The 7 Daily Essentials for Brain Health

Dr. Dan Siegel saw that the US Dept of Agriculture replaced the food pyramid with a plate to remind people of what a healthy diet looked like, and he thought, how about doing that for optimal brain function? So, he designed a plate with the 7 essentials daily essentials we need for optimal brain health and sense of well being. They are: Sleep, Physical Time, Focus Time, Connecting Time, Play Time, Down Time, and Time In. We need to have a bit of each of these in our lives each day.  Here are his brief definitions of each category. He also had a great suggestion. He suggested that you map out an average day and see what amounts of time you spend in each essential mental activity. Are you lacking in one area? Two? Is one area taking up way too much of your plate? How about mapping a day, where you felt fantastic? How did it look on this plate? During this and next week, I will explore each of these categories more, to give you more ideas of how to achieve optimal brain health.

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.