29 November 2019
Author: Nick Bennett
We launched Fika – an evidence-based emotional fitness app designed by scientists, technologists and psychologists – to address this cultural gap. Put simply, we define emotional fitness as an individual’s ability to thrive academically and socially, to handle pressure, to boost their attainment, feel connected to others, and to self-regulate emotionally.
I would argue this has little to do with clinical or medically-treatable mental illness. Even the Higher Education Policy Institute has commented on the importance of distinguishing correctly between wellbeing issues and mental health conditions. Instead, ‘emotional fitness’ puts both the power, and the responsibility, back in the hands of the individual. Like our physical fitness, our emotional fitness is something we ourselves are accountable for, and have the power to change.
And change it we can. Students using Fika have reported reduced anxiety and stress (81%), increased motivation (81%), increased confidence (79%), improved study (94%) and feeling more able to complete assignments (81%). We’ve created a self-sustainable learning-based service that provides a long-term solution to mainstream problems.
We are on a mission to make emotional fitness mainstream, integrating vital (yet regularly missing) emotional education into the higher education curriculum, reversing the student wellbeing crisis, and arming students with essential, future-facing skills. In the coming years, we plan to demonstrate the impact of regular emotional exercise, not just for students but beyond education, on attainment and employment rates, long-term career success, and greater social inclusion.
Long-term, we intend to use this evidence base to influence global behaviours, attitudes and language surrounding mental health. Does mental health need a positive rebrand? Yes it does. And with emotional fitness we believe we have found the answer.
Nick Bennett is CEO and co-founder of Fika, an app that's on a mission to make emotional fitness mainstream through daily five-minute emotional workouts.