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My bet is you have a New Year’s Resolution for 2017 that is connected in some way to your physical health: is it losing weight, upping vegetables, staying away from too much alcohol, sugar and bad fats, giving up smoking, getting more exercise?? Why do we so often forget our mental health, taking it for granted, ignoring it, feeling a bit uncomfortable about it. I suppose, like most things in life we neglect, it is only when it goes wrong, that we realise how important it is to us and let’s face it, without strong mental wellbeing our ability to function in the world, to face all the challenges thrown at us, will be impaired. Of course, there is the undeniable fact that good sensible physical health contributes hugely to mental health, but, what about mental wellness exercise in and of itself?

For 2017, here is the most simple exercise you can do daily to improve your mental wellness and what I like about this is that it can be expanded into a Life Plan that will deliver on your longer term goals (contact me if you would like to do your Life Plan, can be face-to-face, or via telephone/email/Skype; it’s fun and exciting to do and really makes a difference). David Rock devised this Healthy Mind Platter, it has 7 prongs to it and if we can pay attention and give time to each one, then we are well on the way to mental wellbeing: daily exercise in each of these 7 areas is all that’s needed:

Focus Time. When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges

Play Time. When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences

Connecting Time. When we connect with other people, ideally in person, or take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us

Physical Time. When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible

Time In. When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts

Down Time. When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax

Sleep Time. When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day

Get going for 2017, improve your mental wellbeing and your brain will thank you for it!

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Crowley is a freelance Trainer and Coach in Behavioural Change and HR Projects, located in Cork, Ireland. Make contact on crowleyannem@gmail.com.

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