A new year, a new you, right? I’ll do you one better. How about a new way to view your mind? I believe that could be a more productive way to look at this new year. An approach that will add lasting value and shift the way you look at your weekly activities.
A new year, a new way to view your mind.
As the technological era advances the further we have become “connected.” Our smart phones, iPads, computers, etc. have become an extension of who we are. Arguably dictating everything we do and aim at. Moving further towards a state of “connectedness” has moved us further away from "awareness": the state of being aware of our noticings/biases, reactions to those noticings, and the decisions we make as a result. One of the ways we can foster more awareness in our lives is through a better understanding of our mind. And by better understanding our mind, we can fuel it with the stimulation it needs to thrive.
There’s a balance needed between different states of stimulation for the mind. More specifically, a dyadic relationship, Yin and Yang, of energy. We are going to call this, “Mind Balance".
Everyone enjoys a nice framework to help paint a clearer picture, so I’ve used concepts from Dr. Gene Cohen’s book, The Mature Mind.
There are 2 categories with 4 quadrants. We have an area entitled, “Time to oneself” and an area entitled, “Time with others”. Within each of these categories, we have 2 sub categories for specific activities that go within them. In the “Time to oneself” we have: Relaxed Setting and Intensive Setting. In the “Time with others” we have: Relaxed Group Setting and Intensive Group Setting. In the graph below you can see the breakdown visually.
(Intensive just means more moving parts and activity)
How to determine where you sit on the framework
Depending on your essence there will be areas of these 4 quadrants that you prefer over the others, and that's normal. The key is to identify the ones you stray away from and start to lean into them and realize there is value in spending time in those settings to help you develop on a deeper level.
The key is to identify the ones you stray away from and start to lean into them and realize there is value in spending time in those settings to help you develop on a deeper level.
For example, maybe you don’t like to be alone, you can’t stand a calm environment. You could gain a lot of value in pulling yourself away from that environment and spending time in silence. On the flip side, if you are someone who doesn’t like chaotic environments and prefers to be alone, you could gain a lot of value by slowly starting to expose yourself to more chaotic environments. Your perception of chaos will dictate how intense or not intense that exposure needs to be.
For example, the person who enjoys chaotic environments, pulls energy from them, might need to be at an intense concert with their friends to feed that part of them. Whereas the person who does not prefer the chaos could start with going out to dinner with some friends or a small house party put on by their friends over the weekend.
As it is in fitness, we want a subtle exposure to the challenging predicament to elicit a response we can grow and adapt from.
- Start by taking time to identify where you sit on this framework.
- Identify which areas you favor and which areas you shy away from.
- Write down some ideas or activities you could partake in that would help you “lean” into the more challenging areas.
- Take it one step further, discuss these pieces with a close friend who you trust to help create accountability and support during this transformative process.
In this new year, aim to foster more “awareness,” and potentially less connectedness, through better “Mind Balance.”
Books for deeper learning on the topic
- Brain Rules
- Talent Code
- Emotional Intelligence
- Brain that changes itself
- Social Animal
- Mature Mind
- Instant Emotional Healing
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