#FitFabFeb2021 Health & Wellness

Stretching our Mind – what does that mean?

February 12, 2021
Mind Stretching

The concept for my #FitFabFeb2021 has been based around a holistic approach to living well.

It’s all about loving who you are and respecting yourself enough to make your health and well-being a priority.

So let’s do a recap of the month so far

  • Week 1 we took the 10 minutes of intentional movement for 10 days challenge.
  • Week 2 was increasing to 15 minutes and ‘Tweaking What we Eat’ by adding more vegetables to our meals.

What topic have I chosen for Week 3?

I subscribe to DailyOM and receive a daily inspirational email. They also offer short online course. I’m currently taking the Reinventing Happiness Course with Deepak Chopra and Sonja Lyubomirsky and I will write more on this course when I’m finished.

I received an email this week which had the title ‘Mind Stretching’. I had intended Week 3 to be around our Mental Health and so this email and it’s contents was timely.

We take time to MOVE, we try to EAT healthy most of the time but do we devote enough time to our MENTAL health and well-being?

You stretch your body to keep it flexible so why not stretch your mind to keep it flexible?

Having a flexible attitude helps our minds be open to new possibilities and to cope more easily when life throws curve balls. COVID-19 has certainly proven that we need to be flexible as restrictions have changed the way we live. It has also had a detrimental affect on our mental health. Friends who are still in lockdown have suggested that taking online courses or joining into groups virtually has helped enormously with their mental health and well-being.

I’ve recently joined a Book Club with some friends and we decided to study the Classics. I’m enjoying diving deeply into more than just the storyline and the in-depth discussions. I’m learning from my friends to extend my thinking as well as enjoying their interpretations. I’m not any English literature major, so this is really stretching me and I’m loving it.

Research shows that keeping our brain active:

  • Improves memory,
  • postpones cognitive decline and
  • boosts mental capacity

What’s in store for #FitFabFeb2021 Week 3 this week

  • continue 15 minutes intentional daily movement for 3 more days then up to 20 minutes
  • continue increasing vegetables and add protein at each meal
  • daily mind stretching through meditation, mindfulness, learning and changing the way we do ordinary daily tasks.

Daily Mind Stretching Challenge – 2 parts

The first part of this week’s challenge is to select one thing that you do daily and try doing it a different way or stretch your mind by learning something new

  • It could be changing the direction you take your daily walk.
  • It could be brushing your teeth with your other hand
  • It could be learning something new like a language
  • It could be doing a jigsaw, crossword or craft
  • It could be doing something creative

The second part of the challenge is to take time to rest your mind and bring calm

  • Sit still, eyes closed in meditation for 5 minutes and really being present just concentrating on the breath. Don’t worry if your mind wanders, that is natural. If that happens bring your mind back to concentrate on your breathing.
  • Before you begin make a note of how you are feeling physically and mentally. Then after you finish the meditation, assess how your mind and body are feeling.

Further reading

3 Reasons to Exercise Your Brain (inspiyr.com)

How to Exercise Your Brain (inspiyr.com)

5 Foods That Are Great For Your Brain (inspiyr.com)

Relax! 3 Simple Ways To Fight Stress In Your Life (inspiyr.com)

Keeping your mind flexible not only helps to navigate life and builds resilience, it also keeps your brain active and healthy.

Mind stretching for good health and well-being

Women Living Well After 50

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12 Comments

  • Reply Donna Connolly February 12, 2021 at 12:32

    Hi, Sue – One of our major television networks recently did a section on longevity, and keeping our minds and bodies active. In terms of our brains, this segment suggested many of the ideas that you listed above. It also highlighted the importance of regular discussions with others (like book clubs) in order to keep our minds sharp and flexible. Thank you for sharing these tips here.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 14, 2021 at 13:44

      Hi Donna, I didn’t see the television program but I do know that the Bookclub I’ve recently joined has been one of my best decisions. The members push me to think about the characters and the underlying stories. x

  • Reply Debbie Harris February 13, 2021 at 07:27

    I like the idea of walking the other direction or brushing my teeth with the other hand Sue! Such simple but effective methods of stretching our minds. I love that final quote, it makes complete sense. I really enjoy my book clubs and the diversity of ideas and seeing other perspectives, this helps keep my mind active and healthy. Fabulous post 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 14, 2021 at 08:23

      Yes it is the simple tasks that we do, Deb that can really stretch our minds if we try to mix them up. My mind is definitely stretching in the area of being more creative through #SundayStills and also in my book club discussions.

  • Reply Natalie February 14, 2021 at 09:28

    Hi Sue, This is a great reminder to exercise both our mind and body. With regular brain exercises, we improve our brain plasticity and keep our minds sharp. Thank you for sharing your ideas and linking with #WeekendCoffeeShare.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 14, 2021 at 13:40

      Thanks for hosting #WeekendCoffeeShare Natalie. x

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 14, 2021 at 15:30

    Hi Sue – I’m so glad your book club is stretching your mind and making you dive deeper. I think it’s a good thing to look beyond the superficial and to make our brains try a little bit harder – and also to listen to other people’s opinions to see how our values align and differ. It’s great that you’re mixing things up in your FitFabFeb to include the whole of the body/mind/spirit that makes us who we are.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 15, 2021 at 06:35

      Hi Leanne, I’m loving the Book Club because the discussions are way above my level and it is stretching me to think beyond the words of the storyline. I love hearing how the other members interpret the text and often I would never have thought about it that way. It is definitely opening my mind. With #FitFabFeb2021 and healthy living in general, we have to think of health in mind and body because they both work together.

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt February 15, 2021 at 02:33

    You always offer great advice on these subjects, Sue! I think living in our RV these past weeks with no end in sight may both challenge my mind and dull my brain! I’ve only shared this with a couple of folks yet, but I accepted a part-time job working with disabled students at a community college to assist them in reintegrating into the community. No mind-stretcher like a new job! Now I’m off to read your Sunday Stills post!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 15, 2021 at 06:32

      Hi Terri, I can imagine how difficult it is living in cramped quarters when you didn’t really expect to. Great to hear about the job though. Sometimes we just need to have something else to focus on when life isn’t going to plan. The job sounds like it will be very satisfying. x

  • Reply kirstin troyer February 15, 2021 at 06:37

    This was great. I pinned it to read later. I love stretching my mind. but I know there are so many other ways to stretch my mind than what I currently do.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 19, 2021 at 09:44

      Thanks Kirstin, I love stretching my mind too and it keeps me informed and with a zest for life. x

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