STRONG FOUNDER MICHAEL RAMSEY ON MENTAL FITNESS
Prioritising your mental health is equally as important as your physical health, which is why STRONG has partnered with the Gotcha4Life Foundation for Mental Health Month this year. Although Mental Health Month occurred in October, raising awareness about an individual's mental health should be a priority all year round. We spoke with STRONG founder Michael Ramsay about the importance of maintaining your mental health.
The FEEL STRONG initiative is all about bringing the Australian community together, inspiring them to prioritise mental fitness and support those around them all year round. Here at THE UPSIDE one of our core values is community, which is why we are so excited to spread awareness for such a worthy cause.
What does maintaining your mental health look like to you?
Maintaining good mental health means having non-negotiables with an element of forced selfishness. It’s about making time for the things that make me feel good and for me, training every single day is at the top of the list. Setting aside time for family, friends and activating the ‘off switch’ has also been super important. It’s taken me a long time to figure this out and having the help of a coach/psychologist has been really beneficial. I am happier with who I am as a person and my mood and self-worth are no longer tied to my work.
How do you maintain strong mental health?
Contrary to the question, being okay with not always having a positive attitude is what has really given me a strong mindset. Everyone has bad days, anxiety, and worry. Sitting with those uncomfortable feelings, identifying why you’re feeling that way, and being okay with it is the key to strong mental health. We can’t always control how we’re feeling but we can control how we react in those situations. I encourage exercise, meditation, breathing techniques and ‘dropping anchor’ as great mechanisms for improved mental health outcomes.
Would you consider mental and physical health to be at the core of STRONG?
Absolutely. There’s so much more to STRONG than just physical training. There’s an element of mindset, pushing through uncomfortable situations i.e. the workout, and being better for it at the end. I really believe that exercise is a true antidote to depression & anxiety in so many cases.
What made STRONG want to participate in Mental Health Month?
Mental health is still so taboo. We have so much work to do in this space. Building community and support systems is at the core of STRONG’s mission. If we can provide a safe and supportive environment for people then we’re doing our job.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to improve their mental health?
The two things that have worked for me:
B. Talking to people.
Being in a bad place can be super isolating – it’s important to speak up and find support systems around you. Gyms/Studios can be great outreach platforms for people who need that support through community and being physically healthy makes you feel better, more confident & sets healthy habits for success.
NRL’s Nicho Hynes & Shaun Johnson and AFL’s Nat Fyfe & Travis Boak are supporting the initiative as ambassadors to encourage all Australians to take part in an initiative to look after their mental and physical health.