Do you ever feel like you are hard on yourself? Like you wish you could get more done in a day or like your brain is just not on board to accomplish all you’ve set out to do? We’ve all been there and had days when our internal pace does not match that of the to-do list, or we just feel like we need a boost of brain power.
TODAY we give our rational selves a chance to look to SCIENCE to figure out what we can do to improve ourselves, and luckily these days, science and wisdom are catching up with each other.
This last weekend while I was at an amazing neuroscience conference at UCLA, Dr. Dan Siegel shared an insight that I think every American, and every world citizen, should know! (Americans in particular tend to suck at prioritizing a few of these.)
He shared a list of SEVEN things each of us can do every day to improve our neuroplasticity – that is, our brains ability to self-regulate, adapt and grow (don’t worry, you’re brain won’t get bigger – just better;).
I’ll give you a hint, it’s not green juice, more vitamins, ginko biloba or standing on your head (though these things may also help).
SOoo…. How often do you do these? Please answer honestly based on the last 24 hours for a realistic assessment, or think of your average day if you’re on the beach in Hawaii right now (Hi Mom).
- TIME IN: When was the last time you stopped to focus inward and reflect? To sense your own feelings, emotions, body sensations? If you’re a yogi or meditator you may have this one DOWN! If it’s been a while, you can do it right now! How’s it goin’ in there?
- SLEEP TIME: How much sleep did you get last night? My Fitbit tells me I got 7 hours a 27 minutes last night. Don’t know about you but I could use a little more myself.
- CONNECTING TIME: This can be a talk with a good friend, a significant other, even a pet – connecting with nature even, we’ll take it. Anything that allows you to feel your connection to the world around you. Most of us, if cooped up alone in the house or in a cube all day, will naturally start to yearn for this connection. Unless you’re a hermit, of course. Okay, on to the next.
- FOCUS TIME: When we bring our full attention to a single task or goal, our brain is challenged to make deep connections. Now close those other twelve tabs and finish reading this post! 🙂
- PLAY TIME: This is the biggest one that I fall short on. Noticing the days following the conference it was all business – BUSYness. Where is the playtime? I’ve challenged myself to weave it into all the little to-dos, so it happens every day. Have you ever played that baby shower game where you time who can pair the socks from the laundry fastest? Oh yeah, watch out, my life is getting playful.;) Seriously though, (playfully?) get goofy on the regular. It does a body and brain good.
- PHYSICAL TIME: A certain Ludacris song pops to mind… MOVE, you wonderful person you, MOVE! Dance, walk, skip (skipping is the next new high intensity aerobic craze, btw… try it for 30 minutes, you’ll sweat buckets if you can even hang!)… whatever inspires you to get off your arse, after you finish reading this, go shake it out!! Use those big muscles of yours.
- DOWN TIME: Another one I, historically, suck at. YOUR BRAIN ACTUALLY NEEDS TIME TO DO NOTHING. Yep, that’s right, space out and stare at the wall.. :l It’s good for your brain, to a point. I recently heard someone call this “Faffing”. Let your brain Faff a little everyday.
Now, if you’re a parent, or a CBP (chronically busy person) you are likely wondering HOW you could POSSIBLY make time for all of these things – ?!?? I challenge you to weave it in – not because you should, but because it will FEEL good. You’ll feel better, and the world will too (see last post).
So, all of this is really about balancing – your neurobiology, your brain, and your lifestyle. So which one of these have you got DOWN and which ones could use some more love? Share your thoughts in the comments below and share this with anyone who could use the scientific wisdom in their life!
As always, big big love,