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Mindfulness

How Thinking Critically Changes Your Life for the Better

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How Thinking Critically Changes Your Life for the Better

Critical analysis can be defined as the ability to judge an issue by taking into account all factors that affect the process and outcome of the issue. A person with the ability to think critically will be able to calmly analyze from more than one perspective without letting personal preferences interfere judgment.

So, how does thinking critically make life better? For starters, it can enable you to understand topics more deeply, make you a star performer in your job and allow you to be more open and tolerant of people who hold beliefs which are quite contradictory to your own.

Understand, Don’t Just Learn 

One of the first things you notice after embracing critical thinking is that you are able to understand subjects much better. A normal learning process involves reading a subject and memorizing it. On occasions, you may also understand the subject logically. 

“Critical thinking takes you beyond such basic processes and enables you to understand the subject in a way that you begin seeing its implications across multiple areas.”

For example, if you are learning economics, you may come across a concept which states that the scarcity of a product raises its value, while the easy availability of a product decreases it. Now, a person without any critical thinking ability can only see its applicability in the field of economics, and will probably only be employed in that field.

But someone who can think critically will see the applicability of the theory of demand in other areas, which might at first seem unrelated. For example, they might observe that people who have grown without love from parents may hold love to be very important in their lives. 

In this case, love is the commodity, the scarcity of which, increased its value. And such insights are only possible because the person had critical thinking abilities which enabled him or her to apply knowledge gained from one subject to other areas.

This concept was explored in Richard Paul and Linda Elder’s Critical Thinking Development: A Stage Theory, in which they proposed that children who have higher critical thinking abilities are able to understand subjects at a deeper level and connect ideas across multiple disciplines.

Increasing Tolerance

How Thinking Critically Changes Your Life for the Better

If there is one thing that contributes to a lack of tolerance in the world, it is the absence of critical thinking. Intolerant ideas are the products of narrow viewpoints which are unable to accommodate other perspectives, especially those which run counter to them.

As an article on tolerance and critical thinking notes, when people surround themselves with those who only share their views, critical thinking can suffer and they can end up thinking that only their viewpoint is the absolute reality.

A person of a specific spiritual belief may be against another person’s belief, refusing to believe it as equally valid as their own. A person who identifies with a particular sexual identity may hate those who live with a completely opposite inclination. There are many such examples of intolerance.

Critical thinking expands your ability to observe and accept other people’s views and beliefs. For example, if you are a religiously intolerant person, then critical thinking will make you see that the other person’s way of worship is not so different from yours since both of you are essentially praying to a divine power for the good of people you love. 

And when you start accommodating the other viewpoint, any intolerance you feel will begin dissolving and you become more forbearing.

Developing Critical Thinking

How Thinking Critically Changes Your Life for the Better

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

-Aristotle

Developing the ability to think critically is no easy task. It requires you to slowly give up your preconceived notions and start making value-based judgments on events based on merit. For people who have grown with a strong set of prejudices, this can look impossible.

And even if you think you have developed a strong ability to think critically, you will still have to deal with the paradox of critical thinking, where you may not be able to decide whether you have arrived at a conclusion because of careful analysis or whether you have fooled yourself into thinking that you had done a critical analysis.

But whatever paradoxes you may face, one thing is for certain – it is far more beneficial for you to be able to think critically than not being able to. And as such, putting in the effort to be a solid critical thinker is well worth it.  

Final Thoughts

When you start thinking critically and from various perspectives, the range of thoughts increase. More thoughts aren’t necessarily a catalyst for decision making. Hence, have your starting points and intentions in the right place, and decisions will be easier to make and you won’t get into analysis paralysis.

Habits

How Reading can impact your Day to Day Life?

