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SEEK KNOWLEDGE

On this page, it's all bout seeking knowledge (learning) and cultivating wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge, understanding, experience, common sense, and insight to make sound decisions and sensible judgments. This component of the MNSTR Method is something that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I seek this the most whenever I feel stuck due to a major event in my life. to find ways to fix or manage myself and/or my situation better. It's a human trait that includes positive social behaviors, emotional regulation, self-reflection, acceptance of uncertainty, decisiveness, spirituality, and resilience (2019 Harvard Review of Psychiatry study). The study reported that wisdom is associated with better physical + mental health, happiness, and life satisfaction. Without this trait I wouldn't have gotten myself out of my chronic illness lifestyle, also recently to manage my mental health better on my own and heal from my PMDD (I'm working closely with a Naturopath on this). Learning fulfills my curiosity and opens up new perspectives which help to raise my self-awareness and awareness of my environment.  Each obstacle I come across is an opportunity for me to learn how to overcome it. Seeking knowledge is not just about grasping or collecting information but knowing how to use it. Learning is also found in the Self-Mastery page as seeking knowledge would only improve your brain functions as you focus on learning about something that you are interested in (being present with the task at hand). Seeking it on a daily basis helps you cope better with challenges in life, allowing you to stay calm, emotionally balanced in trying times, and to maintain good emotional + psychological health. Here is a breakdown of the benefits  of seeking wisdom:
 

  • ENGAGE IN PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOURS
    Show more compassion, empathy, and altruism by doing positive things for others.

  • CREATE MEANING + PURPOSE
    People who engage in meaningful activities are generally happier, have more motivation, experience more positive emotions, and are less likely to feel symptoms of depression. 
     

  • REGULATE EMOTIONS
    Embrace all emotions whether considered positive or negative. Managing emotions, not by suppressing them, but by becoming aware of feelings as they occur and controlling how you react in the moment. Also found in mindfulness as learning puts one in a mindful state of mind.

  • REFLECT + BE SELF-AWARE
    Look at yourself objectively, recognizing strengths and weaknesses, so you can accept responsibility and not blame others.

  • LEARN, UNLEARN + RELEARN
    Unlearn what you think you know so you can relearn what you need to know. Opens your mind to diverse views, even if you have strong opinions about an issue, and be prepared to change your mind if new, persuasive information is presented. It levels up your understanding of different perspectives. This is how we can learn effectively.
     

High life engagement, positive problem-solving skills, social and emotional intelligence, and effective coping with hardship are factors associated with wisdom that contribute to better health and longevity. People can develop and grow wisdom at any age by creating meaning and purpose, doing good things for others, regulating emotions, reflecting, and being self-aware. (Harvard Review of Psychiatry).
 

WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR BRAIN WHEN YOU LEARN?

 

Your brain is primarily composed of about 85 billion neurons, a neuron is a cell that acts as a messenger, sending information in the form of nerve impulses (like electrical signals) to other neurons. Your brain undergoes important changes when you learn, including making new connections between neurons. The phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity, it's the ability of your brain to create, strengthen, weaken or remove connections between neurons. As you practice, these connections become stronger... your nerve impulses (messages) are transmitted faster as your connections strengthen, making them more efficient. Learning rewires your neurons, which shows how dynamic (plasticity) the brain is and that it changes over time and does not remain the same. The experience of learning something new can be very rewarding. Therefore, dopamine levels increase in the brain to help that new information stick. Learning has been shown in the research to help improve and maintain our mental health. It helps to boost your sense of self like confidence,  build a sense of purpose, and connections with others. People who are actively learning showed an improvement in their mood overall, along with a better ability to cope with everyday stress and adversities in life. The practices that I've mentioned in the MNSTR Method are an opportunity to develop neuroplasticity, anything that challenges you while you learn and practice. (Very much so in the skateboarding practice.)

