Why Mental Fitness Matters
At FitTown Jupiter, we’ve talked about the importance of mental, emotional, and spiritual health to accompany your physical health. What if these things weren’t just a “nice to have”, but actually a must-have in order to be physically fit?
Can we be physically fit while being unwell mentally?
When we think about mental health, most go to thoughts about anxiety or depression. They think about the drugs involved like anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, stimulants, and mood stabilizers.
While these conditions are important to address, most of you reading this today aren’t battling depression and popping Prozac. Most of you want to reach your healthiest point physically, and to do that, you have to lead with your strongest point mentally.
When it comes to the mind-body relationship, I would suggest that the body can’t go where the mind is not willing to take it. Therefore, optimal mental fitness is required in order to achieve your highest physical fitness.
In times of challenge and stress, it is our mindset and character that we fall back on to help us through it. Without that strong foundation, we fail and give up, or we may never take the leap of faith at all.
This is one of the reasons why our members at FitTown Jupiter will begin to see “programming” around “mindset fitness.” We’ve always been intentional about what we do physically, spending hours each week creating the workouts we do. And now we’re giving more intention and structure to what we choose to strengthen mentally. Roughly every month we will have a new focus, kicking off with “Confidence” as our first mindset training.
I recently finished a book called “The Power of Positive Thinking: A Practical Guide to Mastering the Problems of Everyday Living” by Norman Vincent Peale. If the title sounds a little old school that’s because it is, it is from 1952.
My last post, “The Voices in Your Head” talked about how we’ve taken on the profession of critic. This book has more than it’s fair share of critics, many who write it off as a type of positive hypnosis. If you’ve read my content before, you know I’d rather have an overly positive subconscious that might mislead you into trying new things and taking new risks, instead of a negative undertow that pulls you under and keeps you below the surface.
Over this past year going through the coronavirus pandemic, I can’t help but notice the negative undertones of the rhetoric that’s out there. I’m not going to argue that, “mask-wearing saves lives.”
But I will point out as a side-effect, mask-wearing subconsciously leads you to believe there’s always a possibility you can be sick.
“But what if I feel 100% fine?”
The CDC says, even if you feel incredible, you still could be sick, and therefore you should act as such.
When you see everyone masked up, your mind is led to believe you are more likely to be sick than not. When in reality, the chances of actually getting sick or diagnosed with a disease are incredibly slim. If you think about all the days on this planet that you’ve been well, and all the days you’ve been sick, the days you’ve been well will completely obliterate any legs the sick days have to stand on.
This planted seed of the thought of sickness, has, and will, lead to more sickness.
Not necessarily sickness of COVID-19, but rises in other types of sickness, disease, and cancers. If you’re not familiar with the term hypochrondria, you will be. It’s where people can literally worry themselves sick and it’s happening more and more as we’re fed headlines of sickness.
We’re going to reap what we sow when it comes to planting seeds of sickness.
It’s our job as fitness professionals to make sure those seeds don’t get watered and actually replaced with seeds of positivity.
In “The Power of Positive Thinking”, Peale retells a story about a physician he met who had recently been discharged from military service and had resumed his civilian practice. The physician said to him, “Upon my return from the Army, I noticed a change in my patients’ troubles. I found that a high percentage do not need medicine but better thought patterns. They are not sick in their bodies so much as they are sick in their thoughts and emotions. They are all mixed up with fear thoughts, inferiority feelings, guilt, and resentment. I found that in treating them I needed to be about as much a psychiatrist as a physician, and then I discovered that not even those therapies helped me fully to do my job. I became aware that in many cases the basic trouble with people was spiritual. So I found myself frequently quoting the Bible to them. Then I fell into the habit of ‘prescribing’ religious and inspirational books, especially those that give guidance in how to live.” Directing his statements to me, he said, “It’s about time you ministers began to realize that in the healing of many people you, too, have a function to perform. Of course, you are not going to overlap on the work of the physician any more than we shall intrude on your function, but we doctors need the co-operation of ministers in helping people find health and well-being.”
Towards the end you see the physician calling on the cooperation of the ministers to use their influence to heal people’s minds and hopefully prevent sickness.
I don’t think I could have come across this paragraph at a better time because I fully believe our coaches at FitTown are these ministers right now in our world. They may not be preaching the word of God, but they are spreading words of positivity to counteract negative influences.
Our coaches often find themselves in the place of the psychiatrist too and that’s fully ok with us, as long as we know our professional limits in what we recommend to our members.
We as coaches know that most “do not need medicine”, but need “better thought patterns.” We are here to help you build the foundation of a strong mindset that will uphold all the other pillars of your health, your exercise, sleep, nutrition, hydration, and stress.
If we can be mentally fit, there is no limit to where our physical fitness can take us.
I’m excited to take on this new adventure with our members and work through our monthly mental concepts and mindset training days. It will be fun to train our minds as we’ve always trained our bodies.
If you were to choose a topic around mindset to tackle and get better at, what would it be?
“If you put negative thoughts into your mind, you’re going to get negative results. It’s just as true that if you put positive thoughts in your mind, you will be a recipient of positive results.”
– Lou Holtz