We need both mind and body equally to carry out our daily activities. As we age, we face the challenges of ageing, living, working, struggling to have a fit mind and a body. Therefore, food being an important source of energy, we need to give our undivided attention to what we consume daily. This Mind diet is a routine plan of what we need to consume daily to keep our mind healthy and prevent us from Alzheimer’s, dementia and other age-related illness.
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Blessings and much love to all 💐
Our mind is illusional. Whatever, we think and perceive is our own derived illusion. It’s our biggest friend and at the same time can be our biggest enemy. Therefore, a common quote says ” You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil “ Our mind makes up everything that happens in our life – good or bad, big or small, ugly or beauty, sad or happy, success or failure, it ‘s all within this thing, called mind. So, how do I control this thing ‘mind’ and remain focus on my goal and life purpose?
Understanding the mind, and its content is very important and fundamental. What makes our thought world? How do thoughts are generated? We build up mental impressions through the different inlets of this outer world. The inlets can be : *Five senses: sight, hear, smell, touch, taste
*Memory: That has been built up over the years of this outside world experience, right from the day we were born.
*Activity: That we perform , habituated and do throughout the day.
We create thought by an idea backed with emotion. Through different inlets, we build up thoughts as our mental content every day. We generate, perceive, analyse, process and ruminate our entire thought world. So, we keep doing the same mental activity of thinking, analysing, ruminating every day. The thinking pattern doesn’t change. So, does our behaviour and habits. It is uninterrupted, a never-ending process which we may not be even aware. According to Yoga Psychology ( Yoga Sutras), our thought world mainly depends on mental fluctuation (Vritti) and thoughts (prataya). The mental impulses (vritti) are created through the different inlets like the senses, memory, activity which inturn create mental impressions generating thoughts (prataya). This is the reason, when we are in a positive , vibrant environment, surrounded by positive people, we generate positive, beautiful, creative thoughts. But, when we surround ourselves with negativity, we generate negative thoughts of guilt, anger, pain, hurt, jealousy and so on.
Normally, what happens, when we centred our mind for a particular activity, at the office or home. There are endless distractions. Okay, we try to control the distraction or cut down to some extent, but still mental fluctuations and wondering thoughts continue to distract us. This is because the memory continues to generate unstable thoughts in an unstable mind.
Therefore to manage our mind, we need to control our mental fluctuation and thoughts. The only way to control them is through a concentrated mind. A concentrated mind can be achieved through the power of attention. The power of attention is our very own property (which arises from self) which we can achieve by practising and training our mind. It is a steady power of awareness which is created at our own will. It is the only capability that we can learn to develop for mind control. Whereas, the mental fluctuations (impression) and thoughts are greatly influenced by our outer world, the external distractions. They are not completely within our control.
The different states of mind depending on the power of attention can be defined as *Ordinary mind: When both the mental fluctuations (vritti) and thoughts (prataya) are unstable. The mind is rather restless distracted, jumping from one thought to another.
*Focused mind: When there is less mental fluctuation (stable vritti) but thoughts are still wobbly (unstable prataya). This is the learning mind.
*Concentrated mind: When both the mental fluctuation (vritti) and thoughts (prataya) are on the same line, stable enough. This is the highest level of attentive mind.
*Meditative mind: When the vritti and prataya are concentrated at the same point, on a similar goal. That is the mind is concentrated at one point say, your attention is entirely on your breath or a point of focus. That is when both mental fluctuation and thought are at the same point. This is the highest level of concentration.
The power of attention is similar to a focused beam of light where all your energies are focused. With this power of attention, you can learn, achieve, complete tasks and attain success in whichever areas of life you want to. That is the reason, we should always learn to perform an activity or task one at a time. So, we give our full power of attention. Handling multiple tasks all at a time can be like a scattered beam where all your energies are distributed. You can be able to do some while some are left undone. Your mind will keep fluctuating and your attention span will be variable and unstable.
So, how do I learn to achieve a concentrated mind with the ultimate power of attention? How do I control my mind, my inner thought world, daily? How do I focus my mind on one activity at a time? How do I take charge of myself? This is a self-learning task, an ongoing process. Two comprehensive ways:
1. To achieve the power of attention, two important things matter the most : Awareness: Being consciously aware all the time. Feeding our thought world and thought process with positive, constructive and creative thoughts.
