good look around and embrace life!
Eileen Hopkins is a Life, Career, Pain Management & Speech Coach at Saol Coaching.