It's More Than Mental Health - It's Mental Wellness
Be honest, when you see the term mental health, what comes to mind?
This past week there’s been a new energy around talking about mental health, thanks to the G.O.A.T, Simone Biles, and her powerful move to withdraw from several events at the Olympic Games in order to care for her mental health.
She showed us that you can have the world’s eyes on you and acknowledge that you should still be doing what’s right for you, that you should always make your wellbeing a priority.
And her choice opened even more important public discussions about the importance of prioritizing and talking about mental health.
The morning after her announcement, I was meditating on the conversation around mental health, and I came to a pretty incredible realization. Talking about mental health is so important, but it’s really just one aspect of this bigger thing we all need to be working on.
My goal is to expand the conversation to put the focus on mental wellness.
Think about it, when we talk about our physical well-being, we don’t just focus on physical health. Of course physical wellness is about the steps we can take to make sure that our bodies are healthy. But it’s also about working to make sure our bodies are performing at their best and prepared for any challenges they may face, whether that’s competing in the Olympics, having enough energy to keep up with our kids, or ensuring that our immune systems are equipped to fight off viruses.
I’m interested in mental wellness because it’s what helps us weather the everyday disruptions and stressors that we all experience—and that we all need to learn to manage.
I want to see this work become as inclusive as possible because mental wellness is something all humans should be working on.
Mental wellness is about mental health, but it’s also about mental strength and mental performance…
Here's a 30,000 ft. look at the three areas.
Focusing on mental health means learning to navigate mental illness and trauma, to seek out support and assistance when you’re struggling, to make healthy choices and prioritize your own self-care. It’s also about taking good care of our brains as part of our bodies. That means everything from getting enough sleep to drinking water and eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals to taking medications we know support our well-being.
Focusing on mental strength is about developing the resilience necessary to do hard things. That means training and conditioning so that when you need to rely on that strength, it’s available for you to tap into. Imagine being Simone, standing in front of that beam. That’s probably not the moment you want to start doing balance work or learning how to do a roundoff, right? The prep work for the challenge of that Olympic performance takes months and years. Developing your mental strength works the same way! It’s about taking the time daily to work on the skills that lead to resilience. That way when you encounter big challenges, you’re already conditioned and ready to rise above them.
Focusing on mental performance is about developing the mindset that allows you to perform and excel in all the roles you hold. In fact, most elite professional athletes work with mental performance coaches to help them find the right headspace to focus during games and competitions. But really, we can all benefit from working on mental performance! When you’re at work, don’t you want to be able to focus and deliver your best for your team? When you’re interacting with your kid or your partner, don’t you want to be able to show up as the best version of yourself to support them? Learning skills to improve your mental performance means that you’ll be able to approach daily challenges and disruptions with focus, calm, and self-confidence.
When you strengthen these three pillars, you elevate your own strength and you begin to live more fully. And you don’t need to be a G.O.A.T athlete to strive towards being the G.O.A.T version of yourself.
I break this all down further in this short video. I also talk about the experience I think all humans have in common and how focusing on mental wellness can help us meet that challenge.
Wanna dig deeper into what it means to improve your overall mental wellness? Go check out this post on Instagram to learn more about my August challenge, which is all about activities for building mental wellness, and stay tuned for more exercises and encouragement throughout the month!
(Hey, listen, I see that perfectionism creeping up trying to block you from taking action. Yep, we’re a few days into the challenge already. YEP, YOU CAN and SHOULD STILL JOIN US! No better time, friend!)