Last year I read the book “Your Brain at Work” by Dr. David Rock. I loved learning about the mind, how it works, & why. One of the biggest take-aways from this book was the need to live a balanced life, in order for the brain to work at it’s optimum capacity. We live in a time of information overload. We are constantly checking emails, facebook messages, texts, tweets, etc. This comes at a cost…especially when it comes to our mind & our ability to focus & feel mentally stable.
Dr. Rock (who is the Executive Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute), along with Dr. Daniel Siegel (Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute & clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine) have collaborated on a project called the “HEALTHY MIND PLATTER”. It’s kind of like a food pyramid for the mind. In their words: “The Healthy Mind Platter has seven essential mental activities necessary for optimum mental health in daily life. These seven daily activities make up the full set of ‘mental nutrients’ that your brain needs to function at it’s best. By engaging every day in each of these servings, you enable your brain to coordinate and balance its activities, which strengthens your brain’s internal connections and your connections with other people.”
The seven essential daily mental activities are:
#1 – Focus Time: When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
#2 – Play Time: When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, which helps make new connections in the brain.
#3 – Connecting Time: When we connect with other people, ideally in person, or take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us, richly activating the brain’s relational circuitry.
#4 – Physical Time: When we move our bodies, aerobically if possible, which strengthens the brain in many ways.
#5 – Time In: When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, helping to better integrate the brain.
#6 – Down Time: When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, which helps our brain recharge.
#7 – Sleep Time: When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.
*You can read more about the “Healthy Mind Platter” here: www.healthymindplatter.com