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Reading is a healthy habit, which, if practiced daily, can change your entire life around. Do you want to know why? Through Reading, one can not only gain knowledge but also stay acquainted with the outside as well as the inside world. The best thing about reading daily is to have an isolated place for yourself in your mind, where you can run off to. Most people don’t have the patience or intention to read, and that too, daily. Though this is a habit that takes time to settle in but trust me, once it does, you would never regret it. So, here is a list of reasons why you should read daily?

Why should you read daily?

  • To gain knowledge

Once you start reading daily, and by Reading, it can be anything – you can read few pages of a novel, or a magazine, or newspaper, or even poetry – you would notice within weeks how much your knowledge regarding the outer world has improved. Through Reading, one can have clear information regarding the current affairs, and hence, stay updated.

  • To improve your vocabulary

Through Reading, you can definitely learn new words and hence, improve your vocabulary. Most people make it a habit to learn a new word from the dictionary every day, but if you read daily, you are bound to get new words and make a list of them on a notebook with their meanings, which is definitely going to be helpful for you.

  • To have a make-believe world

The most beautiful consequence of Reading is having one’s own imaginary world, where one can live a life full of magic. This is the extraordinary superpower one acquires while reading. In this busy daily life of ours, we all look for a secluded place where we can feel the essence of peace. Reading can fly you off to the imaginary land of sunflowers, daisies, and cats who can indeed talk.

  • To become more attentive

Most people lack patience nowadays. Being impatient and restless has become a severe problem in today’s world. Here, Reading can help you calm your mind and improve your observation skills. It works like meditation. In no time, you would find your mind focusing on details and becoming more attentive to events, which used to go unnoticed.

  • To reduce stress

Reading is similar to meditation, and hence, it definitely helps to reduce your stress. Books always have a calming effect on one’s mind. It takes you away from daily problems and stressful situations and helps your mind to gain stability. Not only it helps in reducing stress, but it also helps to decrease the anxiety levels of a person. 

Everyone should make reading a daily habit. One should switch off the mobile phones, turn off the television and take some time out to read. It works wonders on one’s day-to-day life and changes one person’s entire personality. Though it can be hard at first, with time, you would cherish the moments alone, reading in a corner while your mind is flying off to Narnia.

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Mindfulness

How Does Meditation Help You?

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Meditation has the power to heal you in unprecedented ways. When you meditate properly, you can connect with your soul and inner voice. Sometimes the noise of our everyday life makes it challenging to listen to our own hearts. Especially in today’s time and age, when a sense of uncertainty has gripped the world, we need to calm ourselves down more than ever. 

Reconnecting with ourselves helps us understand what we need to do for our self-growth and development as well. Meditation lets you do this and more. In a state of complete silence, all you can hear is your breathing and heartbeat. As you count them slowly, you feel attuned to the vibrational energy of a different kind.

According to ancient mythologies, meditation levitated the soul to realms of the divine. I don’t know anything about that, but it is definitely true that you can free yourself through meditation. Take, for example, right now, this moment. 

Many of us around the world are locked in our homes because of the virus. It’s a sensation of imprisonment within the confines of the four walls, isn’t it? Well, not exactly if you let the power of meditation wash you over. When you focus within and connect to your soul, you free yourself from the anxieties, worries, and stress of day to day life. In that moment of truth, you are free, free from your inner bindings, and heaviness pulling you down. 

So, the point is you can achieve freedom right where you are through a meditative state of mind. Calming your mind down lets you accomplish complicated tasks with relative ease. Even the work that looks daunting can be solved when you put a clear, peaceful mind at work. 

There are innumerable benefits of meditating regularly. These benefits not only include alleviating some of the symptoms of physical ailments but also mental health problems. Especially when it comes to depression, stress, and anxiety, or associated disorders, there is limited dialogue, and the issues often remain unaddressed. 

For a generation thriving under tremendous pressure, the competition rat race to succeed mental health problems has become a new normal. Meditation comes in as a beneficial yet noninvasive therapy route and has shown marked differences towards a positive lifestyle. 

Let us look at some of the holistic benefits of meditation in terms of clinical conditions. 

