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Mental Fitness

Wellness at Work: Why the Best Wellness Strategies Begin With Mental Fitness

Understanding mental fitness at work

Published November 07, 2023
by Positive Intelligence

What Is Mental Fitness, and Why Do the Best Wellness Strategies Begin With It?

Mental fitness is your capacity to respond to life’s challenges with a positive rather than a negative mindset. It drives wellness program success by inspiring employees to become open to change and to trust in the process. 

More than a catchy term, mental fitness is deeply rooted in neuroscience. Recent advances in functional MRI (fMRI), measuring how neural activity changes blood flow, have allowed scientists and psychologists to witness the real-time working of the brain for the very first time. This research identifies the neural functions involved with the activation of two regions of the brain that impact mental fitness.

  • The Survive region, home to your Saboteurs, aka the voices in your head that trigger negative emotions like self-doubt, anxiety, or anger amid life’s challenges

  • The Thrive region, home to your Sage Powers, or “empathy circuitry,” which generates positive emotions like empathy and creativity when handling new experiences

Understanding this brain science is critical to unlocking the benefit of any wellness offering. Because even the highest-rated meditation or mindfulness apps cannot thwart your inner Saboteurs when you don’t recognize and address them first. 

Mental fitness, however, is about rewiring the brain at the root level rather than treating symptoms. Regularly exercising the Thrive parts of your brain ensures your Sage Powers triumph over your Saboteurs over time. Just like you might train at a gym to stay physically fit, it’s essential to train your mental muscles, too.

5 Ways Mental Fitness Improves Wellness at Work

Organizations improve employee satisfaction, engagement, and overall productivity by investing in mental fitness resources and support. Specifically, exercising mental fitness at work helps:

  • Reduce Stress: Stress significantly contributes to mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Mental fitness provides employees stress management tools, such as mindfulness practices, problem-solving techniques, and conflict management strategies.
  • Improve Resilience: Resilience is the ability to cope with challenges and setbacks. A positive mindset helps employees develop resilience by teaching them how to manage their emotions, reframe negative thinking patterns, and develop positive coping mechanisms.
  • Boost Productivity: Poor mental health can significantly impact productivity and work performance. Mental fitness helps employees stay focused, motivated, and engaged by improving their mood, energy levels, and overall mental clarity.
  • Foster Positive Workplace Affiliations: Building mental fitness together helps create a workplace culture that values employee wellbeing and encourages open communication and support. This, in turn, leads to increased employee engagement, higher job satisfaction, and reduced turnover.
  • Enhance Employee Benefits: Offering mental health resources — and proactively fostering their use — demonstrates your organization’s commitment to employee wellbeing.

Which Saboteurs Are Holding Back Your Team?

Your mind is constantly sabotaging your potential for both performance and happiness. Stress and other negative emotions are simply the result of self-sabotage.

But with mental fitness practice, every member of your team can quiet their Saboteurs and strengthen the part of their brain that serves them. Together and as individuals, they’ll approach workplace and personal challenges with a more positive mindset and less stress.

Take the Saboteur Assessment to discover which Saboteurs are holding you back.

Fostering 5 Critical Skills in Workplace Wellness

Mental fitness directly supports a range of holistic, flexible, and tailored wellness initiatives. How? It builds the underlying Sage muscles necessary for wellness programs to succeed. 

Your internal Sage is the one in you that handles challenges with a clear and calm mind and positive emotions. Your Sage accesses five positive powers. For peak performance, you can learn to boost all five of the following powers and know when to use which Sage Power:

1. Empathize: Feeling and showing appreciation, compassion, and forgiveness — for yourself and others — builds social awareness and cultivates a sense of service. With practice, empathy leads to healthier relationships, better conflict management, and more effective teamwork and collaboration.

2. Explore: As a child, you knew how to explore purely, experiencing great curiosity and fascination in discovery. By grounding yourself in that innate sense of curiosity, openness, and wonder, you become more open to new ideas, more deliberate in the face of crisis, and more likely to effect positive change. 

3. Innovate: While the Explore power is about discovering what is, the Innovate power concerns inventing what isn’t. True innovation is about breaking out of the boxes, the assumptions, and the habits that hold you back. A mindset of innovation sparks adaptability, self-management, and optimism — all key to workplace wellness.

4. Navigate: Every employee has their internal compass — as does your organization. By creating a consistent compass, your organization invites employees to align with it, relax, and find purpose in their work.

5. Activate: When all your mental and emotional energies are laser-focused on action and not distracted by the Saboteurs, you bring new levels of achievement and initiative to your team.

Are you ready to maximize your investments in workplace wellbeing? Download the Comprehensive Guide to Wellness at Work to learn how.

Wellness at Work

Nurture a culture of wellness in the workplace to boost engagement, beat burnout, and increase performance.

Download Guide

Discover Your Saboteurs

The first step to conquering your Saboteurs is to identify them and expose their lies and limiting beliefs.

Discover Your Saboteurs
Saboteur Assessment animation