What Your Brain Needs

The Healthy Mind Platter

Almost no one has missed the importance of taking care of our bodies and keeping up our stamina and strength. Most of us have at least some knowledge of which foods are healthy and which foods are not. Our body is our home; if we don’t take care of it, we literally won’t have any place to live.

How to take care of our brain should be common knowledge, too. After all, our brain is our most important tool in life. Making sure our brain gets everything it needs will give us more wellbeing, increase our ability to regulate and handle our emotions and allow us to act more intentionally. Indeed, taking care of our brain strengthens our about to lead ourselves in an effective way.

The Healthy Mind Platter, developed by David Rock and Dr. Dan Siegel, is an excellent starting point. It gives us an overview of all the things our minds need to work optimally.

Sleep Time reminds us of the importance of sleep. Today, we sometimes treat sleep as if it is a luxury that we can choose cut back on. In reality, it is the very foundation of our well-being.

Learn more: Matt Walker: Sleep is your superpower | TED Talk

By now, most of us know well the importance of keeping fit and Physical Time. Our bodies are made for moment and the positive effects of exercise are widely documented. So get out there and get moving!

Play Time is all about trying new things and keep that inner kid alive. Hang on to your curiosity and ability to just enjoy life’s experiences. Play is vital to childrens’ social development and is a good skill to keep even as adults.

Learn more: The Importance of Play for Adults (psychcentral.com)

Focus Time might be something we have at work. Or maybe the exact opposite is true, since we are continously being interrupted by email, digital collaboration tools, colleagues and ourselves. Multitasking is the enemy of focus time, but the brain needs to think hard and long about things sometimes in order for us to be able to do cognitively demanding tasks and solve complex problems.

Learn more: Amazon.com: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World eBook: Newport, Cal: Kindle Store

Connecting Time, where we connect with both other people and nature is also vital for our well-being. As Brené Brown says, ”We are hard-wired for connection.” Having a heartful and intimate talk with a friend who is giving you their undivided attention is truly healing.

Learn more: Brené Brown: Why Human Connection Will Bring Us Closer Together (forbes.com)

Time In allows us to explore our inner selves and get to know our thoughts and emotions. We also re-learn to listen to our bodies whose signals we more often than not ignore or quiet with a pain-killer. Research shows that mindfulness and meditation helps integrate our brain and increases the cooperation and communication between it’s different parts.

Learn more: Dr. Dan Siegel’s Hand Model of the Brain – YouTube
Learn more: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment – Kindle edition by Tolle, Eckhart. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Down Time is under serious threat from today’s smart phones and constant flow of information. Our minds still need to wander and having time to just let thought come and go, without any special intent, is also important for our brain’s wellbeing. Remember when waiting for the bus meant just standing around and waiting for the bus? That’s down time.

Take care of your mind!

Source: The Healthy Mind Platter, NeuroLeadership Journal, Issue Four, David Rock, Daniel J. Siegel, Steven A.J. Poelmans & Jessica Payne