How to Have a Strong Mind and Live Fully
Everyone wants a strong, healthy body. How about a strong, healthy mind?
This subject is particularly important with the rise in Alzheimer’s disease cases. With more people being affected, there is an urgent need to fortify the brain. Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia incubate for a long time. It can take many years to develop, so this is a good time to bolster your mind, and by extension, your brain.
What’s more, we want to go beyond just preserving our mind. We want to keep it as fresh and energized as possible.
What is “Mind”?
We are referring to “mind” as your consciousness that directly influences your physical body and brain.
* In turn, the body and mind are influenced by the environment.
* Also the brain, like the body, is material; the mind is immaterial.
Five Lessons from the Body to Have a Strong Mind
To get clues about a healthy mind, let’s consider characteristics of a healthy body. Since the body is physical, it’s easier to see what makes it work well.
Other points here…
* To discover the secrets to a strong mind, we will use characteristics that we associate with a healthy body.
* We will apply those healthy body traits to developing a healthy mind.
1. Be flexible.
Just like the body, the mind must bend, or it will break if too rigid. A hardened, fixed mind leads to being stagnant and stuck. As circumstances change, we must find ways to go with the flow. We must have a full range of motion to survive and thrive. Work and relationships can be different tomorrow than they are today. With flexibility, you can adapt and figure out your best course to take.
Being flexible is opening yourself to thinking outside the box. Can you contain your immediate reaction to allow other possibilities?
Thinking outside the box includes…
* avoiding absolutist thinking (“That always happens to me.”). Be realistic: “It sometimes happens to me and other people too.”
* avoiding either-or thinking. Don’t limit yourself to just two choices. (“I can stay with him or leave him.” Find a third solution, “I can see if counseling helps.”)
2. Be alert.
Your body sends you signals when things are on or off track. Likewise, you want to keep your mind alert to the many possibilities you have each day. If we dull our mind, like a dull body, we will become lazy and unresponsive.
There is time to jump into action.
There is a time to pause and reflect.
And there is a time to make a considered decision, using your thoughts and feelings, your reason and your intuition.
Being alert doesn’t mean being hyper vigilant unless you are in imminent danger. Just take your time and use your time. Let your mind assist you with restful awareness, inspiration and purpose.
3. Be toned.
You can firm up your body and make it stronger. So too with your mind. Your thoughts and feelings create pathways in your brain. As you cultivate positive thoughts and feelings, your brain circuitry responds in kind. Positive self-talk heals and builds the body, brain and mind.
Remember that it takes time and effort to create good habits.
Also, be a lifelong learner, which builds your “cognitive reserve.” That means your brain creates more pathways. Researchers have found that those with extensive learning and knowledge have stronger brains, more connections to fortify them from Alzheimer’s attacks on the brain. Tone your mind by being a lifelong learner.
4. Be tough.
To be tough-minded, you need enough determination to go through challenges. Growth is found outside your comfort zone.
Sometimes you rough it out,
sometimes you slow down,
and sometimes it’s smart to quit.
Working through conflict and pain builds character. You then feel good about yourself. In turn, you can better help yourself as well as others.
5. Be balanced.
Listen to your body and mind. Being mindful also connects you to your heart. Open mind, open heart. By using your heart and mind, you can better adjust yourself in the moment. You can stay grounded.
By using your mind productively, you exercise and strengthen it.
Your Body and Mind: Use It or Lose It
The body is more external than the mind, yet they share many similar characteristics. It’s easier to notice when the body is unhealthy. It’s also evident when the body appears healthy. Yet the mind, which significantly influences the body itself, reveals signs of how it’s doing, too.
The above five qualities ─ being flexible, alert, toned, tough, and balanced ─ help you function optimally. You can then use your mind to think, feel, remember and live fully.
Take care of your mind and it will take care of you.