Thoughts pass in and out of our minds all day, but how many of them actually stick with us? How often do you take the opportunity to sit down and think about the beauty of life, the world, the universe, without any bells and whistles clogging your thought processes? The truth is, we are junkies for comfort and entertainment. We avoid nasty thoughts about insignificance, mundanity, or failure by getting jacked up on visual and audial Soma, whether it be Youtube cat videos or the latest Hollywood or political scandal. When you really think about it, do you allow yourself to truly think on a regular basis? In the modern age of Instagrams, tweets, and the 24 hour news cycle, how much do you really stop and contemplate? How often do you have creative thoughts or ideas? In this age of technology, you might not be as creative or mentally present as you once were. If you are stuck in a monotonous mental rut, experience these 4 things to reinvigorate your mind and spirit.
Expose yourself to art. Timeless novels, opulent operas, contemporary ballets — art is meant to make you think. It brings you on a journey into a state of empathy and consciousness you otherwise might never experience. Go to a museum, see a concert (no, a One Direction concert doesn’t count), read a classic novel. Immersing yourself in the creativity of others will help you to become more creative and open-minded in your own life.
Practice meditation. Whether you use visualization techniques or you release your mind during gentle yoga, meditation clears the garbage from your head and makes room for profound thought. Mindfulness in life can reduce stress, increase awareness, and make you a generally better person to be around. Think you don’t have time? If you have time to check your Facebook in the morning, you have time for 5-10 minutes of meditation.
Embrace silence. Don’t just turn the television on when you get home from work or spend your evening perusing other peoples’ Pinterest walls. Silence is a rare and beautiful thing. Cut the visual and audial pyrotechnics for a night and find out what you are drawn to. Perhaps you’ll enjoy your dinner a little bit more. Perhaps you’ll pick up that old tome you’ve always meant to read. Perhaps you’ll discover a new hobby entirely. Distractions discourage creativity, so shut down your electronics for the evening and get reacquainted with your unplugged self.
Be in nature. Go back to your roots. Literally, the roots in your backyard or nearest nature preserve. Sit under a tree and just be. Hear the birds chirping, notice that chipmunk absconding a squirrel’s nut stash, watch the stars develop at dusk. If you are a little more adventurous, take a trip into the wilderness and feel the bonds of constant societal distraction slide off your body. Don’t let winter stop you. Even a stroll through the park can put everything into perspective.
Why is it that we, as a general society, don’t think about things as deeply as we could? Is it because we have the Internet, so we foolishly think we know everything? Is it because we are driven to try to become more and more comfortable and the act of profound thought is sometimes harsh and distressing? With machines doing most of our tasks and thinking for us, we have to push away complacency and throw ourselves into the art of life. We live in a beautiful age in which we don’t need to spare thought for menial tasks, so let your creativity flourish and empower your mind with thought.