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The importance of emotional fitness

In a time of uncertainty like this, it’s now more important than ever before to ensure you are mentally/emotionally well.

You always hear people talk about ‘bettering themselves physically’, but never emotionally. It’s just as important (if not more so) to ensure you are emotionally fit in order to make the most of every day and ensure further mental clarity. In this article, I’m going to talk about why staying mentally fit is so beneficial.

Emotional Fitness?

Yes, EMOTIONAL fitness. In a nutshell, emotional fitness is the idea that the mind needs regular training exercise, just like our body does, in order to stay mentally and emotionally strong and healthy. Having good emotional fitness means that we can better cope with handling our emotions and our reactions to everyday situations. It can affect how we may react to things such as  feedback on our exams and how we can bounce back after any negative setbacks that we are given. As well as this, it can help with focus, which is a massive benefit for people like me, who are ‘proud’ members of the Procrastination Nation.

Being emotionally fit can also help you gain independence and an optimism that can help you get through various scenarios you may come across at university – such as falling out with your flatmates. Being able to have a good hold on your mind and emotions can, therefore, help you handle the way you react with other people, which means you won’t be arguing about who hasn’t taken the bin out for the last 4 days!

Lifting Weights…But for the Mind?

I have a little analogy for you. Imagine your mind is a gym and your problems are weights. Some weights are big, some weights are small. Being emotionally fit means being able to lift the weights – and therefore your problems. Some weights will be easier to lift than others, as not all problems, worries or anxieties are the same. Some, however, take a little bit more time to lift which means you’ll need to train to be able to lift them. Notice how I talk about lifting and not moving. Unfortunately, emotional fitness won’t get rid of your problems. What it will do is give you the strength to be able to deal with different issues which will make you happier in the long run.

An Activity to Help

I’ve included a little activity that can be done in order to help with emotional fitness. It’s super easy.

Over the next few days or the next week, actively pay attention to your emotions and label them. Keep a note of what emotions you’re feeling and realise their complexity. Once you have come to the end of the few days or week, look to see if there were any negative emotions you felt and if they affected the way you responded to other people or to your situation.

The last step is to highlight those negative emotions and start exploring some ways you can help to manage them. This might be something like practicing mindfulness, meditation or yoga.

And that’s it. That’s my little insight into emotional fitness. If you want to learn a little more, the Fresher Take podcast is a great place to go. We have episodes on Mindfulness-based Strength Practices with Dr. Roger Bretherton, and we even have an episode talking about emotional fitness in general – so that might be of interest too!

As always, stay safe and until next time, I’ll see you later.

Please note: This content was created prior to Coronavirus, and some things might be different due to current laws and restrictions. Please refer to Student Services for the latest information.

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