I was talking to someone about resilience recently and was reminded of a CIPD branch event I went to a couple of years ago. The speaker was Andy Gibson, ‘Head Gardener’ at an organisation called ‘Mindapples’.
The premise of ‘mindapples’ is that we’re used to thinking about our physical health in terms of looking after it by making sure we get our ‘five-a-day’, and that this concept could be applied to looking after our mental and emotional health, too.
A ‘mindapple’ is defined as a day-to-day activity that is good for your mind and one of the things we were asked to do on this event was to each list five mindapples – five things we do every day, or regularly, to look after our mind.
You can see mine in the picture, here:
Looking at it now, I realise that you might think that numbers two and three are more about physical health than mental or emotional health – but I think my thought process at the time was ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ and specifically:
- What I eat directly affects how I feel physically and mentally – some foods slow me down, others fuel me better. And I know I feel better about myself (happier, even) when I know I’m looking after myself, too.
- Taking exercise releases endorphins which can be a great way to lift my mood – plus getting my blood flowing and my muscles working is good for the whole system. I love my walks along the seafront for this – and in the process, I get some fresh air and sunshine (whenever possible!) which have other benefits, too.
I wondered if it was worth me coming up with some other ideas – but, on the other hand, I do like to keep things simple – and if I can encapsulate a sensible, and sustainable approach to my day-to-day health (both physically and mentally) in a list of five things, then so much the better.
I think it’s arguable that the other three items on my list have all been proven, in some way or other, to have some positive physical effect – whether it’s relaxation, helping my breathing, reducing my blood pressure, or just enhancing feelings of general well-being.
Our minds and bodies are closely linked – they feed back to one another – and a change in one (positive or negative) pretty soon affects the other. So, perhaps what’s important is not to focus too much on one, to the neglect of the other – we’re looking for balance overall – and perhaps my mindapples are pretty balanced, after all?