Creature – a negative word?

via Daily Prompt: Creature

I am amazed at how the mind functions. In a short conversation with someone, he said “that creature” and without knowing the thing or even slightly being aware of it.

Just by hearing the word “creature”, my brain gave it a negative connotation. Due to which, I thought of “that creature” as some visually and by the very nature of it as ugly.

But why did I do that? This judgement of mine was based on what logic or fact?

All of this has to do with how we had interpreted the information “creature” when our brain first heard it. The first impression of the word decides how is the word treated by the marvellous brain going further.

All of this has to do with an almond shaped brain structure called amygdala which is believed to be responsible for assigning these emotional reactions.

Until recently, we believed that a sub region in Amygdala – Basolateral Amygdala (BLA) – was responsible for processing fear. But then, how can the same region be processing both emotions.

Digging deeper, the scientists found that the target destination of these intermingling neurons might help us get to where the distinction is made. So, checking the strength of connection between Basolateral Amygdala and Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) and between BLA and Centromedial Amygdala (CeM) for each neutron population will give you an idea. If it flows to NAc, it is a positive reward and if it flows to CeM, it is considered fear inducing.

How does that distinction happen? I believe there is still research going on in this field of near transmission.

But one thing is sure, that each information is not looked in as a separate entity and instead the entire information comes in as by relativity valuation the brain decides which information is strengthening which path (BLA->NAc or BLA ->CeM) and based on that, the emotions are displayed.

To conclude, I would like to bring you back to my main point which is “pre conceived notions”. When we hear about something we already heard before, we need to give the same amount of attention thereby asking the brain to rethink on the path chosen, make that decision again and thereby arriving on the emotional activity.

 

Free treats we are missing out on!

via Daily Prompt: Treat

Good Morning everyone!

We don’t need to indulge in specific tasks for us to enjoy our treats. We are in default seekers of instant gratification and that’s what we are getting from our daily tasks. But ironically, we ourselves are not IN PRESENT while performing those tasks that we miss out on the rewards we got. This is same as you are being awarded the best Student of the year and you were not present in the function. Will you be able to enjoy that moment?

We get fair share  of treats throughout the day. All that is required is to realise them. Starting with getting up early morning, listening to some slow song is a treat to my ears, making my own beat coffee is a treat to my internal organs and taste buds, taking few deep breaths is a treat to my entire body. This body system of ours is so complex that every simple thing that makes up this body has its own treats.

More important than the treats your body gets as time passes by is the realisation that you just had a treat for yourself.

Here are few early morning treats I have:

  1. Washing your face as soon as you get up with cold water.
  2. Gazing out through the window to the New York Skyline and the Hudson in search for silence. (I am an introvert and get re energised in silence :))
  3. Making my own beat coffee.
  4. Gym in the freakishly cold weather.
  5. Listening to some soothing slow song while writing this blog.

Just early morning can have these many treats and every one might even be having them but it’s just that I started to realise them now.

So what is stopping people from realising the treats they are getting from their daily activities?

Let me explain with an example.

When we go for movies, we give undivided attention to the screen and hence grasp everything and end up reading between the lines too. Same goes with watching Netflix shows.

But these menial and mundane everyday tasks which we think is useless and want to utilise that time to think and plan our day or future or even ponder over the mistakes done in the past. So basically, since we think of these tasks as worthless, we tend to utilise the time we are doing these tasks to NOT BE IN THE PRESENT. We are everywhere but in present. How can you possibly consider a task as a treat if you yourself are not present while doing the task?

I have one task for you all. Try doing this. For once, instead of dumping your kitchen ware into dishwasher, try washing it on your own. This particular task forces you to be in present and won’t even let your mind deviate. The experience is surreal. And this is the feeling you get when you are living in present and this is what we call MINDFULNESS.

“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.” – Buddha

This simple quote explains a simple reason to be in present always.

It is this absence of mindfulness that’s leading to you all missing out on all your treats and letting them go unnoticed. Isn’t this the worst? You are performing a task and are also getting rewarded instantly, but that reward goes unnoticed as you are not present there. IRONIC.

Reservation – a cemented thought

via Daily Prompt: Reservation

Hi All!! Good Morning!

I interpret Reservation both positively and negatively. It all depends on the context to which we are using this word.

Positively, We see this as reserving something for the future. Basically eliminate the uncertainties.

From reserving a table for tomorrow’s lunch to reserving a wedding location for a wedding which is one year later, all we are doing is fixing the price and effort today for an event thats going to happen in the future. Hence removing the uncertainty and helping you to focus on other things. So Reservation is a good thing then as you get to secure yourself for a future event.

But lets try to think of reservation from our thoughts’ perspective.

It so happens that reservation of thoughts is not a good thing. I am talking about a concept called “RESERVED THINKING”.

