The U.S. government created a simple model called ChooseMyPlate to help us eat a balanced diet and get the nutrients our bodies need. Dr. David Rock, executive director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and Dr. Daniel Siegel, executive director of the Mindsight Institute and clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, created something similar called The Healthy Mind Platter. It contains 7 daily activities that contribute to mental health and strengthen connections with other people.
The seven essential mental activities are:
Focus Time. When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
Play Time. When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, which helps make new connections in the brain.
Connecting Time. When we connect with other people, ideally in person, or take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us, richly activating the brain's relational circuitry.
Physical Time. When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible, which strengthens the brain in many ways.
Time In. When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, helping to better integrate the brain.
Down Time. When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, which helps the brain recharge.
Sleep Time. When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.
There’s no specific recipe for how much of each activity is needed for wellness. Like eating a balanced diet, it’s good to get a variety of these activities each day.