Thursday, 2 May 2013

The benefits of thinking a little

by James Kyle

In the sidebar "About Me" you may have noticed that I attended the University of Santa Monica (USM) to study spiritual psychology. Some of you may have been curious to know exactly what this term means. The following is taken from the USM website.

What does USM mean by “spiritual”? 

When we use the word “spiritual,” we are not referring to any particular religious tradition. Rather, we are speaking of the basic underlying universal principles upon which all religious traditions are founded. These universal principles can all be distilled down to one word, and that word is Loving. At USM we teach people experientially to engage in life from a more loving and compassionate place inherent within them. To the degree that students learn to be more loving and compassionate, it can be said that they are growing spiritually.

I say this to be clear that it is this strict definition of spirituality above that I advocate. I am very much aligned with the saying of Wittgenstein “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” Talk of ethereal beings and angels that vibrate at different frequencies and chakras and the like, as far as I am concerned, are nothing more than inherited "urban myths" - misleading world views that cripple our ability to interact effectively with the world around us.

Even beyond these wackier new age ideas, ineffective mental maps in fact extend to many cherished self development motifs and beliefs. So it is refreshing to come across a book like "59 Seconds: Think a little, Change a Lot" by Richard Wiseman. The author is a psychologist who has gathered into this enlightening and inspiring book personal development suggestions that are backed up by empirical psychological experiments.

Among my favourites are the following:

  • Thought suppression attempts backfire
  • Expressive writing promotes health
  • Practicing being grateful is beneficial
  • It is more rewarding to spend money on experiences rather than things
  • Giving to others promotes happiness in the giver
  • To deal with procrastination just overcome initial resistance, start the activity, and rely on the Zeigarnick effect

Oh, and if you want to boost creativity then have a poster like the following up on your wall:

If this has inspired you to take a look at this book the following is a link to the book in Amazon

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