It seemed to be an excellent day for a productive work. No deadlines, no meetings. Just a sunny afternoon on a bench in a park, my notebook and me, full of ambition to write an article.
The theme was chosen, the plan was made.
Wrote the first line, began the second… no, it's something extremely untrue for me. Ok, let's start all over again.
Wrote the first line. Read it. What the hell, why do these words sound as if I was playing that game, when you get a list of words and your sole goal is to make up a story. And the more bizarre the story comes out, the better your performance is.
So I've decided to seek some inspiration in the buzz of friday-is-still-a-workday people. Fifteen minutes were enough to understand that my project wasn't going to move that way.
"Shit, why am I feeling so empty? I can't find anything to share," — I thought. My stomach started feeling even emptier, and I realized I hadn't eaten anything since the morning.
I absolutely adore the way my mind works, because so often it succeeds to put the pieces of a beautiful puzzle together. Especially, at those moments, when I'm feeling desperately lost in the psychedelic hurricane of these vivid elements.
And that's exactly what happened in the middle of this double emptiness. The theory of embodied cognition came to my mind and gently enveloped my frustration.
But first, what is embodied cognition?
The main idea of the theory is that the way we understand the world is deeply rooted in our bodily sensations. For example, the notion of physical warmth is interconnected with the perception of "personal warmth". And of course, that's a science-based conclusion. Many interesting experiments were conducted in the field. Returning to the example with psychological and physical warmth, the results of one rather intriguing study suggest that our social life is shaped by embodied cognition as well. The experiment design was the following: at first, researcher and subject were going up to the laboratory on the lift; while standing there, the researcher dropped a pile of paper on the floar and asked his fellow traveler to hold a cup of coffee for a second, so that the experimenter could pick up the paper. Then, in the laboratory, the subject was given an ambiguous description of another person and was asked to attribute some characteristics to her.
However, the real magic happened before the beginning of the "experiment" — in the lift. The thing is, there were two groups, for which conditions were exactly the same except one little, but so freaking significant point: in one case, the cup was cold and in the other warm. And this happened to be a game-changer. Warm cup holders described the person as friendlier, more open and hospitable. All these terms are associated in our everyday thinking with warmth. And the cool cup holders tended to give such characteristics as distant, unfriendly, arrogant… Cold, in other words.
And the range of the embodied cognition examples goes on and on. Seems like it implicitly shapes our coordinate system, in which we interact with the world.
So, why I even started talking about embodied cognition at the first place?
Because now I'm writing this text while sitting in a cafe. Won't go into deeper details in terms of what has been happening over the period between me on the bench and me here, but the teaser is that my stomach doesn't feel empty anymore. Neither do I mentally.
We do not usually get a chance to directly change our psychological experience of the moment. The system is just too complicated. But it turns out there are subtle bypasses. The one which is always present is your body. Being mindful of your physical sensations gives you an opportunity to unfold a beautiful creative space, where you can actually adjust certain aspects of the mentality simply by caring more about your body.
What do I feel at the moment? Ask yourself this question right now.
Is there any stiffness in my shoulders? Am I hungry or sleepy?
Discover what these sensations tell about you as a whole.
After all, it is such an extraordinary exploration of the ordinary things.
Be gentle to your body,