“Thinking is the toughest kind of work which is why so many people avoid it.”
Thinking involves brain and fitness of our brain improves quality of our thinking. Exercise is good for physical fitness. But the majority of modern-day diseases are a psychosomatic disease. This means connected with both – the mind and the body.
We focus on our physical fitness (most are even not doing anything about the physical fitness also) and ignore our mental fitness. We lack emotional intelligence, we lack the ability of a considered response in a given situation, and we suffer from many mental blocks. Physically fit people many times are mentally sick or weak. The worst part is we don’t know the health of our mind and we don’t do anything about it.
“Every sixth Indian need mental health help.” National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16.
As per the American Psychiatrist Association, following are the symptoms of Mental Illness.
- Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others
- Drop in functioning — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain
- Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations
- Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
- Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality
- Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult
- Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
- Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior
- Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care
- Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings
Wake up before its too late. Here are some of the ways to improve your brain health and fitness.
Exercise does help our mental fitness. Harvard Health Publishing article 12 ways to keep your brain young, writes;
Animals who exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought. Exercise also spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells (synapses). This results in brains that are more efficient, plastic, and adaptive, which translates into better performance in aging animals. Exercise also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, helps blood sugar balance and reduces mental stress, all of which can help your brain as well as your heart.
Alchohol/Smoking and Mental Health:
The article also recommends avoiding excessive alcohol as it can higher the risk of dementia. A good social network can lower the dementia risk. Even smoking is worst and could cause Dementia.
Those who smoked between half and one pack a day had a 44 percent increased risk of developing dementia. Even the lowest level of smoker had a 37 percent increased risk. The good news is that those people in the study who used to smoke but stopped had no increased risk of dementia and had normal brain functioning into old age. (1)
Mentally Active Life
Another important thing one can do is to keep a high level of mental activity. In his article 10 ways to improve brain health, the author Bryan Roche, Ph.D.writes;
Exercising the brain and keeping mentally active is always a good idea. Fun activities like crosswords, Sudoku or whatever teases your gray matter, have long been suspected by neuroscientists to help improve your cognitive ability. Even struggling to understand a map, or a badly written flat-pack furniture assembly guide will exercise your spatial and reasoning abilities.
One of the simplest things you can do to make your brain sweat is to try to understand points of views that you do not agree with. Open your mind and listen to arguments that make no sense to you—and try to find some sense in them.
Emotional Intelligence (EI):
Emotional Intelligence also helps us improve our mental health. We are neither aware of our EI nor do we know it as a thing which can be learned and improved.
What is emotional intelligence?
It is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Dr. Happy of HIF Blog suggests ways to improve EI;
- To manage something better we first need to know what it is we’re managing, but many of us don’t pay enough attention to our thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. Mindfulness, therefore, observing our emotions without judgment, is crucial to EI and to manage our moods. So set aside a few minutes each and every day to just sit with your feelings, whatever they might be at that point in time
- Take responsibility for how you react to your emotions – once we’re aware of how we’re feeling it’s then worth spending some time reflecting on how we typically react to these feelings.
- Learn to respond, consciously, rather than react automatically – too often, too many of us react to emotions and to situations without really thinking; and not surprisingly, this isn’t always the best way to respond.
- Learn to listen, really listen to others – because EI is not just managing one’s own emotions, but also responding appropriately to other people’s emotions, the ability to accurately perceive how someone else is feeling is vitally important.
- Listen also, with your eyes – in addition to listening to what the other person is saying, it’s also important to look at how they’re behaving. Keep an eye out for non-verbal, behavioral signals, that might be indicative of stress or anxiety, sadness or grief, frustration or anger.
Meditation helps us to become aware of our thought processes and emotions. Practice it daily and observe our thoughts and emotions.
Handpicked related post: Know why will you meditate from today
There are bestselling books titled Emotional Intelligence and Working with Emotional Intelligence. The author of both the books Daniel Goleman says;
“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand if you don’t have self-awareness if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
Mental health is extremely important. Not being aware of it and not paying attention could be dangerous as we age. Do something daily.
Handpicked related post: Anushka Sharma and Depression