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7 ACTIVITIES TO HAVE A STRONG MIND (No matter how old you are)

Daniel J. Siegel in his book “Brain Storm” tells us everything that parents should know about the brain development of our children. Throughout its pages it offers us theoretical data and practical exercises to achieve an optimal brain state.

Of all of them, we found the one called: “Plate of a healthy mind” interesting. It includes 7 activities to keep our mind in shape. Although it was initially designed for teenagers to do it, we think it is an ideal activity for all members of the family.

Let's look at each of these 7 activities:

1.   Interior time

It is the time dedicated to paying attention to the phenomena that occur within us. It means becoming aware of both mental life and the bodily sensations that occur at a given moment. During that time we perceive emotions, thoughts, attitudes, sensations...

There are various ways to achieve this but perhaps one of the most effective is through meditative or mindfulness techniques. If you are interested in this topic, we encourage you to visit our website, category meditation and mindfulness .

 2.  Sleep time

Without a doubt, sleeping is an essential activity for your brain to function optimally. It allows what you learned during the day to be consolidated, the metabolism of food and other substances is carried out appropriately, the stress response is regulated, the brain works better, the immune system can perform its functions, the energy consumed during the day is recovered...

Although each person is different, studies have concluded that in adolescents, the ideal number of hours of sleep is between 8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Adults, however, need a little less, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

We are convinced that sleep is something that can and should be taught from early childhood. If you need guidelines to do so, these readings can help you: How you can help your child sleep well” and also “Stories to help the children to sleep well”. If what you need is a trick to sleep easily, try the technique that we tell you in this article.

Sleep, as you see, is not something that should be taken lightly. You must make sure that there are correct rest habits at home. Both children, adolescents and adults, you must take great care of this aspect so that your brain works correctly.

3.   Concentration time

It refers to the time spent focusing attention on a single thing. When we concentrate, neural connections are generated or strengthened that keep the brain active. By focusing intense attention, neuroplastic changes are optimized, which are necessary for learning. When we are paying attention to something but we get distracted for whatever reason, learning is not done correctly and the brain is not strengthened.  

In summary: having spaces for concentration make the brain learn, grow and create new connections.

You can achieve this time of concentration by doing tasks such as puzzles, sudokus, meditating or doing cross stitch. As we always recommend, choose what attracts you most and start practicing.

4.   Downtime

This time is for not having any specific objective or seeking a specific result, that is, time for not doing anything specific. Every day set aside time for this, so that the mind can relax. It is a time in which you plan to “do nothing.”

While it may seem silly or a waste of time on the surface, studies tell us that it's important to set aside downtime every day (even if it's in small doses).

5.   Playtime

That is, dedicate time to fun and pleasant activities. Today we know that when we carry out activities spontaneously, in order to have fun and develop our creativity, the brain grows and strengthens. That is, dedicating time to these types of activities allows you to:

·   The mind is open and receptive to everything that may arise.

·   The brain creates new connections and consolidates existing ones.

·   Promotes creativity and innovation.

The requirements that this play time must meet are: an interactive activity without rigid rules, a time in which laughter and creativity are encouraged, without results ( winner-loser) and without judgment or criticism. Some examples may be: reading jokes, free dancing, improvisation exercises, mime, enhancing sense of humor at home

Play time helps counteract adults' tendency to be rigid and follow rules. Without a doubt, having moments of spontaneity and creativity in our daily lives makes us live more relaxed and helps us strengthen our brain. 

6.   Physical activity time

We are not going to go into detail about all the benefits that physical exercise has for our mental and physical health, but it has been proven that body movement develops the brain< /strong>.

Reserving some time for both aerobic exercise and strength exercise enhances neuroplasticity. New brain connections are created, learning is fixed, it is remembered better... Furthermore, not only is the brain benefited, but at the level of mental health the advantages are enormous.

We encourage you to investigate and find the activity that best suits you to get your body moving. Your body and mind will thank you.

7.    Connection time

As we can deduce, connection time refers to the time we dedicate to connecting with other people and the environment that surrounds us.

There are many studies that conclude that connecting with others contributes to making our lives happier and more rewarding. One way to connect with others is by spending quality time with them and having thoughtful, deep, and meaningful conversations. Another way is to want others to be happy and have things go well. The family colloquios They are another good way to connect with the rest of the family.

As we have pointed out, connecting with nature also gives us that feeling of connection. You can go to the mountains or your neighborhood park and observe with an open mind the trees, clouds, rivers or animals that may appear. You can also contribute to caring for the environment through recycling, reducing waste or making responsible use of resources.

Connection time is very important because it helps us feel part of a whole, of a shared humanity. We “leave” our bodies and minds to connect with others.

What do you think of Daniel Siegel's proposal to strengthen our brain?

If you are interested in this topic, we encourage you to visit the “ section. Emotional well-being” on our website where we talk about many other resources to take care of your body and mind. If you also want to read more chapters by Daniel J. Siegel, we leave you the link to his book BRAIN STORM: The power and purpose of the adolescent brain.


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