“I believe everybody wants to be healthy” and many goals revolve around the food we eat. And for good reason! But there’s more to a healthy life than what we’re feeding our physical bodies. And these things need just as much attention and focus. So, what are you feeding yourself? everybody
Everywhere you turn right now, people are talking about one thing more than anything else — getting healthy. And much of the focus is on paying attention to the food that we eat.
There’s nothing wrong with being intentional about what we eat. In fact, it’s a very good thing! Our bodies thrive on healthy foods. It’s part of the reason why I have committed to a whole food diet for myself and my family.
But I have to wonder sometimes — are we as careful about guarding what we put in our minds, souls, and spirits as we are about what we put in our bodies?
What we feed ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually is just as important as what we feed ourselves physically, and it demands just as much care and intention.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve been paying more attention to what I’m feeding myself – all of myself. Looking at the idea of wellness as a whole, what we feed our minds is just as important as what we feed our bodies. The good news is that finding healthy brain food is much easier than it seems, it’s all around us. Join me as I take a look at the different areas that need nourishment, and consider what you’ve been feeding yourself as we go.
WHAT ARE YOU FEEDING YOUR MIND?
What have you been putting into your mind lately? Are you intentional about the quality of your “brain food?” Are you careful about what kinds of things you’re regularly feeding on, or do you simply ingest whatever comes your way?
Do you spend much time or thought on training, expanding, or challenging your mind? Though anatomically speaking the brain is not a muscle, it still needs to be exercised like one. If not used regularly, it will begin to atrophy. And if used poorly, it will cause damage to the rest of your body.
Here are 10 ways to feed your mind a healthy diet: Never stop learning.
1. Pick up a good book (or two).
Reading has enormous benefits for your brain. This is especially true when reading books that will teach, inspire or challenge you, but reading for entertainment is good for you as well. It is very important to read regularly. “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. Don’t have time to read? Listen to audio books.
2. Learn a second language.
Learning another language isn’t just a good exercise for your brain, it’s one of the best ways to learn about another culture. The deep values and ideas of a place are often revealed through its words. I’ve been interested in learning Spanish for a while now, and my frequent trips to Mexico are becoming richer and more meaningful because of the language.
3. Listen to a great podcast.
I love listening to podcasts in the car and even while I’m doing laundry or household chores —it’s a nice break from looking at screens all day.
4. Visit a local museum.
An afternoon visit to the local museum is one the quickest and easiest ways to give your mind a refresh. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone. Discover history, science, arts, and culture. Take the children or grab a friend to go with you — what you see will give you plenty to talk about.
5. Watch a great documentary.
Documentaries can be a very effective way to introduce yourself to new topics, as well as gain more depth on certain topics you may already be knowledgeable in. They allow you to develop a more “well-rounded “ base of knowledge. Documentaries also help to introduce you to new cultures and lifestyles; therefore, giving you a greater perspective outside your experiences.
6. Choose your influences carefully.
If you are what you eat in a physical sense, then you are who you surround yourself with, in a mental sense. I am influenced by people that I spend a lot of time with. So, I try to be careful about the people and influences I allow into my personal space. Part of that is my personality, I think, but part of it is natural — what we feed on regularly affects us and becomes who we are.
If you’re looking to grow your mind, you should hang out around people with the same goal as you. Doing so allows you to learn from these individuals as well as motivate you to keep working on growing your mind.
7. Pursue hobbies
Regularly taking time to do something I love is one of the best things I can do for myself. Not only does it feed my soul, but it recharges my energy level and fills my joy bank, as well. When I take just a little time each day to read, write, or craft, I feel more ready to be my best self.
8. Get Physical Exercise.
Of course, I’m going to mention exercise. Working out doesn’t only help to keep your body fit. Physical exercises are also essential if you want to maintain a healthy mind. Daily physical exercise results in increased production of capillaries (tiny blood cells) in the cerebral cortex (the area of the brain responsible for thought). More capillaries mean that your brain receives the nourishment it needs to perform at its best.
9. Practice Meditation.
I can’t stress enough the importance of my daily morning quiet time. I guard this with my life because I need it. Meditation is like weight training, but for the brain. Daily meditation has been linked to improved capacity for attentiveness, focus, and emotional tranquility. Choose to start your day off with positivity rather than negativity. Sitting in silence can result in enhanced working memory, better control over negative emotions, growth in some brain areas. Quiet time may be difficult for mothers with small children, but try to get it in when you can. It doesn’t have to take a lot of your time, keep it short if necessary.
10 . Ask yourself questions every day.
How often do you challenge your perception about certain topics? Do you take time to question your beliefs? Do you question what you were taught as a child? Do you know about your family history? Do you know about other cultures? Asking yourself questions that challenge your current beliefs is a great way to feed and grow your mind. By questioning yourself, you force your brain to become curious and adaptive to different points of view. Open your mind to another idea, something you didn’t know about before. Asking questions also forces your mind to look for information either from books or other sources, which in turn results in continuous learning and growth.
People are constantly talking about starting a new diet to lose weight and look better. Maybe you want to drink more water, reduce your intake of processed foods, or get more rest.
All those things are good (and necessary for healthy living). But what about mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health? Just as the body is only as good as the food we give it, our minds, and spirit are only as good as what we feed it, we can’t expect to have healthy minds by consuming a steady diet of negativity.
Take some time to consider if what you’re feeding your mind is benefitting you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And if not, make a list of the things you could do to improve your “diet” in those areas. Make sure you’re getting a balanced diet.
Put Yourself on your To-Do List!