Don't Skip Brain Day | #FitLife

My lovely friend Jenna has written a guest post about the importance of mental health as part of fitness and some tips and tricks to keep your mind active. If you'd like to see more of Jenna's writing (and I highly recommend you do!), check out her blog about her time in medical school and her writing. 

With all the focus on being healthy, working out, and keeping one's body in tip top shape, a lot of people forget to work out one of the most important body parts - the brain. Being mentally fit is just as important as being able to bench press or perform a perfect squat, yet it does not get the attention it deserves.

What is mental fitness? Why do I care? 
Mental fitness is having a strong mind capable of handling the challenges and opportunities that happen every day. Increasing mental fitness will help you improve concentration and focus, better handle stress, let go of negative emotions and grudges, form better relationships, and live an overall happier and more-fulfilling life.

So how can I train my brain? 
The same way you train your other muscles - exercise!

Keep a gratitude log.
Cultivate positive thoughts and appreciation by keeping a list of things you're grateful for. I usually dedicate a page or two of my bullet journal to gratitude logs. My thanks range from loving my warm bed to a cup of coffee to a great friend I've made here at school.

Mindfulness is more than just a buzzword. It's an approach that teaches you to better handle any unexpected obstacle.

Learn something new. 
Try to take up a new instrument or download Duolingo to learn the basics of a foreign language. This will keep your brain working, maybe with different skills than you normally use.

Utilize free apps to challenge your intellect. 
Everyone plays games on their phone. Try your hand at crosswords or sudokus so that ten minutes of phone procrastination turns into a mini work-out for your mind.

Read - often and from many genres. 
Read often and read everything. Join a book club. Ask friends for recommendations or just grab a book from the library with an interesting title. Listen to audio books on your commute. Nothing is more useful to your development than an unread book in my opinion.

Check out the following resources for more information. 

I hope these tips help you make your cerebral cortex as 'swoll' as your biceps. Here's to a happy and healthy brain and body!
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