Mind Nutrition: What’s Your Mental Diet?

February 9, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Mental Diet? Most would feel we have enough already with nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle to keep us busy and on the path to wellbeing. However, a vital aspect of nutrition is not just the supplements we feed the mind, but also what we are taking in on a daily basis via the media, music, games, work and relationships. The psychological and emotional input, whether volitional or un-avoidable, is key nutrition to our mental health and bodily wellbeing. If we are feeding ourselves a lot of stressful experiences, negative relationships, or inadequate rest, the majority of us on the planet are inducing emotional and psychological toxins that work against our sense of integrity, mastery, and harmony with our selves, others and our environment. I understand that there are always a small number who thrive on what appear to be negative experiences, but they are not the majority. Some of us compensate with behaviors and attitudes that appear helpful, but actually work against us in the long run. Take self-medicating with drugs or alcohol or smoking. Whatever. It may appear to be coping but it actually delays addressing the source of the stress with a few moments of relief. We learn to avoid our challenges, not overcome them or develop resiliency. Most will have challenges and stressors in their lives from time to time. It’s like unhealthy foods’ or lifestyles’ impact on the body. There is no immediate damage from most of those events, but over time, it accelerates the “mileage” on the body and mind. We engage in healthy diet and lifestyle changes to combat the negative, as well as slow down or reverse other detrimental trends in our health.

We can engage our minds in similar exercises and inputs to restore and enhance our health and wellbeing. Like with diet and exercise, we are prone to be inconsistent with our Mind Nutrition. So, here are some suggestions:

Be more consistent with regular exercise, eating healthily and getting rest. Build on this with reading a positive life-enhancing book—just 10 pages a day. As stated in the best seller, “The Slight Edge”, by Jeff Olson, consistent small steps have a compounding effect over time. Devote time for quiet reflection and meditation before starting the busy part of your day. Use this 10-15 minutes to relax, envision your day, even the rush hour, embodied with peace, harmony and success for all involved. Remember, you are connecting to a higher order of self and community of man each time you do so. Remember to treat all you encounter, depending on their age, as if they were your mother, father, son, daughter, sister, or brother. Look for what’s right with them, not what’s wrong. Reduce negative emotional inputs such as violence in media and games. Add more positive emotional inputs with music, media or readings. We’ll talk about strategies to keep entanglements from happening when confronted with unavoidable negative experiences. Remember, you become what you think about most of the time….