Selena Gomez has long been open about her mental health, and now she wants everyone to reap the benefits of working on their “mental fitness.”
The 29-year-old singer and actor started a mental health platform called Wondermind (wondermind.com) and told InStyle, “We think exercising your brain and your mental health is just as important as exercising. of your body.”
Mental fitness consists of small daily things you can do to improve your psychological and emotional well-being. Gomez says she maintains her sanity by “reaching out to friends or family to talk about my feelings, and I also recommend exercising – I’ve taken a lot of high-intensity training classes, like boxing, which allows me to release my energy!”
In 2020, Gomez revealed that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and often gives insight into how she takes care of herself, including going to therapy and avoiding social media.
Wondermind does not claim to replace therapy, but says: “You train your body, but what about your mind? For us, mental fitness means creating a routine; working on your feelings to better understand your mind – with the right tools and community to support growth. That means engaging in daily practice, even when you feel out of your comfort zone (which shows it works!)”
If you have mental health issues, it’s worth talking to your GP, calling the Samaritans on 116 123 or going to the Mind website (mind.org.uk) for advice on mental health. emergency or crisis resources. But if you’re looking to work on your mental fitness and make a few small, practical changes every day to improve your overall well-being, there are some things you can try…
“Find ways to embrace gratitude every day,” says Simon Alexander Ong, author of Energize (order now at getenergizebook.com). “Write a letter to someone telling them why you are grateful, send a voice note to someone saying thank you for their support, or bring a colleague aside to express their thanks for their hard work. life is guaranteed to elevate your mental energy and mood.”
Dr Deborah Lee of Dr Fox Online Pharmacy (doctorfox.co.uk) suggests that practicing kindness every day could help improve your own mental health.
“Being kind to others will increase your sense of worth and self-esteem, which leads to happiness and greater enjoyment in life,” she says. “You could sign up as a volunteer or visit an elderly neighbour. You could decide to walk a dog for a friend, start babysitting or even become a blood donor, for example.”
try to meditate
“Just as you might lift weights in the gym, you can build mental fitness with tools like meditation,” says Anne-Sophie Fluri, neuroscientist at mindfulness app MindLabs (wearemindlabs.com).
“By bringing your attention to the present moment and helping you observe your thoughts and feelings without letting them consume you, mindfulness is a great tool for developing your mental fitness. Meditation helps facilitate real changes in the brain , helping you feel less anxious, improve your mood and focus, and become more self-aware.”
If you’re new to meditation, try apps like MindLabs or Headspace to get you started.
Schedule of rest periods
We all have busy lives and it’s easy to get caught up in everything going on – only to find you’re exhausted when it’s too late. Ong recommends setting aside time to rest each day, as it is “the space where our creativity flourishes, our wisdom rises to the surface, and ideas are born.”
He advises treating these downtimes as you would meetings or social events, saying, “Making this part of your routine will help you stay mentally fit and get back to whatever you were doing recharged, rejuvenated. and ready for anything the world can throw your way.”
Write down your feelings
“You can’t have self-development without self-awareness, because you just can’t change what you’re not aware of,” Ong says. “That’s why true wisdom begins with understanding yourself.”
He recommends keeping a regular diary, calling it “the cheapest form of therapy there is.” Ong continues, “By understanding your way of thinking, not only do you know yourself better, but you feel a greater sense of clarity and [can] channel your energy into what you can control rather than what you can’t. It helps to deepen the relationship you have with yourself.”
Fluri says journaling can help with emotional regulation, adding, “Learning to manage your emotions is an important part of mental fitness. The key to this is self-soothing: finding constructive ways to tolerate distress and comfort ourselves.
Take a cold shower in the morning
It might not sound like the most appealing way to start your day, but there’s a growing movement advocating for the mental health benefits of cold water therapy. Be careful with this if you have existing health conditions, but Lee suggests that a cold shower can “elevate levels of endorphins, the natural chemicals released in the brain that give you a ‘high’.”
Lee adds: “Cold water immersion also reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Interestingly, the greatest benefit of the cold shower is within the first minute or two – there’s no real added benefit to gritting your teeth and forcing yourself to stay under the cold water too long!”
Practice good self-care
Fluri says, “A resilient brain is a well-nourished, well-rested, well-groomed brain. Taking good care of yourself is key to looking your best and protecting yourself from stress and burnout.”
Find out what works best for you – whether it’s taking a bath, going for a walk in nature or listening to music – anything that gives you the opportunity to focus on your diet.