A week before Christmas, I was chatting with my naturopath (love her!) about some of these lifestyle goals. I shared that I wanted to be healthy...yada yada ya, blah blah blah. After I got through my speel, she asked me what I did to be healthy mentally.
My mind drew a blank. How DO I exercise my brain? I thought sheepishly.
It dawned on me that I hadn't really focused much on this area. Sure, there's always room to improve, but it seemed I had nothing in this area outlined to improve from(!). My first priority - to seek deeper relationship with God (spiritual), my second priority - work on relationships, my thrid priority - to get back into physical shape...fourth "priority" - insert *blank* here...
She gave me some suggestions to encourage and build a healthy mind...
1/ read books: To hear her perspective of reading was interesting. "When you read, talk to your book. Let it talk back. Reading is like having a conversation with someone who has defined their life perspective/opinions/experience and written them on paper ready for you to challenge, agree/disagree with, learn from." Even if I don't support what the author may be writing, my mind is creating it's own views/opinions.
2/ puzzles: Word puzzles, brain teasers, mind games ... There are 2 things my Gramma stands by to keeping her healthy: walks & crossword puzzles. It was cool to hear my naturopath confirm that these types of things are good for logic and brain stimulation ... my Gramma is so smart!
3/ music & languages: Engage in and practice them!
4/ use your opposites: If you're right-handed, try doing your simple everyday tasks with your left hand (and vice versa). Physically, you are using different sides of your brain.
5/ letting go of thoughts: Writing & stretching. Expressing thoughts on paper allows us to define and fuse loose ended thoughts together and is a way of clearing our minds. Another way to let go of the "busy-brain mode" is to stretch and breath deeply.
6/ be positive and be vocal: Often, we think positively but neglect to share it with others. That results in supressing the optimism and (silently) supporting the negative attitude. As simple as it may be, curving conversations to end on a positive note encourages our brains to keep on a sanguine path to follow potential, creativity, and robust structure.
These are not new enlightenments, per say, and I know there are so many other ways to get my mind into shape. But this is my list (for now) of how I am going to achieve mental fitness in my day-to-day ... how I love this type of conditioning! I've (re)started some habits to implement a few of these things and have added them to my short-term goals list. *Loving* the exploration of 'working out' my mind.
What are some ways you exercise/intend to exercise your mind?
pic pix: music I plan to learn, books I plan to read by May, puzzles, Jan.2013, at home