Mental Fitness Brain Training
Often, the terms mental fitness and mental wellness are slung together and their meanings merged. However, both terms, although they can and do overlap, are considerably different.
Mental wellness has been defined in numerous ways so we’ve selected The World Health Organization’s definition:
“Mental wellness is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” Mental wellness is more of a state of well-being.
Mental fitness focuses on exercising, pushing and challenging the brain through brain training apps like Peak, performing new tasks like learning to play the drums or taking on a new language or meditation practice.
After an intense study, Paula Lesley Robinson from the University of Wollongong, proposed a definition for mental fitness in 2014, which was as follows:
“The changeable capacity to utilise resources and skills to psychologically adapt to environmental challenges or advantages to meet psychological needs”
She went on to describe the four underlying principles proposed:
- “Fitness is a positive term without the connotations of illness implied by the terms mental health or mental illness.
- Mental fitness could be understood by individuals, organisations, educational institutions and the wider community in a similar way to physical fitness.
- Mental fitness is measurable.
- Mental fitness can be improved, in a similar way to physical fitness- (i.e., by way of regular, intentional activities and practices).”
Being mentally fit can arm you with the tools to keep your brain in shape now and in the future. It focuses on the tools and techniques that are available to push your brain further and to handle life’s daily and unexpected challenges, such as decision making, problem solving, focusing on tasks and recalling memories to make better judgements.
How Can You Train These Areas Of Mental Fitness?
Think of your mental fitness in the same way as you do your physical fitness. How do you train your body? You exercise, move and work on particular muscles. When you train your mental fitness, you need to be training in a similar way.
- How often will you train your brain?
- How will you maintain your mental fitness?
- Which different methods of training will be best for you and your brain?
For both your physical and mental fitness, you need to see the training in the same light. Here are 4 easy steps to remind yourself:
- Try More.
Which Mental Fitness Training Tool Is For Me?
In the same way running as a form of exercise, might not be for you, learning a new language as a form of brain training might not be for you either. However, if you love lifting weights and you get a buzz from brain training with Peak and see positive results in both, then make this your training tool of choice.
Training your mental fitness in a way that you enjoy can make your training easier and often seem effortless.
Time To Talk Neuroplasticity
What are the similarities between neuroplasticity in the brain and muscles in the body?
- Both need to be used and trained to create new connections and ‘grow.’
- Both can ‘feel the burn.’ Training the body and the brain can equate to a feeling of fatigue after a session.
- Both can be challenged and boosted by continual work and effort, often resulting in beneficial outcomes.
The article, Importance of Fitness For College Students, by Mallikarjun B Patil released in 2020, describes how mental and physical fitness actually go hand-in-hand (or should we say hand-in-head):
“Mental fitness can only be achieved if your body is functioning well… Students who participate in at least one extracurricular physical activity are proven to reap more benefits than those who do not exercise regularly. Engaging in sports activities each week helps improve students’ focus on school work, as well as help them lead happier, healthier lives.”
Which Areas Of Mental Fitness Can Peak Train?
Peak’s in-house cognitive scientist Sally Sheldon says:
“Cognitive training is based on the science of neuroplasticity – the idea that our brains continue to adapt and change throughout our lifetime. Based on the challenges we set ourselves, connections in the brain can be reorganised and even new ones can be created. In the same way that the muscles we exercise become stronger, the cognitive skills we use or train can also become stronger and those we don’t use as often tend to become weaker.”
Peak’s games focus on key areas of the brain, including:
- Problem Solving.
- Mental Agility.
- Processing Speed.
- Decision Making.
Peak’s game Decoder was developed by neuroscientist Dr Sahakian and her team. The main aim was to design a game scientifically proven to improve attention. In a study published in Frontiers of Behavioural Neuroscience, Sahakian shows that users who play Decoder significantly improve their attention in standardised tests when compared to control groups.
By playing Decoder, you can help train and optimise your mental fitness each time you play.
The same goes for some of our other games. Playing Peak’s memory game Wizard may improve your memory.
So, when it comes to describing Peak as a mental fitness app, we think that description is spot-on. Yes, challenging your brain using Peak may encourage mental wellness, but Peak’s main purpose is to create a space in which you can keep your brain fit and challenged on a daily basis. No gym required.