For the body to become fit, we need our minds to have a good workout, too. And that’s because a fit mind can achieve mental balance – a vital ingredient for exercise to be how we’d really like it; more fun, more effective and much more sustainable. But to get mind fit, you need to achieve a healthy mental balance.
What is mental balance?
Mental balance is a state of mind that lies between ‘committed focus’ and ‘relaxed ease.’ It stems from self-awareness, and allows us to step back from our constant stream of thoughts, and instead, make space in the mind to focus and become aware of the moment.
Mindfulness is the technique most often prescribed to achieve mental balance. That’s because it gives us the clarity and lack of distraction to perform our exercises to our full potential. We feel more confident doing them, so we do them better – carrying them out with a sense of flow and naturalness.
But what are the best ways to use mindfulness to keep mind fit?
Try these top mind fit tips:
- Learn how to meditate. Sharpen your focus and relax your mind. Try our free Take10 program to see how you can apply mindfulness to everyday life.
- Understand your motivation. What do you really want from your workout? Once this is clear, you’re much more likely to achieve your goals.
- Set realistic goals. Aim too high and you’ll become disappointed. Identify the small steps and you’ll be on your way to a long, steady and successful journey.
- Create a new habit. Same place, same time is crucial, so find a space and time in the diary when you know you can make it happen.
- Use your imagination. Mentally rehearsing your exercise is proven to give quicker results and boost your confidence. Professional athletes have done this for decades – join them!
- Think less, do more. Use mindfulness to retain your focus on the present moment. Let go of your passing thoughts and enjoy a more focused, productive workout.
- Be flexible. Things don’t always go to plan, so when you miss a session or two – just accept it and get going again the very next day.
- Have fun! Exercise is inherently fun; don’t push so hard you lose sight of this. Instead of your workout feeling like a chore, appreciate it as time out of a busy day.
- Congratulate yourself. Feel good about completing your workout; it’ll make the mind calmer, more content and friendlier.
- Integrate your fitness. Whether that’s cycling to work or playing more energetically with the children – look for opportunities to use your new-found fitness within everyday life.
As our foundation to mindfulness, regular meditation familiarizes us with what it means to be in the present moment. It shows us that when we’re not distracted by our thoughts, we can simply focus on the exercise we’re doing and use clarity to make every workout really productive.
In fact, meditation does for our minds what weights in the gym do for our muscles – using short periods of intensive training to strengthen and increase ability and fitness.
And by combining meditation with our other mindfulness tips, the mind benefits from an all-round workout. Which means that mental balance, and exercise that’s more focused, effective and fun will come to us naturally.