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  Sheila Pigott  
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Living Well

This is a regularly changing page containing; reflections, thoughts and simple self-help ideas. Previous Living Well pages will be added to a growing archive as an on-line resource. Click below to access the Archive pages:

An emotional storm - Beginnings - Running Free - The Hazelnut Shell - Letting Go
The Scratched Diamond
- Help! I've Lost The Plot - Joots - The Flashback - Food... For thought!

Food... For thought!

I began to feel hungry, so I headed for the kitchen to make some tea and to raid the biscuit box. With a sigh of satisfaction, mug of tea in hand, I put my feet up, and watched the birds on the feeder outside for a few minutes.

You know how it is when your body is at rest, how your mind too, tends to go into a relaxed reverie state? I was asking myself; how do I feed my mind when it gets tired and 'hungry'? How do I know when my mind is ready for change, for nourishment, rest or play? My body is good at telling me when I need more fluid, so just how do I, and how do you know when your mind and brain needs nourishment? How do we take care of our minds?

Dr. Daniel Siegel* has done extensive research on the brain and on how our minds grow and function even before we are born. He recommends 7 (ideally daily) mental activities that help our brains to grow and repair after the very demanding and complex effort we expect day after day - and often take for granted. You may find that you already practice some of the points below without realising it.

• Focus Time: Concentrating, learning, and practicing a new skill is an example of focussed time. Focussing intensely on a task, makes deep connections between different parts in the brain
• Play Time: Can you remember how good you feel after laughing with someone? Mental and emotional play-time helps our brains to repair and grow more nerve connections that enable us to build strong and healthy relationships with others, while also lifting our own self image.
• Connecting Time: Decide to really notice when someone is helpful or gives a kind look or smile. Take time to notice how you feel inside. (Feel warmer, softer, tense muscles relax?) When we make time to appreciate others, (as well as the natural world we live in), we stimulate the parts of the brain that enables us to make strong relationships with family and colleagues, and to be more in touch with nature that is all around us always inviting attention.
• Physical time: Did you know that we strengthen our mind and brain health, as well as our bodies when we exercise actively and aerobically?
• Time In: By quietly tuning into body sensations, images, emotional feelings, thoughts, even small body movements, we help our brain to integrate, to weave together these different and important mental functions that we often just don't notice.
• Down Time: When we let ourselves 'switch off' for a few minutes, as when I sat watching the birds feeding, the brain is following an essential need to recharge itself. This by the way, isn't being lazy! Some kinds of gentle day dreaming are examples of 'down time',
• Sleep Time: Just as our bodies need sleep to heal, recover and resource for the following day, so too do our minds. Having enough regular sleep, consolidates the days' experiences and learning, while giving our brains a chance to recover from the pace and the 'hurly burly' of the day.

You may have noticed that none of these mental activities include any electronic equipment or aids!

Our reliable brains work all day long, (and all night too, incidentally) just as hard as our bodies. Take good care of your mind – like your body; it's the only one you will ever get!

*To read Dr Daniel Siegel's article, go to: www.drdanseigel.com and in the newsletters, his article dated 11/06/11. "The Healthy Mind Platter: Mental Habits for Creating Well-Being and a Meaningful Life"

If you are curious to learn about how the mind and brain functions, and how psychotherapy can repair and heal damaged and stressed minds, see Daniel Siegel's book "Mindsight. Transform Your Brain With The New Science Of Kindness". Oneworld publications

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