Typically, a “Top 5” list for health tips would include eating guidelines and encouragement to exercise. While those are both crucial pieces to the puzzle, what if I told you that true health starts in the brain? Here are my current, non-negotiable, daily health tips that help me stay clear, focused and productive:
1. Good sleep = a great day.When we’re rested we are more resilient, more even in our emotional state, and more receptive to friends, co-workers and family. To calm an overactive mind while lying in bed wishing for sleep to come, make a mental list of 10 things you’re grateful for. This will pull your mind away from the constant stream of thoughts and allow everything to settle inside.
2. Take a moment to breathe.Before replying to an email or beginning a meeting, before going in to pick up children from school or greeting family at the end of a long day, take three deep breaths. Encourage the exhale to be twice as long as the inhale. This breathing pattern gives your nervous system the signal that all is well and quiets reactivity.
3. Slow your roll. Do you ever find yourself rushing around home or office like something is chasing you? We often create a false sense of urgency simply by the speed with which we move through the day. Slow your pace, notice your breath as you walk, and arrive to your next destination more present and clear-minded.
4. Schedule tech-free time every day. While our brains continue to adapt to the use of modern technology, we also need a break. Schedule an hour or two a day where the phone is off or commit to no computer time after 7 pm. Resist checking social media until 8 am each day or commit to yourself that you won’t take your phone with you on your lunch break. Make it a habit and get into the same tech-free routine each day. Rest your eyes on nature or sky instead. Your brain will thank you.
5. Commit to a mindfulness meditation practice.A major finding in modern neuroscience is that the architecture of our brains is not static. The architecture can change. What we practice and think about grows stronger in the brain, for better or worse. Develop a formal mindfulness practice to help manage the constant stream of thoughts and create a more healthy relationship with your mind.