LIFELONG LEARNING + SELF-EDUCATION

An interest in self-development topics has been a constant pursuit in my life, gaining more knowledge is power to me which has helped me get 'unstuck' from several obstacles in my life by applying what I've learned. There has been countless trial and errors experienced as I went along, with the perspective of failure as an opportunity to understand what I shouldn't do for the next attempt in whatever I'm working on. The biggest obstacle so far is my lupus condition going into remission without the need for further medications or treatments. I learned more about nutrition, my body, and sought info about my complex condition which then helped me to put together natural methods to rebalance my body which I'm still maintaining today without medications or treatments (Just a note that I'm only sharing this experience to illustrate how one can and should learn how to go about bettering their situation in life, every little action towards it counts. I'm not suggesting that anyone go off their meds or treatment, I did it as safely as I could which was very dependent on a unique combination of factors that I've observed and managed carefully). The sort of self-education acquired was to make the quality of my life better most of the time, some other interests that I love learning about are psychology, neuroscience, a deep dive into music, nutrition, cooking, photography, film, and graphic design... skating is the most recent thing that I've stated learning... I do have a lot of interests, but I've used a lot of the knowledge to attain a higher quality of living. As a creative professional of almost 20 years, I didn't get to finish college but continued to learn about graphic design and did freelance work, I picked up odd jobs along the way to learn more about what I know today.  I'm a self-taught photographer and learned a lot about how to run a business on my own on top of acquiring new skills around it. I keep learning on the go to not be stagnant in my profession and carved my career the way I envision it built on all the skills that I've picked up on my own. What are your interests? Would love to hear your thoughts.

LEARNING DIFFERENT TYPES OF PHILOSOPHY

One thing I've been implementing in my daily is to learn about different types of philosophy, the ones that resonated with me the most are Stoicism, the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche, and Miyamoto Musashi. Philosophy is readily available to us in different formats to learn about the people who came before us who experienced hardships and what we can learn from their journeys. To reframe perspective about our past + present + future, how to deal with adversities, to be steady in a chaotic world, and how to make yourself a better person so that in the end you can help others outside of yourself like your friends, family, community, industry, etc.  Why Stoicism? The Stoics believed that our wealth, status, power, possession, and stature are neither good nor bad, and they have no social importance with respect to our relationships with one another. We are all equals. The Stoics held that external differences, such as rank/status and wealth, are of no importance in social relationships. It's a practical philosophy that I try to practice daily, not just something to read about.

Something that has helped me a lot in my mental health journey is understanding the concept of the dichotomy of control, Things you have control over (for example your reactions to an event/person, thoughts + feelings) and things that you have no control over (for example Other people's thoughts + actions, the weather, and events). The Stoic philosophers talked about how our chief task in life is distinguishing between what we can and can’t control. And that we always have the choice, have the ability to control, what kind of person we are. People who only focus on what they can control are much happier than those battling against what they can’t control (this state of mind is all too familiar to me). Much of the content on the MNSTR Skate Initiative is based on this thought. 

ACQUIRING WISDOM/KNOWLEDGE

There are so many ways to acquire knowledge these days either through books or the internet. At the moment, the latest subjects that I'm self-studying are learning how to play the drums (lots of music theory and basic drum beats) and about the Indigenous history + views where I'm residing.  What are you learning or interested in learning? Check out the following exercise to help list out your curiosities. I did this exercise myself a while ago and this session felt really good to let my mind wander while focusing on myself. 
 

EXERCISE: On a piece of paper or a digital document (google docs)/word/notes), write down all of your curiosities and interests that you have, and try to be specific with each one.  For example, If you appreciate animation as an art form, don't just put animation....be more specific about the topic like the history of 2D animation dating back to the 1950s, along with this interest you could be interested in learning how to draw/how to draw better/in a different style/etc.  Take your time in building up this list and zone in on this session.  There are so many ways for us to acquire information these days, it can be in any format. I'm not much of a book reader due to the limited time and focus that I have, especially in my schedule. I consume information in different ways that work for me using the following digital formats:

 

Those are my thoughts on seeking knowledge and its mental health benefits, I hope it's something that you can explore new subjects to learn and discover/rediscover which philosophy aligns with you. If you have any thoughts or questions about this page, please CONTACT me with the subject line: Seeking Knowledge.

SOURCES:

Medical Express.“Being wise is good for your health." 2019 <https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-05-wise-good-healthreview-emerging-science.html>
Harvard Review of Psychiatry. “The emerging empirical science of wisdom.” 2019,  <https://journals.lww.com/hrpjournal/Pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2019&issue=05000&article=00001&type=Fulltext&PRID=HRP_
PR_51419>

Living Well website, Australia, <https://livingwell.org.au/well-being/five-ways-to-mental-wellbeing/keep-on-learning/>

Taylor Francis Online, Adult education, mental health and mental wellbeing, <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02601370.2019.1533064?src=recsys>

The Daily Stoic Website, <http://dailystoic.com>

"Stoic Belief", Orion Philosophy website, <https://www.orionphilosophy.com/stoic-blog/stoicism-beliefs>

Chartwell website<https://chartwell.com/en/blog/2019/10/are-wise-people-happier-and-healthier>

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