Mental fitness is crucial. Without it, we cannot receive integral health and true flourishing of the body, mind, and spirit.
There are many reasons why we should practice and maintain mental fitness.
Research studies are not only interesting and educational, but they can help boost confidence in the end result. Research studies involving the mind/body/spirit are very beneficial to us and teach us how we can find that inner peace within.
Exercises, activities, and practices are necessary for improvement, no matter what. Just like physical fitness, mental fitness progresses through repetition and over time.
With the spiritual focus in mind, Randolph Byrd was determined to prove that prayer does work and can be measured.
With 393 patients in coronary care unit in San Francisco, he divided them up into one group receiving intercessory prayer and the other a controlled group.
This double blind study showed of the group receiving prayer to have better results on several counts.
“ Fewer deaths, less likely to require endotracheal intubation and ventilation support, fewer potent drugs, experienced lower incidence of pulmonary edema, and required cardiopulmonary resuscitation less often” (Schlitz, Amorok, & Micozzi, 2005, p. 317).
Although this study can be seen as not perfect (since other people could have prayed for the control group, etc.) it still proves that prayer does work and it can heal.
Dr. Peter Schnall took his curiosity into the real world and conducted a study of midlevel business managers who worked in a stressful environment.
Two groups were studied: those who suffered from the “job strain” and those who did not.
Those who suffered from the job also suffered from “helplessness, powerlessness, and associated mental stress,” while the others “saw it as a challenge and could summon the inner resources to deal with the workload” (Dacher, 2006, p. 18).
Those who had the healthy and developed inner life were able to complement the outer, worldly treatments.
Dr. Candace Pert not only made a fascinating discovery of natural body proteins called neuropeptides, but she also learned how they can be used to heal us mentally.
“… thoughts, feelings, and visual images can produce specific neuropeptides that alter our physiology to reflect a specific mental state” (Dacher, 2006, 17).
Basically, negative emotions can occupy our minds and can cause negative affects to our physical body. Therefore if we can turn those negative thoughts/emotions into positive, happy ones then we can avoid that negative outcome to our body. (maybe even a smile might show up)
Pert states it well, “The mind is the body, the body is the mind” (Dacher, 2006, p. 18).
Mental fitness is necessary for integral health and human flourishing of the body, mind, and spirit. Benefits of mental fitness not only improves the mind but also the body and the spirit.
Doctors and researchers have been and still are learning about the human mind and all of its amazing capabilities. We are constantly learning how to better ourselves with mental focus and attention. We now can put these studies into our own personal use.
Mental fitness is like physical fitness and can be achieved through progressive exercises, activities, and practices. Loving-kindness and the subtle mind are just two examples of amazing practices that can “help us to tame and train the mind, open the heart, expand consciousness, and progress us toward psychospiritual flourishing” (Dacher, 2006, p. 66).