Despite attending a boys’ grammar school in the 1960s and 70s, I got through my academic life reasonably intact but minus any knowledge of Latin whatsoever.
I have to rely on encyclopaedias therefore to know that when the Greek philosopher Thales said ‘Mens sana in corpore sano’, not only was he apparently showing off by using Latin when he might well have said it in Greek, he meant what you and I would commonly understand as ‘A sound mind in a sound body’, and probably know best as the phrase ‘A healthy body is a healthy mind’.
Perhaps you’ll stop for a minute to consider this, though.
Quite simply, your mental wellbeing is in large part linked to your physical health, so you can go a long way towards giving yourself a mental boost (I was going to turn ‘a shot in the arm’ into ‘a shot in the head’ but that would have suggested something else altogether) by keeping yourself as active as you can.
For those who are confirmed keep-fitters, you know what to do.
As the rest of us, we’ll need to up our physical activity quotient in more cunning ways.
Here are five thoughts to get you started:
1. Get off the bus one stop earlier than you usually do, or park the car further from your destination, and walk the rest of the way.
2. When faced with an elevator, consider taking the stairs instead. Especially if you’re going up. (Maybe not if your meeting’s on the 34th floor, however.)
3. If you’re meeting with a friend, neighbour or work colleague, suggest that you walk and talk. You’ll both benefit from the exercise, and some great conversations can take place when you’re side-by-side.
4. Head out for a fast stroll just before you’re ready to eat. Get your meal fully prepared, then put on your coat and get yourself outdoors. Take some music with you if you like, and look forward to an improved appetite when you return.
5. An hour before bedtime, take a walk round the block or up the street and back (don’t forget your flashlight). You’ll probably sleep better as a result too.
Here’s to us all being of sound mind, or a little sounder at least.