Staying mentally fit is important, but what does that mean and how do you do it?

I’ve almost completed Twyla Tharp’s, The Creative Habit, and find myself continually stumbling upon passages that are subtle yet significant.

On page 101 of the book, I found myself focusing on the following:

“...you have to leave yourself open to everything...reading is your first line of defense against an empty head...like an athlete in training, the more you read, the more mentally fit you feel.”

Those few statements above should make you stop and think for a moment. Do you leave yourself open to different things around you? Do you read [books] regularly? And, if so, do you vary the books that you read to broaden your perspectives and learn from different people from all walks of life? Are you mentally fit? Do all of these questions overwhelm your brain, making you wonder if you are mentally fit?

I’m sure there are an infinite number of definitions of what it means to be mentally fit. But, in its essence, it seems to mean keeping your cognitive processes regularly and actively stimulated, and ready to work.

You can choose to be open to learning new things and expanding how you think, or you can create an echo chamber. Reading, in a sense, is the ultimate mental equalizer and equal opportunity provider of mental fitness. It is interesting how similar it is to staying physically fit. In both disciplines your path forward is rather simple: you must allow yourself to be open to change, put in the work, and be consistent. In the end, it always comes down to a person’s willingness to put in the work and have some discipline. Do yourself and others a favor; read some books and think more often.