Skip to content

What makes a healthy mind platter

I’m a fan of offering grazing boards for Christmas catering. There’s colour and variety of textures and tastes — sweet and savoury: we can be quite healthy if we choose wisely.

This time of year particularly, I need to make wise choices when it comes to my mental wellbeing too. Do you? I mean, it’s easy to be swept up in the hype of all that (supposedly) makes the festive season. Like food: my fridge is groaning from the leftovers of today’s family gathering! I could be groaning too if not for good choices. Hot humid nights don’t help either, I find. I need sleep. I get that too as part of my healthy mind platter.

What is a healthy mind platter?

Nutritionally we know our bodies are not well-fuelled on a diet of salty, sugary, fatty, highly processed foods (even if our tastebuds say ‘more!’). We function best with a variety of vegetables and fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, unsaturated fats and protein. Then there’s what are called ‘brain  foods’– including leafy greens, fatty fish (or as I do, a flaxseed oil supplement for Omega-3) and berries.

Some years ago, Dr Dan Siegel and Dr David Rock devised the concept of a healthy mind platter for optimum brain health.

They contend that the combination of these 7 daily mental activities give us the ‘mental nutrients we need to function best.

The 7 daily mental activities needed for mental health

Here’s what makes up a healthy mind platter.

  1. Focus. Choose a task that requires your concentration and focus.
  2. Play.  Do something spontaneous, playful or creative. Enjoy!
  3. Connect with another person. TALK to someone, somehow, every day. Ideally face-to-face but in this crazy world, that’s sometimes not possible. Pick up the phone and talk to a friend. Facetime a family member. Texting and emailing does not count.
  4. Be physical. Get that heart rate up. It’s great for the brain too.
  5. Be reflective. Meditation helps develop the grey matter and strengthen the immune system.
  6. Recharge the battery doing not much at all. No more feeling guilty watching a TV show or flicking through a magazine. You need this time!
  7. Sleep. When we’re super-busy it’s easy to scrimp on zzzs.  In doing that, we fail to give our brain time to consolidate learning, recover from experiences, and reset.

The healthy mind platter – like those grazing boards – has variety and balance. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? You can read more specifics here.

Laughter yoga’s place on my platter

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t do laughter yoga 24/7. Daily, yes! It’s part of my wellbeing regimen because it is:

  • light cardio
  • playful
  • meditative
  • connecting
  • relaxing.

(I also go for a walk, swim or bike ride most days, craft, cook, watch TV, get lost in a book, volunteer, and sleep — in between work, family ‘stuff’ and occasional house cleaning!).

If you’d like to explore laughter yoga as a means of tending to your healthy mind platter, consider joining a laughter club session, in person or virtually. You’ll find information about ‘laughter club’ in-person and online sessions here. Or maybe you’d like to organise a private group session for your friends, co-workers or community. Happy hour never felt so healthily good! For that contact me and we’ll try to find a local practitioner.

Heather Joy Campbell is Queensland’s leading trainer and facilitator in laughterwellbeing She combines laughter yoga exercises and evidence-based science of happiness techniques in tailored sessions for workplaces, aged care, neighbourhood centres — wherever there’s a need and request (online and in person) and seeks to grow the practice and practitioner base in this big Australian state.