Last Updated 30 November, 2018

Healthy Mind Platter


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Healthy Mind Platter

You may be familiar with the "Eatwell plate" to help you get the balance right for different food groups to eat each, but did you know there is also a "Healthy Mind Platter" to balance how we spend our time on different activities?

Daily Essential Activities

There are seven daily essential mental activities to optimise brain matter and create well-being:
Seven Essential Daily Mental Activities
Physical time; When we move our bodies, aerobically if possible, we strengthen the brain in many ways.
Focus time When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, we take on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
Time-In When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, we help to better integrate the brain.
Down time When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge.
Play time When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, we help make new connections in the brain.
Connecting time When we connect with other people, ideally in person, and take time to appreciate our connections to the natural world around us, we activate and reinforce the brain's relationship circuitry.
Sleep time When we give the brain the rest it needs, we consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.

It's suggested that we spend some time each day on each of these activities. Mental wellbeing is about strengthening our connections with each other, with the world around us and within our brain. By taking part in a variety of mental activities each day we allow our brain to develop and our mental wellbeing to grow.

How many activities do you do?

Consider how many of these activities did you engage in yesterday. I went for a walk with a colleague, which combined Physical time with Connecting time. I did lots of work, in Focus time, but didn't spend much Time-In or Down time and no play time at all!

Reflect on how you usually spend your time. How could you get more balance in your life?

Society knows about the need for a healthy diet of food, but we are only just beginning to appreciate the need for a varied mental diet too, to maintain our well-being. The emerging study of neuroscience is teaching us what the brain needs in order to function well.

Or did King Alfred know this over 1000 years ago? He is reputed to have said "8 hours sleep, 8 hours work and 8 hours play make a just and healthy day". Maybe there is nothing new under the sun after all?

Rachel Weiss
Rachel Weiss is a coach and trainer at Rowan Consultancy, an ILM training provider.

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