The Power of the Mind
The Power of The Mind
Most attention is paid to training the physical body. Many physically healthy people dedicate an hour or more into some type of workout several days a week. Yet that same person may spend no time at all, or only a few minutes, training their mind, even though the brain is by far the most important ‘muscle’ we have. The brain not only allows us to think, it controls voluntary movements, regulates involuntary activities such as breathing, our heartbeat, etc. Simply put, virtually everything we do, think and feel involves our brain. The return on investment for putting a few conscious minutes into your brain’s health each day is massive – and priceless. Here are some paths to consider:
Think of food/drink as fuel for your brain as much as your body. What we eat/drink has a huge impact on our brain’s health and ability to function at the highest level. I never count calories, rather I just think in terms of the quality of food I put in my body. Avoiding alcohol and excess sugars can dramatically improve your brain function. Bottom line, shift your perspective on calories as just being good/bad for your body to enhancing/reducing ever-important brain function.
Consume high quality information. If you stopped training your body for a year it would turn to mush. You know you can’t take your fitness for granted as you get older, so you work on it regularly. You also know if you fed your body junk food all the time, your health would deteriorate quickly. The same applies for your mind. A little ‘junk food’ for the mind is ok, but balance that out with predominantly quality cerebral calories in order to keep your mind healthy. Pick a challenging book on some topic you’ve always wanted to learn and commit even 10 minutes a day. As we know from the power of compounding, small actions done repeatedly can lead to big changes over time.
Mediation, in all its forms, is a great way to keep your brain calm and healthy. There are great resources out there – books, youtube videos, apps, etc. that you can access. To reiterate, it is not about doing these things for long periods of time (although you certainly can if you are so inclined). Rather, it is about getting into a daily ritual of even a few minutes and seeing the positive changes evolve over time.
Visualization is a great way to nurture your brain and increase the likelihood of getting results you seek. This is a technique many athletes use before competition, but can be applied to any situation. On a recent business trip I spent a few minutes of the flight visualizing the meeting that I would soon participate in. I pictured myself being calm and confident. I saw my client happy with what I was telling him and ultimately a successful meeting outcome.
Having a strong, healthy brain is vital for success and happiness in all aspects of life. It does not require a significant amount of time to keep your brain in good shape, however you can’t take it for granted; just like you should never assume physical health can be maintained without consistent effort over decades. As with any new routine, start small, get in a few victories, and build from there. Soon mental training will be a daily ritual you don’t even think about yet benefit from in profound ways.