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What is mental fitness?  And why the hell should we care?

mental fitness mindurance Jul 12, 2020

 

When you get a chance, type “Mental health” into Google.  Notice what results.  I’ll do the leg work…see below.

 

Now type, “mental illness” into Google.  Notice the results below. 

 

Notice the difference? Me neither…they’re the same. When you type Mental Health you get Mental Disorders listed in the search results.  When you type Mental Illness you also get mental disorders listed in the search results.  So whether you type mental health or mental illness you get the same results….disorders. Interesting right?  When did Mental Health become synonymous with mental illness? Shouldn’t they be separate constructs?

 

For instance, if you type “physical health” you don’t get a list of physical ailments or diseases.  If you type “financial health” you don’t get a listing of financial struggles like low credit, bankruptcy etc.  If I search for “Hair Care” in Google, I shouldn’t get results for balding.

 

So why is it when we search for answers/practices/tactics for strong mental health that we get reminded or informed of the distressing (and less common) negative results of poor mental health…i.e., mental disorders. Instead, if I type mental health, shouldn’t I be presented with a list of practices that promote positive mood, effective decision making, etc. It doesn’t make sense.  Yet this is what is happening.

 

Conversely, now take a moment and type Mental Fitness into Google.  Now look what happens.  Tips, suggestions, tactics on how to improve one’s, dare I say it, mental health.  

 

As Google and the rest of the world struggle to differentiate between mental health and mental illness, we focus on what we call Mental Fitness.  We help high-performers across industries minimize mental barriers and maximize life by developing personal mental fitness. 

 

First, what is mental fitness? Let’s go back to Google…Result: the act of keeping your brain and emotional health in tip-top shape.  Hmm, now that’s a definition I can relate to.  That’s what I want in my own life and that’s what I want to help others achieve.  Now don’t get me wrong there are plenty of things that I do to compromise my “brain and emotional health” and I suspect you do too, however we can all probably do a little better in our pursuits.  Kinda like with physical health.  We go to the gym, have an alright diet, try to get good sleep, however there are times we fall off the wagon. The same cycle applies with mental fitness.  There are tips, strategies, and techniques that help cultivate mental fitness and there are those activities that hinder it.  That’s life baby. I’ll deep dive more in another blog about what Mindurance believes to be the key essential elements of mental fitness. (confidence, composure, concentration, amongst others), but for now let’s agree that mental fitness is the result of doing, feeling, or thinking things that promote our brain and emotional health.   

 

Second, who are high performers? There’s an old adage in marketing that if you try to be everything to everyone that you’ll be nothing to no one.  Despite my inner optimistic visionary yelling that mental fitness applies to ALL and that EVERYONE can benefit from Mindurance, the reality is some people just don’t give a shit.  That’s a fact of life.  And that’s Ok.  There are some individuals who are not intrigued or interested in enhancing their capacities in life.  We don’t focus on them and don’t expect them to pay us any attention. Our focus is on those individuals that seek to perform at a higher and more consistently maximized manner.  They want to squeeze what they can from the fruit of life.  What type of people are these?  Well, categorically, they are athletes, performing artists, musicians, frontline responders, medical professionals, business executives, entrepreneurs, etc.  These are individuals who are tasked with a challenge ahead that they want to pursue in the most capable way possible. Some might say, they are heroes called to save the day. Yet, as all heroes discover, there are barriers to achieving these goals.

 

Which brings me to the barriers of life.  A simple way to view what constitutes high performance is to break it down as follows.  In order to perform, one must maximize the physical, technical, tactical, social, and mental elements relevant to that performance. A physically undersized linebacker might not achieve success.  A technically struggling dancer might not make it to lead.  A business owner with a short-sighted tactical strategy for success might fail as an entrepreneur.  An individual might struggle in a relationship if the other person isn’t a good fit.  And finally, a med student might not succeed in clinicals if they lack confidence in their abilities. The barriers inhibiting success can come in many forms, but the focus of Mindurance is assessing, diagnosing, and intervening with high performers that are struggling with the mentally-relevant barriers of life.  We will not write a workout routine for the linebacker, we won’t help the dancer with first position, we might not possess the acumen necessary to achieve strategic success for the business owner, and we don’t play matchmaker.  However, we will help with that med student’s confidence and help discover how mental fitness could also contribute to those aforementioned use-cases.  Could the linebacker use more motivation to lift? Could the dancer harness attentional skills to benefit her technical abilities? Could the business owner benefit from a life design discussion to uncover that which he wants from his business…and his life? Could the relational partner identify the key attributes he desires in a relationship and brainstorm ways of seeking out this type of person? In these regards, mental fitness could be at play in some more or less obvious ways that are all aimed at removing barriers…be them physical, technical, tactical, social, and of course, mental, in nature.

 

So what now? Well my guess is that if you have read this far you likely have or are experiencing some mental barrier(s) in your life.  You care because you’re a high performer and you dislike or can’t allow this barrier to inhibit your progress.  So you’re looking for help.  You’re on the hero's journey and you’ve encountered this disruptive barrier and you need a set of tools or a supportive guide to help you navigate over, around, or through that barrier and onto your desired success.  Well those set of tools is mental fitness….and your guide is Mindurance.  Mind if I join you?  

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