“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success in found in your routine” – John Maxwell

By Lorraine Morris

It’s been a minute since I have put pen to paper…. where you able to start forming any new habits? The trick to creating new habits is repetition repetition and also making sure that your environment aligns to your new habit e.g., if the plan is to eat more healthy meals, rid your pantry of junk!

This week The Sunday Express Celebrated Mental Health Day, and so in the next few weeks I want us to spend time unpacking how we can work on optimally keep our brains in check and perform optimally this will assist us all young or old.

Every day, since our birth the drive has been for us to have a balanced diet of healthy food for our wellbeing and physical health. So, we try to make sure that our meals include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water daily. But how often do we look at having a balanced diet for our mental health?

I’m inviting you to join me as we work on creating an optimal healthy brain through a formula Dr Rock and Dr D Siegal created called the Healthy Mind Platter, this 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 its 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 nutrients are Focus Time, Physical Time, Play Time, Connecting Time, Down Time, Time In and Sleep Time.

 

Below provides a view of each essential mental health nutrient:

 

  1. Focus Time: This refers to when we focus on our tasks in a goal-oriented way, it’s about ensuring that you do not multi-task (p.s. multi-tasking is not good for the brain).
  2. Physical Time: This refers to when we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible, we strengthen the brain in many ways.
  3. Play Time: This refers to when we allow ourselves to just have fun, be playful and be creative. When we play, we in actual fact help our brains to make new connections
  4. Connecting Time: This refers to 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. This is one of the things that we missed a lot during the hard lockdowns when we were unable to meet and connect with others.
  5. Down Time: This refers to when we let our minds wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge. Think of this as the time when you sit on the couch and watch your favourite soapie or are out in the garden just enjoying the soaking in of the sun.
  6. Time In: This refers to when we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, we help to better integrate the brain.
  7. Sleep Time: This refers to when we give the brain the rest it needs, we consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.

 

The key is to have balance of these seven nutrients. There is no prescribed time allocation for each activity, but we should ensure that we incorporate each activity in every day.  If you don’t currently do much on some of the areas, that’s ok! It takes time to adjust, to make it become a habit and also its takes being mindful.

The great thing about this platter, is once we have a good understanding, what it does is help us to understand our need and the needs of our children better. This then leads to increased understanding and sensitivity when those needs aren’t being met.

 

 

Let’s pause right now and I would like you to take out a pen and paper and rate your own healthy mind platter? For each nutrient, give yourself a rating of between 1 to 5. Where 5 is very good and 1 is not so good.

So, now that you have rated each one, here are a few tips on what you can do consider doing to have a healthier mind platter:

  1. Focus Time: Start your day by creating an action plan for your day or week. What are the things you want to focus on? Check your weekly budget, check what new skill you want to focus on.
  2. Play Time: Plan fun activities into your weekly routine to shift energy, could be a game of cards, a game on your phone etc. just be playful
  3. Physical Time: Take a walk or dance to some music. Also eat a balanced meal and drink your water (doesn’t really have to be 8 glasses but make sure you drink some)
  4. Sleep Time: Create sleep rituals to ensure you get the rest needed for optimal functioning. Take breaks in between your day
  5. Down Time: Flick through the tv channels, watch a fun movie, read something light
  6. Connect Time: Regularly check in with colleagues, school mates, family and friends – not just by forwarding a message but by actually having an inch deep conversation
  7. Time in: Start your day in prayer and practice being mindful. Be extremely present with yourself – when last did you smell the tea bag/ coffee before you drink it?

 

I hope this gives you great insight and that you get to work on either of the 3 tips.

 

Have a good week ahead, remember you can change only if you want to!

Lorraine Morris is Co-Founder Musikana Foundation – musikanafoundation@gmail.com  Instagram @musikanafoundation. Revive and Thrive Hub – info@reviveandhtrivehub.com   Instagram @reviveandthrivehub. https://www.linkedin.com/company/revive-and-thrive-hub/

 

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