Balance Begins in the Brain

I’m busy. And even though you’re reading this, you’re probably busy. Who isn’t? But in all that busyness, are you able to be about your business? In other words:

  • Are you productive?
  • Are your important tasks prioritized?
  • Is your thinking clear and sustained?

There’s a lot of emphasis on work/life balance, how we spend so much time at work or doing work-related tasks, it bleeds into our personal lives. We’re overwhelmed, and out of balance. But work/life balance isn’t the only scale that matters. 

Have you stopped to consider the role of cognitive balance? When I say cognitive balance, I mean the things that help your brain function more optimally. If your thinking is clear, crisp and sustained, perhaps you can more effectively prioritize your tasks – something that requires a lot of mental energy. And if your tasks are better prioritized, perhaps you can be more productive. And if you’re more productive – making good use of your time – perhaps you have more time for that elusive thing called real life.

So how do you start to approach cognitive balance? How can we balance activities to benefit our brain and ultimately, lead more fulfilling lives? Drs. David Rock and Dan Siegel developed the concept of the Healthy Mind Platter™. According to them, a healthy mental diet includes:

  • Sleep time – Time spent sleeping. No really. Sleeping.
  • Physical time – Getting the blood flowing is great for your brain.
  • Focus time – Sustained attention on one task. No multi-tasking or constant email checking.
  • Connecting time – Connecting with other humans or with nature.
  • Play time – It’s not just for kiddos. You need it, too. Be social, and have fun.
  • Down time – Netflix and chill. Or something like that.
  • Time in – Mindfulness. Be here now.

How balanced is your mental diet? What will you tweak or try?

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