The Psychological Value of Being Open to New Information and Experiences #MindBlown

Open Mind

What Open-Mindedness Looks Like

An open-minded individual…

  • strives to develop a better understanding of the world, willing to listen to other people’s beliefs and opinions, to learn from their insights and experience and makes an effort to try new things (experiential learning) to foster personal growth.
  • understands their strengths and limitations. Meaning that you do not feel obliged to agree with others, but you can respect the rights and beliefs of others without trying to force your own views (strength) and can admit when you don’t know something (limitations).

plugged brainSeries: 10 Things You Can Do to Be Nice to Your Brain

  1. Learn to Tolerate Ambiguity
  2. TODAY! Be Open to New Information
  3. Learn to Reframe Adversity
  4. You Don’t Have to Act the Way You Feel
  5. Zone in on Your Purpose in Life
  6. Master Motivation aka “fire under your butt strategies”
  7. Seek Out Peak Experiences
  8. Stay True to Your Values – Who do YOU want to be in this world?
  9. Learn the Art of Balance
  10. Apply the “Power of Yet” in Your Life

Let’s Get Startedarrow_sketch-home.png

Are You Feeling Stuck?

From my experience, sometimes people can mistake the feelings associated with being stuck in an old boring routine, or stuck in a old way of being or thinking, with being depressed. Not always, but sometimes.

Here is the secret, your brain is designed to learn, it loves to learn, when you are not learning…YOUR BRAIN IS BORED! Hense, the meh feelings.

Don’t believe me?

Well here is some information from the secret life of therapists…

When you get outside your comfort zone, and come see a counsellor like me, we help Freud.jpg
you to do the work necessary to change the neurobiology of your brain through developing coping strategies, new ways of being, new learning, through a science supported counselling interventions like Behavioural Activation. This is a pretty cool therapy for depression, that focuses on activity scheduling to encourage people to approach activities that they are avoiding, along with analyzing the function of their cognitive processes (thoughts), such as rumination (cycling thoughts), that serve as a form of avoidance. Getting out there and doing, rather than avoiding, helps you to become refocused on your goals and valued directions in life. You tend to feel happier and more empowered. Eventually experiencing the benefits of doing, creates energy and excitement to try new things.


So I think I have your attention.

More doing less avoiding!


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A wee bit of advice..

Don’t Take the Dopamine Short Cut!

Chemical-Structures-of-Neurotransmitters-2015.pngSometimes people find “doing the work” takes too long or it is simply just too hard. Yes, rewiring your brain is hard work! But if you do the work, you get lasting results with so many mental and physical health benefits.

The dopamine short cut means using various substances, legal and not, to elicit a dopamine response artificially, thus fooling the brain. While so many other activities elicit dopamine naturally, like exercising, good sleep, healthy eating, sunlight and music. Yes music! Listening to music taps into the dopamine system, in part, because hearing something new is a signal that the brain is learning something, and we have evolved to enjoy acquiring new information.

So do the work instead of tricking your brain. Tricking is not learning, it just keeps you in the same place…feeling…

meh.png


Ok, Now I’m About to Get a Little Nerdy on Ya! Big Time!

Brain Nerd

Let’s Get on a Eudaimonia Trip!

A What???

Eudaimonia, a funky Greek work that means “personal happiness”. More specifically it is the pursuit of happiness, manifestation (creation) of personal growth, self-actualization, flourishing and life meaning. It is very different from it’s cousin, hedonia which is the pursuit and/or experience of pleasure, enjoyment, comfort, and reduced pain. Eudaimonia is a journey, a process, sometimes hard, sometimes easy, but the benefits are immense. It is the satisfaction that comes from constantly developing and living one’s life to the fullest.

Science Says

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  • Research suggests that the greater sense of purpose and personal growth Female Scientist.jpgassociated with eudaimonia correlates with lower cortisol levels (from bad stress levels), better immune function (you get sick less), and more efficient sleep (who doesn’t want that?). Dr. Gary Marcus, NYU
  • Dr. Rich Walker, research psychologist, looked at countless event memories that people were able to remember, and found that “people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimize negative ones than people who have fewer experiences.”
  • Psychological Well-Being Revisited: Advances in the Science and Practice of Eudaimonia (Full Article)

    • Growing evidence shows that qualities such as purposeful engagement, self-realization and growth, and enlightened self-regard are relevant influences on how long and how well people live.

    • Multiple studies have linked these indicators of well-being to reduced amygdala activation in response to negative stimuli (this means lower anxiety), sustained activity in the ventral striatum and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (emotion regulation) when viewing positive stimuli, and increased insular cortex volume (increased emotion experience such as compassion and empathy).


Ok, enough nerdy science, even though I love it!

It is not about me, it is about you getting out there, being open to new things, new information, new behaviours, new experiences, new activities.

 


Open Mindedness for Psychological Well-being #MindBlown

Creative Brain.jpg

Start with becoming a “Yes Person” when it comes to trying healthy new things!

Trying something new often requires courage, but it  opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new. Trying something new forces you to grow.

Try some of these cool new things!

  • How Books Can Open Your Mind (TEDTalk)
  • Why it’s Worth Listening to People You Disagree With (TEDTalk)
    • We get stronger, not weaker, by engaging with ideas and people we disagree with, says Zachary R. Wood. He calls this process, “Uncomfortable Learning”
    • Being open-minded doesn’t mean you accept all opinions as being true or equally valid. You just listen and try to understand another’s point of view.
  • Planned Happenstance: A cool career theory, (Mitchell, Levin, & Krumboltz, 1999), that helps people generate, recognize, and incorporate chance events into your career development. Go out volunteer for something that you would NEVER expect to interested in and see what happens. This is how I found my career path! You can use this for more than just a career path, it can be used to discover what you love to do in this life. Check out this guide!
  • Mindfulness & Meditation: Foster your cognitive flexibility! Check out these great resources to help guide you though this empirically validated brain intervention: Meditation Resources and Mindfulness Resources.
  • My Favourite Brain Growth Intervention: Participate in a cultural event that is not familiar to you. This can really help you to develop your beginner’s mind (look it up…super cool!).

Minds are Like ParachutesOur opinions and ideas make perfect sense when we look at them through our own lens, and with that, the perspectives of others can sometimes seem wrong. If we want to experience positive mental health, we need to develop a better understanding of the world and other ways of doing things. There is no use in clinging to our beliefs because they’re more familiar and comfortable to us, especially if they hurt or hinder us.

The secret of Change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old,

but on building the new” – Socrates


Tell me about your journey!

#YouGotThis #LiveFully #MentalWellness

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca


 

Cool Resource!

What processes are taking place in our brain when we are learning?

 

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