I first mentioned ‘mental fitness’ back on this blog in April 2018. I went on to write a couple of posts about my burgeoning understanding of the concept: domains of mental fitness, mental fitness techniques etc.
In August 2018, I then announced that we were developing a Mental Fitness Course.
That course ended up as a set of 18 ‘lessons’ delivered via blog posts. They are indexed below. They were my first attempt to grapple with the concept of mental fitness.
With that initial process completed, I turned my hand to a new Mental Fitness project. The goal was to create a Mental Fitness Workbook – a more detailed description of mental fitness and how to build it that students could work through in their own time. I got 7 chapters into that process (see below) before realising I still had some work to do on clarifying how to teach the core mental fitness building process.
That led me to develop the Mental Fitness Workshop, which is a 90 minute workshop that contains my most up-to-date thoughts on the importance of mental fitness and how to build it. If you are looking to learn more about mental fitness, I recommend signing up for one of those workshops. You can also see these two relatively recent blog posts on mental fitness workouts and mental training exemplars.
There is variation between these resources on how I describe and approach the topic of mental fitness. This is probably confusing to readers, but reflects that I have been developing the mental fitness model on the fly and in the public domain, and my thoughts on the topic are developing rapidly.
Thus I recommend, if the topic is of interest to you, starting with the workshop or the Handout. They are the most up-to-date descriptions of my understanding of mental fitness.
Mental Fitness Workshops
We’ve run 4 mental fitness workshops this year and I will announce dates for 2022 in the coming year. In the meantime, accessing the handout below will give you a good sense of the workshop content.
What is it?
A 90-minute workshop with me (Dr Gareth Furber from Health, Counselling and Disability Services) in which I will give you a framework for thinking about how to maintain, improve or repair your mental health.
Who is it for?
Anyone who is interested in improving or protecting their mental health.
Anyone working on their physical fitness who’d like to know how similar principles apply to mental fitness.
Anyone interested in how to train the mind.
Anyone working in a high pressure or high stress setting and wants tools for understanding how to be more resilient.
Anyone in a helping profession that wants a model not only for their own mental health but to assist others in theirs.
What I think you’ll get out of it
A modern definition of mental health and mental fitness.
An understanding of mental fitness and how people go about building it.
An understanding of why it might be important for you to build mental fitness.
An understanding of what else might be required in one’s life if they are training their mind.
An experience of different mental fitness ‘workouts’.
An appreciation of the fact that mental fitness can be built without necessarily investing a huge amount of time or effort.
What is involved in the session?
We’ve packed a lot of content into the 90 minutes, so expect it to be fast-paced.
The workshops will be delivered online via Collaborate.
There are individual reflection exercises throughout the workshop that you’ll be invited to do and you’ll be provided a worksheet to assist with this. Some sharing of your experiences will also be possible during the session (in the group chat).
Can you get Horizon points?
Yep – 1.5 (note that Horizon is using a new point scheme, so that is why the points are lower than previous)
If you can’t get along to the workshops, I have also produced an “Introduction to Mental Fitness handout” that covers a lot of the core content. Not bad if you want to read the basics in one go. Also has the world’s worst cover image that I made.
Original Blog Lessons (March to September 2019)
These lessons were my first attempt to wrap my head around the mental fitness concept. I’ve moved away from some of these concepts and ideas over time or they don’t feature as much in the current model, but I keep them here because they show some of the thinking I’ve gone through along the way. They are a good illustration of how we do (and probably should) keep trying to develop our ideas over time.
Lesson 1 – A welcome to the course
Lesson 2 – Self-improvement and why we should pursue it deliberately
Lesson 3 – Self-improvement – why pursue it all? – lessons from trying to do more physical activity
Lesson 4 – Identity, values and self-improvement
Lesson 5 – Psychological needs and self-improvement
Lesson 6 – Why the world needs you to self-improve
Lesson 7 – What is mental fitness?
Lesson 8 – Components of mental fitness
Lesson 9 – Examples of mental fitness in everyday life
Lesson 10 – Let’s start building mental fitness – acquiring knowledge
Lesson 11 – From knowledge to goals
Lesson 12 – From knowledge to skills
Lesson 13 – Self-experimentation
Lesson 14 – Habits
Lesson 15 – Let’s summarise. You could start with this lesson if you wanted as it is a concise summary of the previous lessons.
Lesson 16 – Lets practice building mental fitness
Lesson 17 – Building mental fitness update
Lesson 18 – The end, or is it?
Mental Fitness Workbook
I’m slowly collecting all my thoughts on the topic together and building them into a book. The process is a bit random, so rather than sharing chapters as they are completed, I am just giving people access to view the full document as it slowly comes together. You are better off with the workshop or handout in terms of the content itself, but if you want to see the process of the book coming together, you are always welcome to visit the public draft.