An inflexible and rigid thinking process which matched the way of living centuries back but not good for the current society.  Till the time our thoughts stay with us, no one knows what we are thinking, who are we judging and hence no one is getting hurt or impacted. But, as soon as the thoughts become words or action, that is where a particular attention has to be thrown in.

Thinking process should always be in fluid state, ready to mould, change and adapt according to the surroundings and environment. This helps new neural connections to be made in the brain and new connections imply that you are able to connect the dots to a greater extent. Here I would go to the extent of saying that thinking process should be ANTIFRAGILE – something benefiting from chaos. In this chaotic, globalised world where everything seems to be connected and reachable, that is the thinking process which a society would need.

When the thought process becomes rigid, inflexible and reserved, then there won’t be an evolution in thinking and without evolution in the thinking process, there would be no learning involved and a society where people are ignorant to learn is already obsolete.

Globalisation is trying to bring all the worlds closer but somewhere the dots are not getting connected as every nation still carries a pre conceived notion about other nations. No matter how close we get, if the boundary wall is not broken, there won’t be a seamless communication and prosperous society. The boundary wall can only be broken from both sides. If one side tries to break it, and other side is trying to hold it tight, then what’s the point right?

We should all be targeting the fundamental thinking to any of the problems.

If the thinking is fluid, the person can be taught, societies can learn, and nations will thrive. 

But nothing is easy, and a change like this will take generations!

Lets bring in some game theory here for an example. Lets say there are two friends, P1 and P2 from two different nations. Both are extremely hungry and there is one cupcake available. Thats it!

If P1 just grabs the cake first and has the whole piece, the relationship between P1 and P2 is compromised. But P1 would have filled his hunger. What happened here is that P1 chose short term gain over long term gain.

Had P1 just thought once what is the impact of his action, he might have reconsidered and P1 would have cut the cake in half and shared. P1 and P2’s connection strength increased, words spread and a pre conceived notion is established in nation 2 regarding nation 1.

RESERVATION is good but don’t bring that down to your thoughts! If your thinking gets reserved to a certain time frame and the world goes far ahead, you won’t be able to learn or adapt to the ever changing world and hence will never reach your full potential!

Thrive to be an infinite learner!

 

Conversation – a different perspective

Conversation

This is an innate skill without which it will be hard for us to thrive on this planet. CONVERSATION – No matter with whom. It can be with ourselves, our managers, teachers, friends, pets, family, and even strangers. It is these conversations that shape our day.

The major task for us is to shape our day the way we want it to be. We are constantly in conversation mode. But it is the role which we take in each conversation that matters the most.

You can be one of the following – OBSERVER, LISTENER, SPEAKER. And the role which we take during the course of the day defines your day and its achievements.

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As we are asleep we are in constant prolonged conversation with our subconsious known to the planet as DREAM. This type of conversation cannot be controlled and but the very presence of it and just by acknowledging it makes you wonder about our brain!

The as soon as we get up, we start a conversation with ourselves, what do I need to do today? Which task has a greater priority? Whats going to be my breakfast? Shoild I just skip today’s gym? All questions, but coming up with various possible answers at the same time. This is the conversation which gives pace to your daily routine and morning habits. Based on which answer you choose from the plethora of answers given by your mind, it marks your way of living.

As the day goes by, we will always be influenced or distracted by our mind striking a conversation constantly. At some point we loose track and are lost in our thoughts. This particular situation when you yourself can’t control the answers given by your mind, constantly LISTENING to your mind and making judgements, is calling RACING THOUGHTS. This is where the famous practice of MEDITATION comes into play. What MEDITATION does is that it converts you from being a LISTENER to an OBSERVER. The difference being, LISTENER involves his mind while in conversation and OBSERVER takes the balcony seat in the theatre play going on with his popcorn not caring at all but at the same time respectfully listening, hence no involvement of the mind.

See, lets take an analogy here defining the purpose of meditation. A young child is very inquisitive and full of energy. We try to keep the child in closed environment and restrict what he can and cannot do. But every day you have to give the child a room for few hours just letting him/her do whatever he/she wants to fulfil his/her thirst for answers. Same goes for pets. You have to take your dog for a walk and just follow the dog as it gradually feeds its thirst for answers. If we are so aware of the problem and we are finding solutions for everyone around us then why are we ignoring our mind itself? It also needs to find a way to feed its inquisitiveness. This is the phase where your role in the conversation is of a OBSERVER. All you do is observe your mind talking without making any judgements. As soon as you start making judgements, then your thoughts will start being controlled. JUST LET IT GO AND FLOW WITH THE WIND.

Finally the SPEAKER. Its very important bring in this role as this is the role which cuts through the diplomacies and allows you to come to a concrete decision. Without speaking your mind, people around you will never know what you think and your opinion on matters being discussed. Also, without active involvement or being the SPEAKER, you tend to loose interest and the conversation mode shifts from you having conversation with your team to you having conversation with yourself.

At the end of the day, you are defined based on what role you chose during the day.