Benefits of Mental Fitness
What research is available?
How can this be beneficial for me?
Steps to improve Mental Fitness
What activities can I participate in?
How do I get started?
Dr Robert Ader was an early researcher in this field,
he used lab rats to show how powerful the mind is in
the functioning of the body (Dacher, 2006).
Lab rats were given a poisonous chemical in sweetened
water that caused them nausea, the poisonous chemical
was taken out of the water after a time, yet the lab rats
still had the same response as when the chemical was
After the initial response, the rats began to die. The
chemical also had immunosuppressant effects and the
rats’ minds continued to have a negative effect on the
immune systems even when the drug was not present.
This conclusively proved that the mind is so powerful that
it can replicate the effects of a toxic chemical if it believes
that this chemical is present.
Candace Pert proved that thoughts, feelings,
and images produce neuropeptides that alter
the body’s response to better reflect our mental
state (Dacher, 2006).
Pert discovered natural body proteins
(neuropeptides) that carry messages from the mind
to the body creating a connection of communication
throughout the entire body.
Pert’s continued research in this area proved that the
mind’s health is reflected in the health of the body. A
mind that is disturbed or stressed is reflected in the
body of that person. The body will also show illness
in the form of physiological issues.
Dr Peter Schnall conducted a study that was
published in the Jo urnalo f the Am e rican Me dical
Asso ciatio n regarding how stress effects certain body
systems (Dacher, 2006).
Mid level managers that were experiencing job strain
(high responsibility with little control) were assessed for
physical health related to job strain.
These managers were prone to feelings of helplessness,
powerlessness and mental stress.
These managers experienced chronic hypertension and an enlarged
Mid level managers that were able to process job stress
in a healthy, productive way were also observed.
These managers were able to treat the stress as a challenge to
These managers did not experience long term health complications.
Meditation is a process where the participant uses quiet
environments and/or soothing music and sounds to calm
the mind and relax or reflect on events and issues in a
peaceful enviroment. (If you are unable to initiate any of
this process on your own, beginners may want to seek a
First, wearing comfortable clothing, find a quiet area to sit in a
relaxing position for the exercise.
Second, begin relaxing by focusing the mind on breathing
techniques and the quiet or soothing background sounds.
Thirdly, once your mind is calmed begin reflecting on events, or
use the time to sort through thoughts and observe mental peace.
Next, at the end of this exercise, slowly arouse your mind and
body using stretching and slow deep breaths to revive your body
and mind without causing immediate stress.
Finally, enjoy the relaxing after glow of successful meditation.
Connecting with your environment
There are many methods that can be used to
connect with the environment. For our purposes we
will discuss walking. Perhaps sedentary reflection is
not your style.
Step one: choose a desirable or convenient area to walk.
Step two: wear comfortable, weather appropriate clothing.
Step three: walk the area and observe the environment,
pay attention to the surrounding nature, or the buildings
Step four: utilize this time reflect on the beauty in the
environment and focus your mind completely on the
surroundings and uniqueness of different environments.
Step five: end your walk and consider the mental and
cardiovascular benefits of taking personal time and
appreciating your environment while exercising.
Mental fitness activities are an important part of
Mental fitness activities have been scientifically
proven to be beneficial to psychological and
There are many activities that can be
undertaken to exercise and improve mental
These exercises are simple and easy to
These activities produce immediate and long
term benefits for the mind and the body.
Dacher, E. S. (2006). Inte g ralhe alth: The
path to hum an flo urishing . Laguna Beach,
CA: Basic Health Publications.
Personal experience and practice (2010).