My name is Hadleigh Fischer and I grew up in a family affected by mental ill-health. Initially embarrassed out it, over the past few years I’ve gone on a public journey of opening up about my experience caring for people with mental ill-health and how I’ve gone about developing and prioritizing my own mental well-being.
I began to realize that I could choose how I responded to life’s ups and downs and that my mindset was something I could develop and work on. This process of focusing on my Mental Fitness made me happier, more successful and more resilient to life’s setbacks.
I learnt that by organizing and training my mind, I could achieve a sense of control over my life, just like people can with physical fitness. Instead of reacting blindly, I could turn any life situation to my advantage with mindfulness. I learnt that how I responded to uncertainty, fear and disruption determined the quality of my life, and made be better able to spot opportunities, care for others, and achieve the kind of life I wanted.
In more recent times I discovered that many of my friends, colleagues and associates were struggling with mental ill-health, even though in other areas their lives they were traditionally successful. Statistics show that 1 in 5 people will be affected by serious mental ill-health throughout their lives. These days, everybody knows someone affected by mental illness.
Most importantly, I learnt that you don’t need to have a Mental Illness to find benefit from a focus on your mental health. In fact, quite the opposite. Just like you can’t be physically healthy without movement and nutrition, you can’t maximize your Mental Fitness without appropriate habits, activities and strategies. That’s why I came up with the idea of Mental Fitness.
Firstly, the process of building our Mental Fitness makes everyday life easier to manage, more joyful to experience, and helps us to be a more effective partner, boss, colleague or friend. It’s no wonder that the techniques of Mental Fitness are practiced by some of the most successful and creative people around the world.
Secondly, by focusing on our Mental Fitness, we can be proactive with our lifestyle and decision-making, and as a by-product hopefully stave off periods of excessive stress and trauma that can turn into anxiety and depression.
I started Resilience Agenda because I am passionate about Mental Fitness. I believe that almost everyone can improve the way they think, how they relate to the world, and can sharpen the lens through which they deal with both success and setbacks. With luck, perseverance and by developing great habits, most people can improve their happiness, well-being and fulfillment by even just 10% through adopting elements of the Mental Fitness framework.