"What you choose to think and believe shapes who you are, and what you become."

We can train our brains to do just about anything. At a minimum to deal with the demands of modern day life. We have this facility, I like to use the term ‘psychological fitness’ to remind us that, just as with our physical fitness, we can train our brains to better meet the needs of our lives.

 

Being Proactive with Your Psychological Health

If there is one thing that we can be sure of in life, it’s that the next challenge is always around the corner. On top of this we all inhabit a highly mediated world in which we are bombarded with vast amounts of information, much of which can be disconcerting. We rely on our psychological health to help us process and manage these complexities, and to do so in such a way that allows us to continue to take care of ourselves and our loved ones regardless of what life throws at us. Below are some tips on how to achieve this through what I call the ‘Building Blocks of Great Psychological Health’.

 

Building Blocks

Self-Awareness

I often refer to self-awareness as the ‘I within you’. The key to developing this is becoming attuned to the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing, as well as the results these feeling are producing in your life, because you can be certain that they have a great influence on the direction of your journey. By actively processing your thoughts and feelings intellectually, you can avoid being ruled by your emotions, and gain much more agency with regard to your interpretation of events around you. This is an invaluable approach to life and a wonderful gift to pass on to your friends and family. The quality of your thinking, otherwise known as your psychological fitness, can actively influence the choices you make and indeed, the person you become. It is within each of us to manipulate the lens through which we view our lives. We can view failures as opportunities for growth, and obstacles as productive challenges. Healthy self-awareness can literally change how you perceive every aspect of your life.

 

Beliefs

We can view our brains as sophisticated computers, running programs and performing functions, many of which were embedded in our psyches at a very young age. These programs, or beliefs, greatly affect who we are and collectively make up the way we interact with the world around us. Seemingly innocuous embedded beliefs about our own abilities, or limitations, often create invisible binds which hold us back from realising our full potential.
Becoming aware of our embedded beliefs, and questioning them, can be the key to becoming empowered, energised, and open to the endless possibilities that each of our lives represent.

 

Willpower and Habit

Like Pavlov’s dog, we are all creatures of habit, and through repetition we often condition ourselves to repeat destructive behaviours or even thought processes. Thankfully, it is well within our power to use this power of conditioning to improve our lives. We must first understand that we are all inclined to continue thinking, feeling, and doing that which we have always thought, felt, and done. Armed with this knowledge we can introduce beneficial behaviours into our lives, re-conditioning ourselves to create better lives for ourselves and those around us. If you want to change your life, change your habits!

 

Self-Development

‘An Investment in Knowledge Always Pays the Best Interest.’
-Benjamin Franklin

It is an unfortunate reality of life that many people, as they get older, tend to become entrenched in their ideas and beliefs. It is hugely beneficial for our psychological health to maintain a spirit of openness and curiosity to the world around us. This openness to learning, translates into a greater ability to forgive, and to a greater ability to let go of, and move on from, difficult periods in your life. I believe passionately in the potential of education to improve your psychological health, increase your potential for happiness, and provide you with the tools to transform your life.

 

Benefits of Robust Psychological Health

  • Heightened awareness and concentration.
  • Boosted energy, creativity, and positivity.
  • Enhanced ability to focus and avoid becoming distracted.
  • Greater ability to see opportunities instead of obstacles.
  • Increased willingness to accept responsibility, and less likely to make excuses or seek external points of blame.
  • Reduced likelihood of procrastination.
  • Proactive rather than Reactive – be the master of your own destiny.
  • Improved ability to cultivate realistic optimism.
  • Better time management.
  • Enriched openness to new ideas and possibilities
  • Developed skills and abilities to deal with stress
  • Fortified willpower
  • Improved ability to build new positive habits and break old negative habits
  • Better able to set and work towards goals

 

Self-Assessment Quiz on Psychological Health

Try this simple self-assessment quiz to evaluate your psychological health:

  • Can you maintain focus without finding that your mind wanders?
  • Do you meditate?
  • Do you allow yourself moments of silence and solitude on a regular basis?
  • Do your beliefs facilitate you taking the steps you need to reach your full potential?
  • Do you find it easy to de-stress and separate yourself from your worries?
  • Do you control the influence of your inner critic by actively evaluating what it says to you?
  • Do you keep a journal?
  • Do you have strong willpower?
  • Do you find it easy to build new habits or break old habits?
  • Do you regularly read or actively engage in learning new things?

If you answered ‘No’ to any of these questions, it may represent an opportunity to enhance your physical health and wellbeing.

 

Ways to Strengthen Psychological Fitness

  • Keep a Journal. This is an excellent habit for increased self-awareness and re-contextualizing our experiences
  • Become more mindful.
  • Start meditation.
  • Spend time regularly in silence and solitude.
  • Spend time in Nature
  • Learn how to strengthen your willpower.
  • Make regular exercise one of your health and happiness-boosting habits.
  • Develop your ability to de-stress, relax and unwind. Find out what works for you.
  • Laugh more, lighten up, embrace moments of joy.
  • Be impeccable with your words – where your words go your energy flows.
  • Eat more healthfully ( more whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruit, lean protein sources, nuts, seeds, beans, omega-3 fats) and stay away from sugar and fried or processed foods.
  • Always be reading something, keep a book next to your bed.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Set and work towards some goals consistent with your values
  • Make time to do more of what you love and love what you do.
  • Strengthen your other pillars of health (Spiritual, Physical and Emotional)