By Mark Mulligan Career Five simple resolutions that actually work 21 Jan 2016 Have you heard about a movement called ‘mindapples’? Developed by a not-for-profit organisation of the same name, it’s all about improving mental health through better awareness and developing healthy habits. Just as you have five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to maintain a healthy diet, so, the theory goes, you should have five things to do to maintain a healthy mind. Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell – no stranger to mental-health problems – cites Burnley FC as one of his mindapples. Others say simple pleasures like having a pint with friends do it for them. So what are my five? Take a look. Meditate When I started meditating, I was just 17. In Ireland in those days, there was a hippyish, clandestine initiation ceremony. It was all a bit incense and candles. These days, people are learning that taking time to calm the mind can, and should, be done pretty much anywhere. That’s good news because we need meditation more now than ever. I’m concerned about how many people fall asleep with a smartphone in their hands, are woken by the same device, and log back on as soon as they wake up. The advance of digital technology has ruined our sleep hygiene and over-stimulated our minds. Meditation is a great way to redress the balance. There are many types of meditation. But what they all have in common is the simple practice of being still, and focusing on quietening the mind and the central nervous system. In a world where everything seems to encourage us to stay switched on, meditation is a way of switching off. So how do we do it? Paradoxically, apps are great. I’d highly recommend trying Headspace. It’s free for the first 30 days and it guides you through the meditation process step by step. It’s so adaptable that many of my clients use it to meditate while on their commute – although I wouldn’t recommend it if you are driving! Switching off the mind this way has myriad benefits. Studies have shown that it makes us feel happier and more fulfilled. We have things to do everything for us now, but they all require mind space. And often, the more we add to our lives, the more we take away. But the reverse is, of course, true – when you strip things back and tune out, your life can take an upward turn. Exercise Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Make it easy and only do what you enjoy. Little and often is best. Sleep well Early to bed and early to rise makes you healthy, wealthy and wise – and, most importantly, sane and rational. Think about the bigger intention When things are getting you down, take a step back and focus on your key goals. Ask yourself: what am I hoping to achieve here? Ask for help When you’re stuck and you can’t seem to find the answer, ask for help. The cleverest people are not the ones who have all the answers; they’re the ones who know whom and when to ask for help. A trouble shared is a trouble halved. Mark Mulligan is a director at Noggin, coaching business leaders to become the best version of themselves and to make a positive impact within their organisations.