TKG LISTEN: The Healthy Mind Platter

At TKG, divergent thinking and creativity are celebrated and encouraged in students, teachers and parents, alike.  We draw on resources like Dr. Dan Siegel’s Mindsight Institute and his book “The Whole Brain Child” (Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson) to influence environment and learning plans.  We encourage you to take a few minutes to read this article on about the diet for a healthy mind and take action toward keeping your mind healthy and offering opportunities to children in your care:

The Healthy Mind Platter was HealthyMindPlattercreated by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute and Clinical Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine in collaboration with Dr. David Rock, Executive Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute.

Seven daily essential mental activities to optimize brain matter and create well-being

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.

The Healthy Mind Platter Overview

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently replaced its food pyramid with a needed revision, a “choose my plate” pictorial example of a dish of food groups to remind us of what a daily diet should consist of to optimize physical health. What would be the equivalent of a recommended daily diet for a healthy mind?

With an obesity epidemic rampant in the US, this change is welcome and hopefully will inspire people to be aware of how they compose their day’s food intake. Our mind, embodied in our extended neural circuitry and embedded in our connections to others and even the way we relate to our planet, is also in need of careful attention to establish and maintain mental health. Poverty, hunger, and homelessness threaten the essential needs of many throughout the world. War and natural disasters fill many lives with fear and suffering. And even for individuals in more stable environments, modern life can be filled with an overwhelming focus on the outer world and an experience of being isolated from meaningful connections with others. Multi-tasking with its fragmented attention and the sense of becoming overwhelmed with information overload frequently fracture a sense of wholeness. In each of these conditions, the embodied and socially embedded requirements for a healthy mind are not being created in daily life throughout the world. Many are deficient in a daily regimen necessary for mental well-being.

So what would be included in The Healthy Mind Platter? In the field of interpersonal neurobiology, we define a core aspect of the mind and also propose that a healthy mind emerges from a process called “integration”— the linkage of different components of a system. That system can be, for example, the body as we connect upper and lower regions to one another. Integration can also include how we connect with others in a family or a community, honoring differences and promoting compassionate linkages with each other. If we embrace interpersonal neurobiology’s proposed definition of a key facet of mind as an embodied and relationally embedded process that regulates energy and information flow, how can we make a practical definition of mental habits that can help people with their diet of “daily essential mental nutrients”? How can we use the focus of attention to strengthen integration in our bodies and in our relationships on a daily basis? What would the fundamental components of such a health-promoting daily regimen of mental activities be?

To address these questions, my friend and colleague, David Rock, a leader in the organizational consulting world, and I got together and created what we’re calling The Healthy Mind Platter. Here is how we describe the elements of this plan for a healthy mind.

The Healthy Mind Platter has seven daily essential mental activities necessary for optimum mental health. READ MORE AT…


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