Lead with a Healthy Mind

Center for Creative Leadership, Leading Effectively e-Newsletter

Our brains are on overload. The everyday experience of too much information and too little time is not only distracting, unproductive and frustrating, it’s unhealthy.

To combat unhealthy mental habits, David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, and Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. have identified seven daily activities that make up the “mental nutrients” that your brain needs to function at its best:

  1. Focus Time. Focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way and take on challenges. This makes deep connections in the brain.
  2. Play Time. Be spontaneous or creative, enjoy novel experiences, be playful. This helps make new connections in the brain.
  3. Connecting Time. Engage with other people, ideally in person. Or take time to appreciate your connection to the natural world. This activates the brain’s relationship circuitry.
  4. Physical Time. Move your body, aerobically if possible. This strengthens the brain in many ways.
  5. Time In. Quietly reflect on your internal world. Focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts helps to better integrate the brain.
  6. Down Time. Be non-focused, without any specific goal, and let your mind wander or simply relax. Your brain can recharge.
  7. Sleep Time. Give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.