Will: Self-training and developing a restrained impulse towards worthy goals, purposeful life.
2.Control of thoughts:
*Exposure to right kind of thoughts: Feeding the mind everyday with right kind of thoughts. Reading good books, being in a positive, good company, surrounded by positive vibrations.
*Right behaviour: Good conduct, right behaviour pattern influence thoughts and emotions. That means reframing our cognitive abilities. Correcting our behaviour patterns as on when required.
*Right lifestyle and habits: Maintaining a regulated lifestyle and habits will greatly influence our mind. You cannot have a stable mind with an unstable lifestyle. *Purposeful life: Working towards a specific goal, understanding and working towards a meaningful life. Developing a stable mind through meditation and prayers. This cannot be achieved overnight. It is an ongoing, self-learning process. You and I have to keep working on it daily.
Thanks for reading.
Blessings and much love to all 💐
References: Science of Focus by Pravrajika Divyanandaprana (Vivekavani)
Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis, two terms commonly used when it comes to brain health. We, just don’t need to dive so much into Neuroscience to learn what they mean and how we can help ourselves to keep our brain healthy. Brain health is important because as long as our brain is healthy, we keep learning new things and our memory is intact. As ageing progresses, we can prevent ourselves from certain chronic conditions like dementia, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease by maintaining good brain health.
Neuroplasticity,meaning that our brain is continuously changing through our entire lifetime depending upon our experiences, the environment, habits, behaviour. Neural pathways keep rewiring and dewiring depending upon what is necessary and what is no longer useful. Therefore, being in a positive environment, thinking and feeling positive is all very important.
Neurogenesis meaning formation of new neurons, that is our ability to learn new things and retain in our memory. Previously, it was believed that neurogenesis stopped once we reach our adulthood, that is around the age of 20. Now, researches have shown, that neurogenesis occurs throughout our lifetime.So, we can learn until the day we die. In our brain, the neurons are formed from the neural stem cells and progenitor cells which are in the Hippocampus mainly and also in other regions of the brain. Though every day, new neurons are formed, before, theycould get matured, many of them get pruned. A special protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) has been identified which is responsible for promoting the maturation, survival and maintenance of the neurons.
So, how do we facilitate this process of neurogenesis and maintain the level of BDNF? 5 simple ways
1. Exercise: Any exercise which can increase the heart rate mainly aerobic exercise, running, brisk walking.
2.Food: Rich in omega 3 fatty acids like fishes (salmon, tuna, sardines), avocados, chia, hemp seeds and nuts. Other sources which help are turmeric, blueberries, goji berries, lotus roots, algae, green tea, coffee. However, too much caffeine is detrimental to neurogenesis.
3.Emotions:Experiencing positive emotions like joy, excitement, love and feeling good, stimulate Neurogenesis. Such emotional experience can appear by being creative, learning a new skill, going out in Nature, proper sleep, listening to Nature sounds, good music and sex. A positive relationship with partners, peers, relatives is helpful. Being in chronic stress, anger, anxiety are detrimental to neurogenesis.
4.Mind stimulation: Cognitive abilities like reading, learning, memorizing, discussing new ideas, taking up music lessons, problem-solving, all stimulate neurogenesis. Cognitive reserve (resilience against brain damage) can be built up by engaging mind stimulating activities or intellectual work.
5.Meditation: Prayers and meditation can stimulate neurogenesis. Practising mindfulness, compassion, being in silence, stillness all facilitate neurogenesis.
Some lifestyle factors which can decrease neurogenesis are a high intake of carbohydrate, sugar, fried foods, inflammatory foods, chronic caffeine intake, smoking, alcohol, obesity, chronic stress, lack of sleep, negative emotions like sadness, depression, lack of engagement, boring life. Direct trauma to the head can be very detrimental to neurogenesis. Nowadays, even environmental pollution is quite hazardous to brain health.
