This week's focus is on exercising your mind. Too many times we get caught up in the daily to-do's and when we do take time to rest we end up thinking about what we could be doing or what we plan to do later or what we could have done. Instead of wasting your precious quiet time on those mindless worries, why not feed your mind by feeding it, nourishing your thoughts with mind games, reading, puzzles and the like. Check out these ideas and maybe share some of your own ideas:
Exercise your mind: an article on CNN.com states that, "Just as physical activity keeps your body strong, mental activity keeps your mind sharp and agile. One way to do this is to continually challenge yourself by learning new skills. If you continue to learn and challenge yourself, your brain continues to grow, literally. An active brain produces new connections between nerve cells that allow cells to communicate with one another. This helps your brain store and retrieve information more easily, no matter what your age." With news like this, what have we got to loose, except our minds.
Read: Mike on livelife365 says, "Anything that occupies your mind differently, works another part of the old gray matter, is beneficial. Reading is great for you. Toss out that TV and read, every day. Fiction, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, ahh, blogs? Yes, those too. Expand your knowledge, learn new things--you will enhance your life now, and really help yourself as you age." Keep a book in the car to help you kill time while waiting for your kids at the baseball field (or wherever they may be), keep one by your bedside table, replace your remote with a book every now and then. So pick up a book, keep it handy and read a page, read a chapter when you can and throw your mind into a story or a learning activity that will take you away from your daily tasks.
Puzzles: Tarun from Paranoid Escapes suggests "A few ways to exercise your mind is to do some crossword puzzles, or play common games like solitaire or chess to keep your mind sharp." She also suggest Yoga for mind and body health. I think jigsaw puzzles are fun and progressive. They take a little longer to complete, but the end result can be a beautiful landscape photo along with a feeling of accomplishment--that makes anyone feel pretty good on a bad day. The idea is to get your mind involved in something that will not only improve your memory and sharpen your mind, but also, take your mind off anything that might me causing stress.
Laugh: Chris from ThatsFit! points us to a study that "examines the total body connection; an understanding that the mind, the body, and the spirit work in conjunction to regulate our psychophysiology." It's seems clear to me--we all need to start laughing a whole lot more. Read the Sunday comics, these can be sent to your inbox via email, find humor in life. Improve your mood and reduce stress watching stand up comedy or funny movies. Don't miss the opportunity to laugh.
Sleep: Need I say more! We all want to sleep more, well why not get a cat nap during that scheduled relaxation time. Colleen from 3DayMom says, "Just snoozing for 20 to 30 minutes can work wonders for a stressed out, tired old body." She adds that "... you’ll feel better, you’ll have more energy, and your productivity in the afternoon will go through the roof."
I will have to agree with that, even though I am guilty of denying
myself a nap in place of doing chores or catching up on emails,
homework or other activity. On days when I listen to my internal mechanism and let myself take a nap, I do feel better the rest of the day. Granted, when I first get up from a nap I feel groggy, I just drink a tall glass of cold water, iced tea or hot tea and the groggy feelings are replaced by a superb energy.
Music: I love listening to all types of music. It can be therapeutic, calming, entertaining and energizing. Whether I'm listening to oldies, classic rock, country or Latin music--it all just boils down to me and my not-so-great singing voice. In the end, a very happy heart evolves.
Time will pass, the chores will always be there, and the callers and emailers can leave a message. Don't miss the opportunity to play, read, laugh, and sleep. Now go play some mind games and stay sharp!
"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop."--Confucius