Healthy Mind Platter- Introduction

by DevorahTockar 01 Apr 2021

Article 1 of 8 Focusing on Healthy Mind Platter Theme created by Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr David Rock

Disclaimer: The original framework of Healthy Mind Platter can be found at https://drdansiegel.com/healthy-mind-platter/ The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the intended views of the creators of the Health Mind Platter; Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr David Rock.

We know how important it is to have a balanced diet of healthy foods for our wellbeing and physical health, but what about our mental health? Dr Rock and Dr D Siegel created the Healthy Mind Platter which incorporates 7 activities that we should be doing daily for optimal mind health. They are Focus Time, Physical Time, Play Time, Connecting Time, Down Time, Time In and Sleep Time. Their research explores the impact of these activities on different parts of our brains and overall wellbeing.

The key is to have balance. There is no prescribed time allocation for each activity, but we should ensure that we incorporate each activity in every day. If you don’t currently do this, that’s ok! It takes time to adjust and being mindful of the Healthy Mind Platter can help us to understand our need and the needs of our children better. This leads to increased understanding and sensitivity when those needs aren’t being met.

Join us as we explore these 7 activities in more depth.

OPTION 1:

Put it on a plate- literally. Sit down as a family and grab some paper plates, draw the seven sections, and introduce the Healthy Mind Platter (you can use the introductory video). Try to get an idea of what activities each member is already doing in their day so you know your starting point. Leave this on the dining table for a week and as a family you can check back each night, maybe at dinner time to see if you found balance. You can then discuss what activity you would like to increase on for the next day and practical ways to do so.

After you have sat down and drawn your current activities on the plate you can delve into them deeper. Take 7 days of the week. Each day pick one activity and create awareness around it. 

Each day of the week you can pick one area to focus on. We tried this at home and found that it was a concrete way to introduce each concept without it being overwhelming. At breakfast we discussed what the ‘theme of the day’ is and what that looked like for each family member. Throughout the day we supported each other and at the end of the day we reflected on it- but more of that later.

This is a great starting point and may be enough for some families, but what we have found through our work is that for proper integration of these daily activities in our lives they need a bit more time.

OPTION 2:

Start by drawing the 7 daily activities on a plate and stick this plate up on the fridge. As a family, have a discussion to introduce the Healthy Mind Platter and encourage the family as a team to work through each activity, one by one- one activity per week for 7 weeks. Encourage your children to choose the order of activities. You can follow our Facebook page where we have introduced a new theme each week with activities, ideas, tips and encouragement. 

If you are feeling really adventurous, together as a family you can write a list of activities and cut them up and place them on the section of the plate that it fits into best.

Healthy Mind Plate- 5 year old

Healthy Mind Plate- 8 year old

Note, I’ve left the ‘screen time’ option out. It’s up to each family to see what works for them. Screens might be used for playtime, or downtime, or focus time (zoom or tutorials), or physical time (exercise videos or interactive play station games), or even connecting time (playing chess with a grandparent online). Not all screen activities are created equal! Some are more beneficial than others, click here to read an article that explains this further. 

We don’t want any one activity to take over our whole day- remember balance is key!

If you are interested in the full research publication on the Healthy Mind Platter, click here. If you would like to watch Dr Dan Siegel explaining the Healthy Mind Platter in 5 minutes, click here.

I know that you are passionate about thriving as a parent and having children who thrive! If you would like to continue the conversation please send us an email to join our mailing list and be first to receive new articles and invitations to join us for zoom discussions (limited participants).

I’m off to get some physical exercise followed by sleep.

Chat soon, 

Devorah T

Article 1 of 8 Focusing on Healthy Mind Platter Theme created by Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr David Rock

Disclaimer: The original framework of Healthy Mind Platter can be found at https://drdansiegel.com/healthy-mind-platter/ The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the intended views of the creators of the Health Mind Platter; Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr David Rock.

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