7 Steps to creating your healthy mind recipe


We all know there are certain groups of food we should eat regularly, but what about when it comes to our mind, how do we create a healthy mind recipe for life?

Dr Dan Siegel believed there should be an equivalent of recommended “diet” for a healthy mind and came up with 7 elements.

Each person’s needs are different and can change from day to day, month to month, season to season… so it’s best to play around with the “recipe” to see what works for you.

7 Steps to creating your healthy mind recipe


What are the 7 elements of a healthy mind?

1. Focus Time

A time for goal-focused activities, exploring and solving challenges and making deep connections with the brain.

Activity examples:

  • Business/career tasks
  • Problem-solving
  • Goal planning
  • Creating work content
  • Study
  • Projects

2. Down Time

A time for non-focussed activities, not attaching to specific goals, letting the mind wander, simply relaxing and recharging our brain.

Activity examples:

  • Watching a good movie
  • Walk along the beach at sunset
  • Coffee with a friend out of the house

3. Time In

A time for internal reflection, meditation, mindfulness and breathwork.

Activity examples:

  • Breathwork
  • Vedic meditation
  • Mindfulness activity
  • Chanting

4. Sleep Time

A time for rest, consolidating learnings and recovering from the day.

Activity examples:

  • Chamomile tea before bed
  • Journalling thoughts to clear mind before bed
  • Listening to sleep-inducing music

5. Physical Time

A time for moving as aerobically as possible and strengthening your body.

Activity examples:

  • Gym with friend
  • Afternoon jog along the waterfront
  • Weekend hike
  • Dance/yoga class

6. Connection Time

A time for connecting with other people in-person and connecting and appreciating nature.

Activity examples:

  • Cook a meal and really connect with the food
  • Date night/ Coffee date
  • Beach camping trip
  • Visit a waterfall or your favourite nature place
  • Make a sensual date with yourself or your lover

7. Play Time

A time for being spontaneous or creative, enjoying playful, novel experiences and creating new connections in the brain.

Activity examples:

  • Learn the piano
  • Try pottery classes
  • Play with kids or pet
  • Hula Hoop /Skip
  • Create art
  • Enjoy childhood hobby

Creating a healthy mind recipe

Step 1. Gather information

Get to know the seven elements for a healthy mind.

Step 2. Brainstorm

Brainstorm activities, routines and rituals you enjoy or would like to explore in each element – bring in sensory activities where you can. Also, consider your needs for each activity. I like to use an A4 size paper for each element and create a mind map.

Step 3. Check your platter

Take the time to consider each element and activity listed. Draw a circle and draw seven straight lines – one for each element. Put a 0 in the middle of the circle and a 10 on the end of every line.

  • Now ask yourself “on a scale of 1-10 how satisfied am I with each element of my healthy mind platter?”
  • Put a dot to make where you are at currently for each element. Then connect each dot together around the circle – how balanced is your platter?

Step 4. Be honest and reflect

Ask yourself the following questions, so you can get to understand yourself and your needs better.

  • What elements/activities am I naturally strong in?
  • What elements are missing in my life right now?
  • What elements/activities do I need support, accountability, more knowledge, and/or guidance? What areas did I struggle to come up with activity ideas?
  • What elements go out the window when I get stressed, overwhelmed or just busy?
  • What do I need more/less of and at what times (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, yearly)?

Step 5. Consider your recipe

Take the time to consider what your ideal ‘healthy mind recipe’ looks like on a daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual basis (based on your reality right now).

What routines and rituals are important to you and when?

Step 6. Put your recipe into action

Create a plan and some actionable goals and timeframes. Plans are great but if we don’t use them or they’re not working for us, they can get left to the wayside and we go back to old and comfortable behaviours – even when we know they aren’t serving our highest good!

Depending on your personality and how you are feeling about your life right now will depend on what your plan looks like. Here are some options:

  • Make a daily/weekly/monthly schedule or checklist
  • Choose just one element or one thing on your list that you are going to work on for the next month
  • Create and use a habit tracker
  • Get creative and make a visual board – simply put it into your everyday space so you can remember to observe and reflect each day
  • Keep a day-to-day journal and have a cue to reflect on each element
  • Add reminders to your phone/ calendar – keep it simple and positive
  • Keep a journal/tracker on what beliefs, thoughts, or behaviours keep you stuck in old patterns – make a time to come back and work through these – get support where you need to.

Step 7. Integrate, observe and reflect

Make time to check in with yourself regularly – are you taking action? Are you integrating your learnings into your life? Is it making a difference?

Get to know the triggers when you’ve pushed too far, or what events or circumstances arise that change your recipe needs. Make sure you come back to your handy guide and take the necessary action to centre yourself.

Choose awareness over judgement when Creating a healthy mind recipe

Remember this is about self-awareness – not self-judgement.

It is about discovering our needs and meeting our current reality to see why we may be feeling out of balance, depleted and/or exhausted.

A self-check-in tool when life “feels too much”

Understanding the elements of a healthy mind and brainstorming what each of these looks like for me has given me a Self Check-In tool to use when life feels “a little too much”. 

I used to (and still can at times) get so engrossed in the “focus time” that all the other elements would take a backseat until I burnt out and wondered what happened.

These days I pay more attention to my natural rhythms and design my schedule each day, week, month and season to ensure I have a healthy mind recipe that meets my needs. And when I am feeling a bit out of sorts, I don’t have to think too hard about what I need – I already have a handy little guide I can skim through to see what is missing and how to get back into balance.

If you find this activity confronting or overwhelming get in touch and we can work through it together.

Do you feel like you can Create a healthy mind recipe for your life?

You may be feeling lost, alone, or completely overwhelmed by your current mental health situation. But we can assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re here to guide you towards it, You can contact Amy Here to get in touch for a Free discovery call to learn more about working with her.

Or if You loved this article we have an arrangement of other similar articles Here that you can enjoy reading through.

Amy Doyle

Holistic Counsellor

Amy helps her clients move from this idea that they are broken or missing pieces of their own puzzle, to owning their story, claiming back all parts of themselves and merging together as one team to allow them to rest and be in their deepest expression.

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