If you are intending to learn more about lifestyle changes that you can do to improve your brain health, I recommend the book: Neurogenesis diet and lifestyle by Dr Brant Cortright
In your, every day lives, the brain functions as two major parts – Conscious brain and Subconscious brain. Out of this, 90-95 % of your actvities are carried out by our subconscious brain which acts as an auto pilot. This is your habitual brain. While only 5 % is your thinking brain, the cortical brain, who does the conscious brain activity.
The subconscious mind is more of the inner primitive brain also called the limbic brain which does your automatic, habitual behaviours, which is also responsible for your emotions, feelings, reactions, fears, impulses and reflexes in your everyday lives. So, think, how important a role this subconscious mind plays in our day to day life.
From the day, you were born till 6-7 years of life, your brain is in the hypnotic stage. That means, you observed everything in your environment, programmed every good or bad habit from the people surrounding you, picked up every single activity you have seen. That’s how, the subconscious mind got programmed. As you grew up, you started understanding things slowly but you still picked up habits, beliefs, feelings, emotions, reactions of people, your parents, teachers, friends surrounding you. By the time, you became an adult, you have already developed a personality, habits, traits, thinking patterns, which are very much part of you. Your subconscious mind takes the upper hand in controlling your life which you are not even aware.
Your subconscious mind is not your enemy. Because you cannot do without it. Whatever activities you perform like walking, speaking, eating, writing, driving are all because of your subconscious mind programming. Then, how does it affect your life?
When it interferes with your life purpose, your goal, your performance, your task, then it starts affecting your life. From childhood, apart from the huge lists of habits that you have, you might have picked up a certain negative pattern of thinking like fear of failure, low self-esteem, pessimistic thinking, fear of challenges, impulsiveness which can be stumbling block to succeed. Most of the time, you are not even aware of. You become frustrated, sad and disheartened. You read motivation books, watch motivating videos, make tons of effort. Still, unknowingly, you come back to your old thinking pattern. This is because you have developed this habitual thinking pattern over the years. Sometimes, in spite of knowing your faults, you are unable to change. You go through your same fear, worry, negative thinking again and again. Then, how can you change?
To reprogram your subconscious mind :
Keep repeating your changed beliefs and affirmations:
To break a habit and reprogram your mind for a new habit will take time. Your subconscious mind is habitual, so, to learn a new habit and reprogramme your subconscious mind would take some time. Firstly, decide on what you have to change in yourself. Frame that belief or affirmation in your mind. The subconscious mind does not understand verbal language so using metaphors is a convenient way. Then, keep repeating and reaffirming daily till you can form it a habit. It can take a long time and years. But, this is the most convenient and effective way to change your subconscious mind.
Then, there are other methods, like energy psychology, hypnosis, Psych -K where the brain is brought to the alpha-theta a wave stage, and then the belief is slipped into your subconscious mind. I have not much idea about these methods because I have never tried them. You can get more information on them, if you are interested in
Always remember ….. Healing happens when you let it happen. Your mind and body has an innate capacity to heal on its own. It is up to you to give the right environment. Be it a physical illness, a mental sickness, a pain , a hurt everything heals. It is upto you to let yourself free from all negativity, anger, pain, fear, stress, anxiety and just surrender, and let the healing energy in. Healing is essentially setting yourself completely free from all that is negative within you.
You are equipped with an amazingly powerful immune system and a very powerful mind. The medicines and doctors can only facilitate your healing process. But the actual healing happens when you let it in.
You are blessed with an amazing life energy within you. Always keep working on it , nurture it, protect it. Therefore, taking care of your body, mind and soul on a regular basis should be your top priority. This is how you keep your life energy alive.
To keep your life energy active, your healing force alive, you need enough time to rest and renew. Eat well, sleep well and never compromise on anything which overstrain your physical and mental wellbeing. Think good for yourself and also for others. Life is a precious gift so live in gratitude and contentment. Anything that keeps you nagging, always let go.
Spend time with Nature, as much as you can. Nature is loaded with positive healing energy. Go out for a short walk in the woods, you come back with a rejuvenating spirit. This is an ultimate therapy which doesn’t cost you a penny. All of these small steps help you to stay away from all negativity and sickness of any kind.