Mental Fitness

Imagine a world where an annual check-up with a therapist was as widespread as an annual check-up with a physician? Imagine how many marriages would be saved. Imagine how many suicides would be stopped. Imagine all the mass shootings that would be prevented.

I’m sure some would say this is just another idealistic millennial pipe dream, but hear me out.

What the Mental Health Industry Needs is a Re-Brand

There was a time, back when our grandparents were the age of millennials today, when cancer was the deadly elephant in the room. Many didn’t disclose they had cancer to their family members; let alone strangers on the street. No one went for screenings. There were no support groups.

Now that elephant is out in the open. People are more open about their condition. There’s thousands of support groups, fundraisers, and philanthropists dedicated to winning the war on cancer. Women go for breast cancer screenings. Men go for prostate cancer screenings. I think the same thing can happen with mental health, but first the industry needs a rebrand.

Let’s Change Mental Health to Mental Fitness

The reason I like the phrase “mental fitness” is it changes the perception of mental illnesses from something as stigmatized as cancer and HIV/AIDS once were, to something like diabetes or weight issues:

A condition that, with lifestyle changes, a commitment to mental fitness, and regular guidance from a trusted mental health professional, can be successfully managed. This perception shift is what finally pushed me to see a therapist to confront my post-college depression.

Looking back, that decision is what made the career success I’ve achieved since then possible. Those sessions with my therapist helped me develop a keen self-awareness that keeps me in check and focused on what I can do to keep moving forward.

The Mental Fitness Challenge

If you’ve made it this far, then I have a challenge for you. It’s pretty simple- all you need is a pen, a notebook, and a timer.

The challenge is this:

For the next 7 days, write one positive thing that happened during each day. Keep your materials close to your bed, so you can write your entry at the end of each day.

This will be more challenging than you think..because it only takes one little thing to go wrong before we declare a whole 24 hours a “bad day”. Challenge yourself to identify something positive on these bad days. You’ll often find that what you had is a bad moment or two, rather than an entirely bad day.

Thanks for reading my first post on Just Haves! I’ll be writing more articles on how to incorporate mental fitness exercises into your life, so stay tuned!

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