Tag Archives: Mind

Do You Have Ideas? Great, Write About Them

I came across a great post recently that you might say, is one of my guiding principles here — everyone should write:

You don’t talk about these ideas, even in your own head, because you’ve never put them into words. […] We’re all brimming with opinions on these topics that we may never discuss, even with ourselves. […] Writing crystallizes ideas in ways thinking on its own will never accomplish.

[…]

Sometimes writing is encouraging. You realize you understand a topic better than you thought. The process flushes out all kinds of other ideas you never knew you had hiding upstairs. Now you can apply those insights elsewhere.

Other times it’s painful. Forcing the logic of your thoughts into words can uncover the madness of your ideas. The holes. The flaws. The biases. Thinking “I want this job because it pays a lot of money” is bearable. Seeing the words on paper looks ridiculous. Things the mind tends to gloss over the pen tends to highlight.

These are exactly some of the reasons that I write. Sometimes, you think you have this grand idea and you’ve been carrying it around for months. You think, “if only they would have done it like this, things would be so much better.” However, when you take 10 minutes to sit down and try and write about this thought, you realize, there are a thousand different reasons why they didn’t do it the way you thought and are instead, doing it the way they are doing it.

Of course, there are also those times that when you do sit down to write, you realize that your idea is even better than you had originally thought. OK, maybe that doesn’t happen as often, but fleshing out ideas is an important step in the creative process.

Another important reason why I like to write is because I find that if I keep the ideas in my mind, they continue to swirl around. By extension, this doesn’t leave “room” for other ideas to float in. I know this is kind of limiting, but sometimes, I feel like I need to get the ideas out of my head and onto the page, so that new ideas can make their way in. It seems absurd that there is a “finite” amount of space inside one’s mind, but as it happens, we tend to think about the same stuff over and over. Additionally, I thought I had come across something from Einstein, Franklin, or one of the other famous creatives on the importance of writing everyday (for this very purpose), but I can’t seem to find it. Either way, that’s not what’s important. What’s important – writing something. So, get on with it – write something!

You don’t have to publish what you write, though I find that it helps me to be a bit more focused. If I know that there’s a chance that someone might read what I’m writing (eventually) I’m motivated to be at least a little polished. I know errors will still make it through, but on the whole, the meaning still gets through.

Alright, your turn…

Advertisements

When Did our Mental Health Become Separate From our Body’s Health?

I was thinking about the medical system today and it dawned on me, ‘when did mental health become separate from our body‘s health?’ It might seem like a silly question, but think about it for a moment. When you go to see the doctor, the doctor — typically — is there to correct the imbalances in your body, right? S/he asks you questions about your body’s health. How are you feeling? Is your knee any better? Is your head warm? How’s your elbow been lately? Any pain in your stomach? 

What I want to know is, when did general health questions stop including mental health?

I mean, it’s not really still taboo to think that an unhealthy mind can lead to an unhealthy body, right? There’s a whole field dedicated to it — psychoneuroimmunology.

The whole idea of dualism reminds me of a post I read, almost a year ago, that detailed some research about how our health can be affected by our philosophical bent:

Overall, the findings from the five studies provide converging evidence demonstrating that mind-body dualism has a noticeable impact on people’s health-related attitudes and behaviors. These findings suggest that dualistic beliefs decrease the likelihood of engaging in healthy behavior.

These findings support the researchers’ original hypothesis that the more people perceive their minds and bodies to be distinct entities, the less likely they will be to engage in behaviors that protect their bodies.

From a dualistic perspective, bodies are ultimately viewed as a disposable vessel that helps the mind interact with the physical world.

Simply believing (understanding?) that our minds are not separate from our bodies, but that they are one in the same, can lead to better choices that affect one’s health.

I wonder, if as a way to facilitate this understanding in people, doctors started to treat the mind as if it were part of the body and ask questions about one’s mental health during visits to the doctor, would we those who see the mind as separate begin to see it as part of the body?

6 Principles for Living from 2nd Century Indian Philosopher Nagarjuna

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been spending this summer working for , (which, by the way, is a fantastic organization — be sure to check out what they do). On part of my route, I take the , which could use some upgrading. While I’m only on the Metro for a few stops, it gives me time to read. Usually, I read . However, since I’ve moved recently and my mail hasn’t caught up with me yet, I’ve gone back to reading books.

I mentioned that I was reading a by the Dalai Lama. Yesterday, I found a passage that I thought would be good to share:

When it comes to avoiding harmful actions of body and speech, in addition this fundamental rule [the Golden Rule], I personally find a list of six principles from a text by the second-century Indian thinker Nagarjuna to be helpful. In this text, Nagarjuna is offering advice to an Indian monarch of the time. The six principles are as follows:

  • Avoid excessive use of intoxicants.
  • Uphold principles of right livelihood.
  • Ensure that one’s body, speech, and mind are nonviolent.
  • Treat others with respect.
  • Honor those worthy of esteem, such as parents, teachers, and those who are kind.
  • Be kind to others.