We have lots of ways of measuring our physical well being that help us determine when our bodies are healthy and when we are pushing them too much. But what we don’t have is a good measure of our mental well being, and it’s something we need because we’re pushing ourselves like never before. We are doing more things, with more speed, being deluged with information, and scattering our attention as never before in history of humankind.
We really have no reliable information on good mental habits. Business treats workers as if their mental effort were inexhaustible, an automatically replenishing resource. Yet in many organizations, the sense of being overwhelmed is one of the biggest problems workers face. And if people don’t have reliable information about the mind and the brain and under what conditions they operate best, workers may not be aware how that is affecting their performance and their living.
Two physicians, David Rock and Daniel Siegel, have developed seven activities for mental well being. By doing these activities every day, you will help improve your mental well being.
The first activity is focusing on a task. When we do this in a goal-oriented way we make strong connections in the brain. Another activity is simply taking the time to play, to do something spur of the moment or something creative, which helps make new neural connections in the brain. Taking time to interact with other people also is important for building connections in the brain. Another way to strengthen the brain is through physical activity, as is simple reflection, turning inward to think about our thoughts and feelings. We need to take time to relax, to just let our mind wander occasionally to help it recharge. And we need to get enough sleep, which is crucial to mental health and the best functioning of our brain.
The physicians aren’t recommending that businesses drop everything and radically change in order to allow employees the time to incorporate each activity. But they are saying that people should be more aware of these activities that help lead to good mental health and should make an effort to engage in some of them as often as possible.
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