How Does Psychological Fitness Apply to Me?
While the specific process of Psychological Fitness must be tailored to each individuals’ needs and circumstances, there are many general objectives that apply holistically to a variety of situations. These methods prepare the mind to confront setbacks head-on, building problem-solving tactics that encourage an accepting mindset, and aid with overcoming adversity.
Applications of psychological fitness tools can apply to different types of situations including:
- Conflict with a romantic partner
- Going through a divorce
- Financial instability
- Battling a serious illness
- Struggling with mental illness
- Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities
These are just a few of the many challenges that psychological fitness prepares us to face everyday. While it is likely that we will all face many of these challenges throughout our lives, we have the ability to prepare ourselves for the difficulties they present, grow from these experiences, and improve our overall well-being.
The Process of Cultivating Psychological Fitness
The development of psychological fitness acts as a preemptive tool that allows us to prepare for challenges, obstacles and adversities that may come our way before they occur. Psychological fitness ensures that when these difficult situations arise, our minds are ready to cope and healthily process the experience. This journey encapsulates a wide range of mental skills that encourage healthy coping, emotion regulation, tactful problem-solving and, ultimately, achieving acceptance and embracing the experience.
More specifically, there are a variety of steps that focus on individuals’ characteristics, and utilizes them to formulate psychological fitness including:
- Avoiding “Black Hole” Thinking- moving away from jumping to conclusions and letting thoughts spiral to a more constructive method of evaluating challenges
- Active Optimism- noting positive aspects of our lives that extend beyond our adversities, understanding the tentative nature of the particular difficulty, and actively pursuing a way to overcome it
- Signature Strength Building- identifying personal strengths, and honing in on them to actualize psychological fitness. Additionally, developing new strengths that can be helpful in processing challenges
Similar to physical fitness, psychological fitness must be learned and practiced through repetitive practice to increase the use of these skills and instill them into the mind. By ingraining these psychological fitness skills into our minds, amongst other more problem-specific approaches, we will be prepared to healthily process adversities that come our way, whether big or small.
Psychological Fitness Goals
The end goal of cultivating psychological fitness is to introduce a mechanism for processing and combating difficult experiences that we may face. These tools can be used to approach a variety of different issues, applying beyond the specific adversity that one might be facing at a particular moment in time. This mental skill set includes:
- Self-Awareness- having a comprehensive understanding of themselves and their situation, and being able to differentiate healthy thinking from “black hole” thinking
- Grit- the ability to persevere through difficulties, set meaningful goals, put work into achieving goals, and following through on them
- Mental Flexibility- the ability to look at challenges from varying perspectives, and brainstorm innovative and thoughtful solutions
- Character Strengths- the ability to utilize Signature Strengths in particular situations, and engage fully with themselves and their reality
- Relationship Connectivity- applying personal strengths to relationships with co-workers, friends and family
With these techniques, we can mentally prepare ourselves for adversities we will likely face and feel calmer in times of stress. It is important to recognize how Psychological Fitness can play into our day to day lives, and help us improve our quality of life.
According to a case study in the Harvard Business Review, two graduates from the University of Pennsylvania were laid off from their jobs on Wall Street around a year and a half ago. While they were both devastated and anxious about what the future held, Graduate A moved on from these feelings of hopelessness after a few weeks. He worked on his resumé, sent it to over fifteen different firms, went to interviews, handled the many rejections, and after 6 months landed a job in Ohio. On the other hand, Graduate B wallowed in his feelings of listlessness and allowed himself to spiral. He never landed himself a job, even after the market recovered, and ended up moving back into his parents’ basement. The message is that both graduates were equally as competent and had similar skill sets, after all they both graduated from one of the top universities in the country. The main difference between the two men was that Graduate A had higher levels of Psychological Fitness and was, therefore, able to look beyond his setback and work hard to achieve his goals whereas Graduate B became stuck in his failure. Psychological Fitness has real and concurrent practical applications, and without it, we can be at danger of taking on the Graduate B approach to dealing with setbacks.
Want to Find Out More?
Psychological Fitness training is under the umbrella of the Resilience Training Program at Long Island Psychology. Our therapists have developed a number of therapy tools rooted in evidence-based treatments, workshops, and activities that hone in on mental strengths, promote greater mental health and create an overall healthier well-being. For more information on Psychological Fitness and visit our Resilience Training Program page or call 516-732-0273. To learn more about our Garden City and Rockville Centre, NY locations, please visit our contact us page.