If that title has the ring of a typical fitness course to it, there’s a good reason. There are a lot of similarities between mental fitness and physical fitness. A mind burdened with useless attitudes is as unhealthy as a body blanketed with layers of fat. And wouldn’t you know, just like there are guaranteed prescriptions for bodily fitness, there are indeed several foolproof prescriptions for mental fitness. It’s two of those mental fitness prescriptions that I am going to touch upon now. They are uncannily similar to certain prescriptions for physical fitness. You’ll see…
The mental fitness prescriptions I’m talking about are mental weight training and a balanced mental diet.
Prescription 1: Mental Weight Training
So what is mental weight training? It’s making your mind do a specific exercise on a daily basis for 10 minutes. It strengthens your mind when you do it. The more you do it, the stronger your mind becomes. You see how it’s similar to weight training ?
Let’s give it a whirl. To start with, just sit in a place where you will not be distracted by outside elements. Tell everyone around you that you do not want to be disturbed for 10 minutes; switch your phone off or tell someone else to answer it and say you are busy, and if possible close the door to the room in which you are sitting.
Now close your eyes and watch your breath. Breathe slowly; be conscious of your breath flowing into your nostrils, streaming into your lungs and then slowly flowing out of your lungs and out through your nostrils. If your mind gets pulled off in a different direction while you are trying to do this, don’t worry, it’s natural. What you have to do is give more importance to your breath-watching. The only reason that your mind gets pulled off onto other subjects is that you think they are more important than your breath-watching exercise. Trust me and re-align your priorities.
Perform this exercise for 10 minutes every day. Over time (maybe even in a week), you will find that at the end of the 10 minutes your mind feels wonderfully refreshed. How long it takes for this obvious phenomenon to occur basically depends on how well and how many times you perform the exercise. ‘How well’ means how good your concentration was (recap what I said about distractions). In a nutshell, the more regular and less distracted you are, the faster you will get results.
If you keep the exercise going for some months, you will find that the refreshed feeling persists long after you’ve gotten up and gone back to the rest of your daily routine. The fact is that you would have become a somewhat calmer person on the whole.
After that happens, you’ll start wanting that calm all the time (I mean, who doesn’t want more of a good thing?), for which there are more methods, but first please do what I have just described, that will be plenty for now…
Prescription 2: Follow a Balanced Mental Diet
So what is a balanced mental diet?
A balanced mental diet consists of inputs that do not upset your mind but instead enhance the performance of your mind.
Inputs that upset your mind (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Violent or depressing movies, songs, speeches and writings
- Hanging out with people who have a negative, violent or antisocial attitude
- Abused drugs.
Inputs that enhance the performance of your mind (again, not an exhaustive list):
- Movies, songs, speeches and writings that carry a positive message about life
- Hanging out with people who are cheerful, non-violent, positive and productive
- Studying the teachings of those who have attained inner peace.
I totally understand if you think what I’ve just said is simplistic, fanciful or maybe wacky. PLEASE don’t dismiss it out of hand… I’ve learned these techniques from great Masters; I’ve practiced the above mental weight training and balanced mental diet myself and can vouch for their efficacy.
Give both of them a shot, keep at it and you will definitely see progress and great results!
To your good life,
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