School of Curiosity

School of Curiosity

School of Curiosity

Explore. Dream. Discover.

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The art of mental time travel

August 8, 2013

Hey, there’s no need to wait until you can afford that time machine you always promised yourself. Tali Sharot in The Science of Optimism: Why We’re Hard-Wired for Hope  says that mental time travel is all part of our daily routine. It’s a double edged sword, it keeps us optimistic, yet warns us of the things to come. According to Sharot…

“Optimism starts with what may be the most extraordinary of human talents: mental time travel. That is, the ability to move back and forth through time and space in one’s mind. To think positively about our prospects, it helps to be able to imagine ourselves in the future. Although most of us take this ability for granted, our capacity to envision a different time and place is critical for our survival. It allows us to plan ahead, to save food and resources for times of scarcity, and to endure hard work in anticipation of a future reward.

While mental time travel has clear survival advantages, conscious foresight came to humans at an enormous price — the understanding that somewhere in the future, death awaits. This knowledge that old age, sickness, decline of mental power, and oblivion are somewhere around the corner, can be devastating”.

Have a curious day.

Don’t worry….be happy

August 5, 2013

There’s a Dutch psychologist called Ad Kerkhof who specialises in suicide prevention. Perhaps not the most perky subject for a Monday morning, but wait….the principles he has developed and proven, apply to less extreme situations too, like the worrying that we all do.

He has found that people worry about one topic more than any other – the future, often believing that the more hours they spend contemplating it, the more likely they are to find a solution to their problems. But this isn’t the case, and though his techniques may sound remarkably straightforward, they are all backed up by trials.

Here’s one of his ideas.

Set aside a time for worrying. Your worries relate to real and practical problems in your life, so you cannot rid yourself of them altogether, but you can learn to control when you think about them. Telling people not to think of their worries isn’t going to work. Instead Kerkhof recommends the opposite. Set aside 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to do nothing but worry about the future. Sit at a table, make a list of all your problems and then think about them. But as soon as the time is up you must stop worrying, and whenever those worries come back into your head remind yourself that you can’t contemplate them again until your next worry time. You have given yourself permission to postpone your worrying until the time of your choice. Remarkably, it can work. It puts you in control.

Have a curious day.




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