An Inquiring Mind Works Wonders for Wellbeing
For those of us who live with cats we witness curiosity on the prowl every day. Delving into corners, cupboards and empty cardboard boxes, cats have a deep, instinctive need to know that everything is “as it should be” in their territory. The food bowl is where it always is, there are no intruders and the hiding places are accessible. For our feline friends an inquiring mind is as essential a tool for survival as vast amounts of snoozing.
For us mere mortals, however, the impulses behind our curiosity are more complex. We also have the survival curiosity instinct for ensuring food, shelter and safety. But in order to be comfortable and productive, as well as safe, we need an additionally inquiring mind to solve problems and obtain information necessary to produce economic results: Inquiring into what our customers want, how are patients are feeling and so on.
There is, however, so much more to life than survival and functionality. Curiosity is the driving force behind all human achievements. But in today’s world the complacency produced by our deceptively comfortable lives creates the potentially damaging situation of shrinking our mysterious, and awe-inspiring, living experience down to the size of the latest smart phone or balance sheet. When we settle into believing that we know all that we need to know, our minds shut down and our world contracts around us. At times the only additional curiosity we have is of the morbid, usually irrelevant kind, that leaves us fleetingly relieved that the something terrible that is happening involves somebody else. We may feel safe but it keeps us small, ineffective and missing out on our bigger potential.
By choosing to cultivate our inquiring minds, however, we tap into a wealth of wellbeing that enriches our lives and the lives of those we touch: Curiosity means taking the time to understand ourselves and others better; not automatically taking things on face value; working out fact from fiction and make more informed choices; being in a better position to deal with conflict and adversity and being able to influence others in a positive way.
There are so many rewarding (and often fun) ways we can nurture and expand our curiosity:-
Research the historical facts behind the latest Netflix series
Cook with ingredients you’ve never used before
Listen to a different political opinion
Ask your partner how they really feel
Sign up for that class you always wanted to do
Join an environmental group
Volunteer at the food bank…
When we seek to discover new things beyond what appears to be necessary, it expands our hearts and minds beyond the every day ordinary. An expansive, inquiring mind is a powerful tool when it comes to feeling emotionally stronger and more resilient. The more we learn, the more we want to learn; the more interesting and wondrous the world becomes the more effective, healthy and happy we are.
Caroline will be discussing this topic on KZE on Thursday 23rd January.