Five curiosity tips for a healthy mind

“Curiosity is courage married to uncertainty. Be brave enough to wonder if you’re missing something.” – Dan Rockwell

In last week’s post, I talked about the importance of curiosity to keep your mind in top shape. You can read about it here.

Knowing the importance of curiosity, here are some simple every day things that you can do to maintain, regain, or develop curiosity.

  1. Focus outside yourself

Introspection is necessary, but too much of it can lead to isolation and reduce curiosity. Focus on your surroundings and expose yourself to a variety of stimuli. Read, listen to podcasts or music, and watch interesting documentaries.

  1. Detect and avoid loneliness

We all need solitude, but feeling lonely inhibits curiosity and can lead to depression. Spend time with friends or relatives. Join an interest group or be involved in your community. Take some time away from your computer and share ideas with people whose company you enjoy.

  1. Be inquisitive

Asking questions stimulates curiosity, which increases activity in brain regions responsible for learning. Practice looking beyond what is actually in front of you and ask questions.

  1. Embrace newness and uncertainty

Step out of your comfort zone. Pick up a magazine or newspaper and read articles on subjects that you wouldn’t normally read. Exposing yourself to a variety of topics will broaden your mind and motivate you to question new information.

Travel, go to new places, visit new sites and meet new people – near or far from home. Take a different road to work or try a new jogging or walking path. Be in a state of wonder as you experience and discover the unfamiliar. This will force you to observe more deeply, ask questions and connect with your new surroundings. Train your brain to benefit from newness and uncertainty.

  1. Grow from your mistakes and limitations

Mistakes, setbacks or limitations can cause anxiety and stifle curiosity. Look at mistakes as a human experience and learn to appreciate them as an opportunity for growth and maturation. Similarly, embrace setbacks over which you have no control and allow yourself to think creatively and find solutions that will give you a deeper perspective and an appreciation for change.

In the TED talk below, artist Phil Hansen explains how he embraced the shake and became more creative and successful within the confines of his limitation. A severe tremor in his hand discouraged him from creating Dot Art, better known as Pointillism. This led him to quit art school as well as his art. However, with the encouragement from his neurologist, Phil was able to embrace his limitation and transcend it into outstanding art.

Photo credit: Lisa Cyr
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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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