Change your brain and you will change your mind. Change your mind and it will change your brain. This is very good news for all of us recovering from trauma, substance abuse, humiliating experiences in our formative years, relationship loss, or the many forces that have led to an internalized oppression that keeps us from living our dreams . It is equally good news for those privileged enough to have had loving care, good education and financial security who want to make the very best use of our talents and the opportunities life presents to use these gifts for the highest benefit to all.
Since the brain is very much a part of the body, anything that contributes to the optimal health and performance of the body will also contribute to the optimal performance of the brain and to a clear and creative mind.
Superior Nutrition provides oxygen and all the other necessary ingredients to the blood, internal organs, and the brain. We are meant to be vegetarian but vegetarianism will not be enough to improve health. Foods must be properly combined, consumed in a stress-free manner, must include great variety, must be properly chewed and masticated and we must allow sufficient intervals between meals to assure proper digestion and elimination. For a more elaborate introduction to healthy eating, I recommend any of the writings of Dr. Herbert Shelton and, a student of Shelton’s, Susan Smith Jones.
Mindful Exercise such as yoga or stretching, pilates, tai chi, weight training, jogging, swimming, dance, all contributes to the proper alignment, flexibility, strength, grace, and mobility of the body. Movement of the body helps the brain/mind which when stressed tends to freeze, contract, sometimes becomes immobilized and performs poorly.
REST is probably the most important and overlooked ingredient in the self-care toolkit. It is during sleep that the body heals and restores. Without sufficient sleep, we become emotionally volatile, less able to concentrate and focus, less attuned to wake up calls from a fatigued body/mind and more vulnerable to diseases such as Alzheimer’s or burnout.
Emotional Equilibrium is another major contributor to a creative mind and healthy brain. We need to learn emotional self-care skills so as to be able to access the full range of emotions and express them appropriately. We need to learn to regulate our emotions when they threaten to overwhelm us temporarily. All of this sets us free from the disruptive impact of past upsetting experiences.
Secure Relationships: We all need at least one safe and reliable relationship. This could be our primary love relationship, a family of origin relationship, our connection to our best and most trusted friend or, temporarily, a bond with a primary care health service provider. Too often past wounds lead to insecure attachments to another or others. Attachment is different from love. Attachment is the outgrowth of loneliness, fear and generally leads to seeking to control the person to whom one is attached. It is a form of imprisonment of both parties. Attachment binds people together out of habit, obedience to societal pressures and expectations, family pressure or other incorrect motivations. Love connects people FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. It sets people free. It forges a bond that can never be broken. The two are often confused but could not be more different.
We want love but fear abandonment. We want support but fear criticism. As a result, we are often ambivalent about intimacy and give mixed messages to those who care about us. Those who have been traumatized may even avoid intimacy altogether and isolate themselves to protect themselves from further wounding. However, current brain science research shows that secure bonding or love leads to healthier, more creative, more productive and more fulfilling life experiences. The good news is that eliminating attachment and replacing it with true love can be learned in many ways including individual or couple counselling,
Spiritual Development: We all need to increase our awareness of our ONENESS and UNITY. We are global citizens and would do well to consider ourselves brothers and sisters in the human family. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Therefore we must take care of ourselves and one another. Whatever your religious background there are core, universal principles to live by. I have found the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti to unite and surpass other spiritual teachings in that the basic premise is that we are all lights onto ourselves who must make no man or woman our authority. Many awaken to their spirituality when alone in Nature. Mindfulness practice, meditation, or AWARENESS and reading inspirational books or articles can also strengthen our spiritual awakening. Music and art can be further catalysts. When we are spiritually attuned we make the right decisions and we find inner peace.
Developing and maintaining a healthy body/brain and a creative mind, we can see, is a lifelong journey. It is a spiral rather than a linear path. We can be assisted or impeded by fellow/sister travellers. Therefore, we must be selective about the company we keep. We must also be caretakers of the planet as the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, soil in which we grow our foods are fundamental to our ability to survive and implement all the other aspects of healthy living. We are in this journey together. We are all either part of the problem or part of the solution. Choose to contribute to our collective evolution.