A healthy mind influences the body on a cellular level, this causative relationship between the brain and body is key to optimal health. How we spend our time in context of the effect on our brains is being explored as a means to preserve neurological and physical health.
Dr. Dan Siegel is a pioneer in this field, having created ‘The Healthy Mind Platter’ a re-envisioned food pyramid that provides criteria to nourish the mind. Together with colleague, David Rock, a leader in organisational consulting, they formulated a blueprint consisting of seven daily essential activities necessary for optimum mental health.
Sharing the principles of a balanced diet our mind works best when every element is nurtured. Consider an ecosystem that thrives through diverse partnerships, each organism plays a role in the health of the whole. At times one aspect may require less energy than another but all must be nurtured daily in order to preserve, and renew the ecosystem. A diet that optimises health must therefor feed each of the fundamental components on a daily basis.
‘The Healthy Mind Platter’ uses the focus of attention to strengthen integration in our bodies and in our relationships through active engagement in seven key areas. The following description was sourced from www.drdansiegel.com, one of many valuable resources provided by Dr. Dan Siegel.
Focus Time: When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, we take on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
Play Time: When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, we help make new connections in the brain.
Connecting Time: When we connect with other people, ideally in person, and when we take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us, we activate and reinforce the brain’s relational circuitry.
Physical Time: When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible, we strengthen the brain in many ways.
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.
Sleep Time: When we give the brain the rest it needs, we consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.
Dr. Dan Siegel is the Executive Directer of the Mindsight Institute offering courses and lectures covering the latest science as it emerges in the exciting field of interpersonal neurobiology. His latest book ‘Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain’ is a NY Times Bestseller that explores brain science and exciting new ways to help parents and teens work together—turning conflict into connection and forming a deeper understanding of one another.