With regular practice of meditation, it has been seen that anxiety decreases, improvement of emotional stability occurs, increases in clarity and peace of mind, mental agility, memory, and retention power rises. A significant increase in dopamine levels has also been observed after an hour of meditation, which increases your happiness levels! 

Moreover, meditation also lowers high blood pressure, lowers the levels of blood lactate, reduces anxiety attacks, reduces headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle, and joint problems, increases serotonin production, and improves mood and behavior of the immune system, and increases energy levels. 

A study conducted by UCLA also found that meditation slows down the process of aging in your brain. Now that’s interesting! Older meditators practicing for years had less profound loss of grey matter areas compared to their non-meditating counterparts. This directly affects memory, cognitive abilities, and decision-making powers that decline with the process of aging. Studies have also shown that the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thought processes, decreases through meditating. This brings a ruminating mind under control and increases a person’s ability to focus. According to Harvard scientist Sara Lazar and her team, “Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was seen to raise the cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs the learning and memory functions. Moreover, in certain areas of the brain that plays regulatory roles in emotion and self-referential processing. There were also significant decreases in brain cell volume of the amygdala, which is the center responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress – and these changes matched the participants’ self-reports of their stress levels, indicating that meditation not only changes the brain, but it changes our subjective perception and feelings as well.”

Studies have also shown that you can increase your concentration and attention span through meditation quite effectively. Moreover, according to a research group from the University of Kentucky, “Meditation provides at least a short-term performance improvement even in novice meditators.In long term meditators, multiple hours spent in meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time compared with age and sex-matched controls who did not meditate. Whether meditation can replace a portion of sleep or pay-off sleep debt is under further investigation.”

So, I hope by now, you are at least partially convinced about the unlimited potential of mediation. There are many options to bring in some well-being into your life, and meditation is one of them. The best part is it’s free and entirely up to you. 

Now that you hold the key, are you ready to give it a try and see some positive effects yourself? 

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Mindfulness

Why Do Animals Make Better Friends Than Humans?

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Animals are the pure, raw souls that need little to be genuinely happy. In a world continually chasing after materialistic bliss and happiness, your furry friends find fulfillment in a bit of touch, a bit of affection, and a dollop of kindness. 

There are no layers or hidden agendas, it’s just a beautiful bond of simplicity, or as popularly known as love. Somehow, for this generation, the meaning of the word love has been lost in translation. We are always after something, something better, something newer. 

Our fast-paced approach has derailed basic human emotions and its purity. Friendships for many people is less of a bond, and more of an unsigned “give and take” policy. However, if you look into your dog’s crystal-clear eyes, nothing but love and deep affection reflect back. 

pets

That’s the beauty of building relations with animals; they want nothing but some warmth and your time. It’s a sense of fulfillment that makes you believe that being you is enough, along with an odd satisfying sense of acceptance when your four-legged buddy comes running up like there is no tomorrow.

Like a true friend, they listen to you and give you comfort in the most unprecedented ways. We may not share the same language, but some words can be understood even when unspoken. 

We all look for hope and belief to be alive. Sometimes, it just needs a kind pair of eyes to stare at you with honest attention, without any judgment, to find that hope. I also believe honesty is a magically powerful language found in abundance in our furry friends.

But this is not only about pets; all animals in this world have something profound to offer. Their sense of affection, love, and gratitude is like a lighthouse in a deep dark sea. 

All around the globe, you can find various instances of animals and their bonds with fellow humans developing in unimaginable ways, simply because of their beautiful, unspoiled souls. They are more precious than us, I think, by being able to portray love in the most natural and pure way. 

If you have found it, always hold on to this feeling, because it is fulfilling and heart-touching to witness true love in their eyes, and eyes are thought to be the window of souls. At the end of the day, we are lucky to share this world with them, because they truly teach us how to be loved in this crazy, big world. 

So try to do your part to save them and provide for them, because your act of kindness can go a long way!

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