Mind Body and Spiritual Balance

The Healthy Mind Platter: What It Is and How to Use It

You can make time for balance without being overwhelmed.

Leslie Brooks
Dec 5, 2019 · 6 min read

While thumbing through an issue of Mantra Magazine recently, I ran across an article written by Deepak Chopra. The article talked about how many of us live imbalanced lives and how that affects us in mind body and spirit.

He introduces a concept called the Healthy Mind Platter. It a diagram that looks like a pie chart and it shows the seven things we should strive to practice or work on daily. The purpose is to help restore balance in your daily rhythms.

The chart consists of seven areas in which we should strive to achieve balance every day. These areas include.

  1. Meditation
  2. Sleep
  3. Play
  4. Downtime
  5. Exercise
  6. Work
  7. Relationship

These areas are all shown on the chart with an equal piece of the pie set aside for each of the seven.

While I agree with the concept, the image used to illustrate it left me a bit concerned about how it might be perceived by the reader.

My concern is that a reader might be left thinking that the idea is to carefully portion out your day so that each area gets equal time.

As much as we’d all like to do this, it just isn’t gonna happen. Trying to maintain a perfect balance between these becomes one more thing to do in an already overcommitted and stressed out day.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think that having your day equally portioned out into seven sections is what Mr. Chopra was trying to imply. Unfortunately, I do think that some might interpret it that way.

My mission with this article is to show you how you can make these seven work in your day without feeling overwhelmed while doing so. The goal is to make the approach nonintrusive and flexible so that you can experience value from the practice that will encourage you to continue with it every day.

Have your pie and eat it too.

Before we begin, I want you to think about the platter as a pie. Every day you get a brand new pie that you can cut into slices however you see fit.

Each slice goes into one of two categories.

  1. Set slice
  2. Flex slice

Set slices are only eaten at a set time of the day. When you’re doing these, it’s hard or impossible to do anything else. Obviously things like sleep and work are going to demand much larger chunks of your day. But what about the other five? How do you fit it all in? Here are the items that fall under set slices.

  1. Sleep
  2. Work

Clearly things like sleep and work are going to demand much larger chunks of your day, so they need to have more defined timeslots in your day.

But what about the other five? How do you fit it all in? Flex slices don’t necessarily have to be at the same time each day. In some cases, they can overlap other activities. Here are the items that fall under flex slices.

  1. Meditation
  2. Relationship
  3. Exercise
  4. Play
  5. Downtime

Here’s how you can play around with these to make them work for you every day.

Set slices

First, start with your set slices of sleep and work. Those are static, must-do activities. Give them defined times that in most cases won’t change.

Here are a couple of examples. Ignore the entries under the “Example 1” and “Example 2” columns for now. This chart is a work in progress. We’ll build on it in just a moment.

These are your anchors from which you can add or layer on your flex actions (meditation, relationship, exercise, play, downtime).

Flex Slices

Flex slices are the ones that get the most neglect. They are often neglected for the simple fact that they aren’t set slices.

We see set slices as mandatory for survival. They must happen if we want to continue on in the most fundamental way. Flex slices are the ones that often get tossed because you consider them optional, but are they really?

I agree that your job is your means for food, shelter, ECT, and you physically can’t work if you don’t rest. But I also challenge you to take a closer look at the flex slices and their value.

  • Meditation
  • Relationship
  • Exercise
  • Play
  • Downtime

If you’re neglecting these, how’s your life without them?

  • Do you have peace?
  • Do you have connections with others? (not the digital kind, the meaningful kind)
  • How’s your health?
  • Are you enjoying life?
  • Do you feel energized? (not buzzed from caffeine)

So you’re right. They aren’t physically mandatory, but your life does suffer without them doesn’t it?

Wondering how you can change that? Keep reading.

How to make flex slices a standard practice.

From now on, flex no longer means optional. It’s now a description of the ease with which you can incorporate these flex slices into your day.

This is where you can get creative. You can make them work for you in many different ways. You define when and how they fit into your life.

Let’s build out that chart I shared earlier. Here are a couple of examples so you can see what your days could look like when you add flex slices

Please take note that flex slices don’t need a set amount of time, nor do they need to be at a certain time of day. You can have your day however you like it. It can change from day to day, week to week, or month to month. It’s all up to you.

You can even overlap your flex slices with set ones. See the items highlighted in green in the chart above.

Try breaking up your workday with a walk. Nurture relationships with teammates or a new client at work. The options really are endless and quite adjustable.

Let’s recap the steps.

Think of your healthy mind platter as a pie. This is one time I’m going to advocate for eating a whole pie every day!

Here’s how you approach this so you can get the sweetest results.

  1. Schedule your set slices. (sleep and work)
  2. Review each of the flex slices and plan when you will add them.
  3. Work your plan day after day and adjust as needed.

Remember, balance doesn’t necessarily mean equal amounts of everything each day. It simply means to include each of these in your life daily.

Some areas like work and sleep require big chunks of time. Other’s don’t. But you make them a necessity no matter how small the time commitment because you know it’s important to choose them. Your balance and sustained well being depend on it.

It’s ultimately about deciding how much you value yourself. If you believe you’re worth it, you’ll take the time to invest in your well being and your sense of peace in your mind body and spirit.

Are you investing in all seven of the areas mentioned above? If not, where are you lacking? What small action could you take today to invest more time in that area of your life?

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

Leslie Brooks

Written by

Coach/Behavior Change Specialist. Learn how to be habitually healthy with simple solutions you can use today. https://www.lesliebrooks.com/free-ebook

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

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