Mental Wellness: A Strong Mind Creates a Strong Body
Hitting the gym, going for a run, balanced diet. These are just a few of the things people think about when they talk about wellness or when they want to build a strong body. While these are all essential elements of creating a healthy body, it is extremely important that we add in one more – building up the most powerful organ of all, your brain. Mental wellness is an often overlooked, but vitally important part of creating a portrait of good health. Incorporating mental exercise, feeding your brain and maintaining positivity should be a daily part of any work-out routine or recovery plan.
In this article, we will discuss why mental wellness is so urgent, the characteristics of a mentally strong person, talk about how to build a good support system and even give some tips on what to do to build your brain power. Because we care, we believe that mental strength is a necessity for everyone – not just those in recovery or the friends and loved ones who are advocates.
Characteristics of a Mentally Strong Person
So, to outline why it is so important to obtain clarity of mind, let’s first take a look at what some of the characteristics are. As you read through this list, ask yourself if any of these are characteristics you already possess, or if you have a positive role model or peer in your life that does. Do any of these traits sound like something that would be a good practice and change in the right direction for your life?
Exhibiting true confidence is not an easy task, yet the more you can build your confidence and show it off, the more you will succeed. A favorite quote of mine went something along the lines of, “go into every situation with as much confidence as knowledge”. This couldn’t be more true. According to Huffpost.com, studies prove that a person who can present themselves confidently and sure of their work go on to earn higher wages and hold better positions. It takes a lot of mental strength to be confident, however.
The good news is, that confidence is a foundational pillar to many other aspects of mental wellness. As you work to build up your confidence, you will polish your sense of self worth, and feel strong enough to handle situations you couldn’t in the past.
The Ability to Say NO
This, in my opinion, is a direct byproduct of confidence and is a talent that few of us have and all of us need. If we learned anything from Jim Carrey’s Yes Man, it’s that not knowing when to say no can lead to some pretty odd situations. This is even more true for those of us that are either in recovery, or looking to start a healthier path. Saying “no” may be hard, but it is important to remember that it is okay. This comes with the concept of putting yourself first, understanding your own self-worth and value, and making the conscious decision that your well-being is important.
This also helps you to sort out the toxic influences in your life. Difficult, abusive and negative relationships can be absolutely draining. Surrounding yourself with people who don’t uplift or inspire you can tear you down mentally, emotionally and physically. By learning to say “no”, you will quickly find who in your social circle truly has your best interests at heart. We’ll talk about this a little more when we discuss how to build a support group.
Another key factor in mental strength is emotional intelligence. Simply put, someone who is emotionally intelligent is able to process their thoughts and emotions – be them positive or negative and then do something productive with them. An emotionally intelligent individual is also adept at reading and understanding the emotions of those around them and channeling that into a source of positivity. Have you ever had a friend or family member who knew just the right thing to say and when to say it? Odds are, that person has a very high level of emotional intelligence! Skills like this can help you in work, friendships and romance.
These traits and characteristics usually don’t come naturally, but are all trained and sharpened by the help of a strong peer support group. Let’s talk about building a strong support system, and how this can be an essential part of your mental weight lifting.
Creating a Support System
Life is not meant to be lived alone. We are social animals and having the love and support of others is a profound way to boost up your mental, physical and emotional wellness. What makes this even more important, is that even if you don’t realize it, by mirroring that love, support and positivity, you are becoming a strong piece of hope and sunshine for someone else. But what makes a good social support group? What should you look for, be it in your existing circles, or as you meet someone new? Here are some suggestions:
- Mutual Trust and Respect – this is a major part of any healthy relationship.
- Positivity – positivity fosters growth, just like sunshine to a flower.
- Judgment Free – a supportive peer will allow you to express yourself without judgment.
- Similarities – it can often be easier to trust and connect with someone who understands your journey.
- Honesty – probably one of the most important elements on this list.
Building Mental Wellness
So now that we’ve identified what mental wellness looks like, and some of the things you should look for in others to help you stay mentally strong, let’s talk about some of the approaches that you can take in your own home to work on your positive well-being.
Meditation and Yoga
When you think about meditation, do you picture sitting cross legged, with your eyes closed? Or do you picture it as intentionally setting some time aside to do something good for yourself? While many may say the first option, true meditation is the latter. The primary goal of meditation is to calm your mind and body. This tends to be a positive practice for those of us in recovery, as it helps to create a sense of distance from the desire to use. Meditation may also be a physical activity, such as yoga, breathing exercises or martial arts.
Like meditation, yoga uses intentional physical movement and breathing control to bring peace to the busy mind. Yoga emphasizes stress reduction and building willpower. For many, it serves as a powerful tool in filling the void that negative, unhealthy behaviors once strived to fill.
Reading and Creative Outlets
It is no secret that books are fuel for the mind. Expanding your imagination, filling it with imagery and words is just like filling up your belly. Finding a genre that fits your interests, spending time at a library or bookstore or even on the couch with an enjoyable book feels good. It creates a sense of excitement, it will build your vocabulary and it is an extremely positive hobby that you can talk about with friends. Reading not your preferred style? That is totally okay! There are thousands of free audiobooks out there that you can download directly on your phone, computer or tablet.
Other positive creative outlets, such as painting, writing or cooking are a more hands on approach to mental wellness. You may not have thought of these activities in this light, but imagine if you are making a new dish for the first time. You’ll need to look up and read a recipe, interpret it, collect the ingredients, prepare them in the right way and then, if you’re feeling fancy, you can even plate them to look more appealing. Seems like a pretty thought-provoking activity if you ask me!
Just as it is important to have a support system of family or friends to help you springboard into mental wellness, it is equally important to speak with someone outside of your circle who may have more professional advice. This a common rehabilitation practice for individuals in recovery, be it from substance abuse or mental illness and it is never something to be embarrassed of. You are not alone, and talking to someone who understands your feelings can make you feel more hopeful and better understand the feelings you maybe didn’t understand before. At Royal Life Detox, the majority of our staff members are in recovery themselves, and will be able to relate to you and your experience on a personal level.
According to MentalHealth.gov, a common myth, especially from those who are suffering from a mental illness or addiction is that there is no reason to talk to someone, when you can just take a pill. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, studies show that many individuals who work with an outside support system show great progress at any stage in their recovery.
By building your mind into a powerful advocate for positivity, your body will follow suit— the more your brain feels energized and strengthened, the more good choices you will want to make for your body, such as healthy eating, exercising and clean living. A mentally healthy brain craves a physically healthy body and the two will care for one another. Sometimes, we can’t always do it by ourselves and that is okay. Remember, that you are not alone. If you are looking to take the next steps into creating a more healthy lifestyle for yourself, but need additional support, we are always here to assist you.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction or mental health disorder, please reach out to us at 877-RECOVERY or 877-732-6837. Our team makes themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.