Posted in Education, emotional intelligence, Pain, Philosophy, Uncategorized

Pascal on Why Living in the Present Is So Difficult (Yet so Important) | Intellectual Takeout

Welcome to another edition of Friday’s Philosophical Foray beyond Healthcare!  In this Friday’s installment, we ponder Blaise Pascal’s explorations regarding the trappings of Time. 

…Pascal says that man has an intimation of perfect happiness deep in his soul but is unable to attain it.  Put another way, man longs for eternity but is stuck in time.  According to Christianity, this time-conditioned earthly existence is only a halfway house on our way to eternal life, when time will dissolve.  We are not naturally at home here on earth, and that is why the present “hurts.”

Although Pascal doesn’t spell out a solution to the dilemma, we can easily draw one.  Our happiness depends on maximizing those experiences which help us escape the “treadmill” of life and find a foretaste of the eternal Now. These include aesthetic experiences, being with family or friends, and the act of simply looking at and contemplating the world in all its richness.

Yet at the same time, the mundane practical aspects of life don’t shrink into nothing—far from it.

They become the arena of service and ethics, part of the drama of life where what we do matters for eternity.  Western civilization was built and sustained in part on these words of Jesus of Nazareth: “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself…Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

Pascal, as serious a Christian as they come, would no doubt have agreed that focusing our thoughts away from the self will allow us to banish anxiety and dwell securely in the present.

Source: Pascal on Why Living in the Present Is So Difficult (Yet so Important) | Intellectual Takeout

Posted in Disease Prevention, Education, emotional intelligence, Evidence-based Medicine, Good Stress, Nutrition, Prevention, Sleep, Stress, Uncategorized

How Distraction Is Rewiring Our Brains—and How Mindfulness Can Help

MindfulnessOur modern lifestyles provide nearly endless sources of distraction. Not surprisingly, recent research has shown that this constant input has a significant impact on our health. Read on to learn more about how distraction is literally rewiring our brains, and what you can do to protect yourself.

Studies have shown that increased use of a smartphone is associated with anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance in adolescents and adults (2, 3). Other studies have shown a relationship between problematic internet use and electronic gaming and psychological distress and problem behavior in youths (4).

In short, the greater the opportunities for distraction become, the greater the necessity for a practice that centers our attention in the present moment and counteracts the negative consequences of our increasingly fragmented attention.

Mindfulness is one such practice.

Source: How Distraction Is Rewiring Our Brains—and How Mindfulness Can Help