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Tips to Improve Mental Wellness

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A lot of focus is placed on improving physical wellness, but mental wellness doesn’t always receive equal emphasis. To address this issue, Daniel J. Siegel, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine and founder of the Mindsight Institute, and David Rock, founder of the Neuroleadership Institute, have created “The Healthy Mind Platter,” a pictorial example of activities that can help people cultivate optimum mental health. Siegel and Rock recommend these activities as “mental nutrition” that the brain needs to function at its best.

Here, under the headings used on the platter, are the seven types of activity:

Focus Time. Taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain when closely focusing on tasks in a goal-oriented way.

Play Time. Playfully enjoying new experiences, being spontaneous or creative to help make new brain connections.

Connecting Time. Connecting with other people, ideally in person, to activate the brain’s social circuitry.

Physical Time. Moving our bodies, aerobically if possible, to strengthen the brain.

Time In. Reflecting internally and quietly, helping to better integrate the brain.

Down Time. Letting our mind wander or relax, without focus or goal, helping our brain to recharge.

Sleep Time. Giving the brain rest to recover from the day’s experiences.

For more information on the Healthy Mind Platter, go to www.drdansiegel.com/resources/healthy_mind_platter/.



Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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