There is much talk about living a balanced life but…What does that really mean?

Some would say that balance means being able to handle whatever life throws at you with a sense of calm and an appropriate level of motivation; other people would probably define balance as being able to remain clear minded not only in difficult situations but also in the course of very happy events in life.  A more pragmatic way to look at life balance would be to ensure that you spend a fair amount of time on the aspects of life that matter to you (e.g. time with family, socializing, work/education, self-care, hobbies, community/volunteering, spiritual life).

The Healthy Mind Platter concept developed by David Rock and Daniel Siegel, M.D. brings the idea that in the same way in which we are advised by our health specialist to fill our plates with a balanced amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins and minerals, we are encouraged to engage in 7 types of activities during the day for optimal mental health. The seven mental activities suggested by David Rock and Daniel Siegel, M.D. are the following:

  • Focus Time – this is time during which we are focusing on different challenging goal oriented activities.  Most of us do this through our employments or academic studies each day.
  • Play time – allowing ourselves to be playful and spontaneous actually helps our brains to create new connections within the brain.
  • Connecting time – our social connections are so important because they help activate parts of the brain which are specialized to facilitate relations and they help shape who we actually are.
  • Physical time – the aerobic activities (e.g. light physical activities like walking) strengthen not only our bodies but our brains as well!  Hmm, who knew?
  • Time in – is defined as a time of quiet meditative type of reflection on body sensations, feelings, images and thoughts.
  • Down time – is a time when we allow our minds to simply relax and wander without focusing on any specific task; this type of mental activity helps our brains to recharge.
  • Sleep time – is a time when the brain rests and recovers; this is why an appropriate amount of sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy brain.

How many of these 7 types of activities are you getting every day?  Try incorporating the ones you are missing and see if it doesn’t make a difference to how much more balanced you feel.  Feel free to spread the benefits too, try telling friends and family about it or even invite them out to cover some of these activities together.  You won’t believe how good you’ll feel!