If you spend hours every day in a sitting position, the shape of your spine changes. If you shove your feet every day into shoes that don’t allow for their natural movement, the shape of your feet will change. That’s what our body does; it adapts to how we use it.
So does our mind. We’re all familiar with the concept of exercise to shape the body. What do you do to shape your mind?
Now more than ever, as we adapt to extraordinary times, it is essential that we spend as much time tending to our mental shape as our physical shape. You can already find reporting on the toll of this crisis on our collective mental health – and not just among the emergency personnel, health care providers working to save lives, and families with ill loved ones. Their trauma is hard to fathom. For many others, stir-crazy (definition: distraught because of prolonged confinement) is about to become a very real thing.
Marcus Aurelius also said this: “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” Developing that strength is essential, for yourself and those who need you.
Take steps daily to tend your mental health and strengthen your mental muscles. Some options:
- Meditate. Meditation is the original training of the mind. Options are endless; Waking Up , Headspace , Mindful. Many have free programs now.
- Practice box breathing.
- Keep to a schedule. Bringing order and routine to your day eases stress and enhances self-control.
- Limit your news and social media.
- Write. Better out than in. Write (scribble) your thoughts on paper. What you do with it after that is up to you. (Got a fire pit?)
Mental fitness is no different than physical fitness; the more you practice the greater the benefit. You can do it.
Be well, stay well, help others.