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Caren Hackman Shares Insights On Good Brain Health Habits

Caren Hackman shines a light on the relationships between our daily activities and our mental health.  With the new year underway, many of us are thinking about adjustments we can make to our daily routines to help be us be healthier physically and mentally.  Caren shares what she has learned, as she created the Palm Health Foundation’s “Train the Brain” communication pieces.  Caren is an award winning fine artist and a graphic designer.



‘T  R  A  I  N         T  H  E         B  R  A  I  N “


By Caren Hackman



Caren Hackman tells The Rickie Report,  “Artists, especially, should consider being proactive about healthy habits. In general, artists do not have high rates of mental illness compared to the general population, however individuals working in the arts tend to have more unconventional life experiences and heightened sensitivities”.


Reasons for these heightened sensitivities may be that most visual and performing artists do not have average 9 to 5 jobs and instead work on projects with differing hours per day. As creatives move from project to project, depending upon location and the demands of their work, many variables exist, such as inconsistent income which is certainly unnerving. Also, certain stages of projects may bring on feelings fluctuating between exhilaration and disappointment. Various work locations may make it more difficult to stay in touch regularly with supportive family and friends, eat well and get enough rest. Maintaining good physical and mental health can increase stability in one’s career and personal life.






According to Scientific American, “…you are more likely to experience a bout of mental illness than you are to acquire diabetes, heart disease or any kind of cancer whatsoever.”



Caren explains, “I am very fortunate that through my own work as a graphic designer, I’ve been privileged to create communication pieces with Palm Health Foundation for their “Train the Brain” community mental health campaign that takes place every October. Palm Health Foundation encourages Palm Beach County residents to incorporate self-care behaviors into their daily routines and offers workshops and trainings throughout Palm Beach County (most free) every October”. 




Improved brain health leads to better health overall.  Our brains can’t do push-ups or run laps, but we can train our brains to minimize the harmful effects of stress and achieve balance in our lives. It’s important to learn how to feed, nurture and strengthen our brains while also eliminating activities that can cause the brain stress and ultimately lead to chronic health issues.”




Below is a grid emphasizing activities that will increase brain health (left) and activities that we should avoid (right) because of their detrimental effect on brain health. These suggestions are not meant as substitutes for professional mental health counseling, but instead, are to be used to assist in maintaining brain fitness.



 for Better Brain Health

                       for Better Brain Health
Adequate night’s sleep – recommended 7 hours per day Multi-tasking –can overload the brain
Meaningful social activities, humor, hobbies, charity work Smart phone and computer time – too much can reduce creativity
Thinking positively Chronic Stress
Meditation and spirituality Excessive Alcohol or illegal drugs
Spending time in nature Junk foods
Eating healthy food and exercising Head injuries; seek medical attention if you suffer a strong blow to your head.




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