Are you a creative thinker?

Are you a creative thinker?

Creative thinking is the cognitive process of creating something new.. Creative thinking is the cognitive process of creating something new. We live in a world where every idea is tried and tested. Novelty is no longer something new. Standing out and being different are the best bets for survival. At such a time, being able to think creatively gives one an edge like no other.

Creativity is not art, alone

We often associate creativity exclusively with art. However, it is not just restricted to artists. It could be an idea that seems to appear spontaneously. This sudden appearance of new ideas is called insight.
Artists use creative thinking to develop visual or audio pieces which express and evoke emotions. But others use it constantly, generally to solve problems.
Creative ideas appear to have occurred spontaneously but there is a long subconscious process that occurs in its preparation.
This includes –
  1. Preparation – Understanding the problem
  2. Incubation – Dwelling on the solution
  3. Illumination – Spontaneous idea
  4. Evaluation – Testing the idea
  5. Revision
Thinking can also be convergent or divergent. Convergent thinking is problem focused, whereas divergent thinking is free with where the mind ends wild with multiple thoughts. A creative thinker skilfully amalgamate the two to achieve a specific but out of the box idea.
Other attributes of a creative thinker include a strong sense of motivation, flexibility, impulsivity, independence and the desire to be original.
You may not be an artist, but ask yourself again… Are you a creative thinker?


Calm Down!

Calm Down!

When was the last time someone asked you to calm down and you actually did? Never, would be my guess. If asking someone to calm down was enough to calm them down, half of us mental health workers would be out of work!
No human mind is devoid of thoughts. At any point. Ever. Sometimes, thoughts and ideas are deliberate, where you’re consciously thinking about something. You could be looking for a solution to a problem, you could be thinking about creating something new or you could just be thinking about things in general. But more often than not, thoughts are automatic. They run through your mind like a continuously flowing stream.

They come and go if you let them. They stay if you hold on to them or try to resist them.

Sometimes, especially if you’re anxious, restless or depressed, there will be multiple thoughts circling in your mind. Almost like a whirlpool of thoughts! This leads to extreme distress, confusion, more anxiety. It also makes it almost impossible to decide anything, create something new, prioritise, find solutions or even manage time. It can feel like your mind is being attacked by a bombardment of thoughts. What do you do when that happens?

Some things to calm your mind

Irrespective of whether you are on psychotropic medications or not, these are some of the things you could do to calm your mind when your thoughts are going out of control.
  1. Declutter and clean, anything, any space. Throw out what you don’t need.
  2. Garden. Prune those shrubs, pull out the weeds, water the flowers.
  3. Stand under a cold shower for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Cook. Make something comforting that smells great!
  5. Play with your pet. If you don’t have a pet. Get a friend who has one.
  6. Go for a swim.
  7.  Go for a run / go for a trek.
  8. Play a game that needs your complete attention.
  9. Learn something new.
  10. Look around, someone probably needs your help with something. Lend a helping hand.
  11. Dance, even if you don’t know how to
  12. Put on your earphones and sing as loud as you want!
  13. Practice yoga
  14. Practice yoga
  15. Practice yoga (yes, thrice. Because this one is the most important if you truly want to find your peace)
Most importantly, make decisions only after you’re feeling calmer. Clarity paves the road to better choices.


Why you won’t get addicted to your depression and anxiety medication..

Some drugs are good

I won’t beat around the bush, I’ll get straight to the point. Every time I diagnose a patient with clinical anxiety or depression, I recommend medication as the first step of treatment after which I ask them if they have any questions regarding the medication. Invariably, I get asked if they will get ‘addicted’ to the medication.
Let us first understand what addiction is.

Addiction, or as we clinically like to call it, disorders of substance abuse is characterised by a number of behavioural, physical and thought disorders along with changes in the brain circuits and neurochemistry which occur on taking specific substances.

A specific neurochemical called dopamine is present in many areas of the brain. The release of dopamine in the midbrain is responsible for that feeling of happy high. Under normal circumstances, during any pleasurable activity, dopamine is released in pulses leading to a sense of joy and bliss.

Substances of abuse, release of large amounts of dopamine at a time giving a sense of high and then a sudden drop.

This extreme high followed by the extreme low is what leads to a craving for more drug. Also, with time, the receptors of dopamine become desensitised to the large amount of dopamine, no longer giving the same sense of high. So the amount of drug required to produce the same high goes on increasing.
Behaviourally, this is seen as-

  1. Craving for more and more drug.
  2. A progressive increase in the amount of drug consumed to produce the same effect.
  3. Physical / psychological withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not consumed.
  4. Denial that there is a drug problem.
  5. Unsuccessful attempts to cut down the drug use.
  6. A large amount of time is spent on obtaining the drug.
  7. Problems at work, in social relationships and overall functioning as a result of the drug.
  8. Continued use of the drug in spite of these problems.

As against this, symptoms of depression and anxiety are generally related to a deficiency in another neurochemical, serotonin, in certain areas of the brain. Drugs of abuse do not correct dopamine deficiency but instead release large amounts of it in a way that is not required.

But imbalance in serotonin produces symptoms like anxiety, panic, persistent sadness, loss of interests, changes in sleep, changes in appetite, negative ideas, suicidal thoughts, to name a few.

Antidepressant and anxiolytic medications act by producing and normalising serotonin in the brain so that the brain gets the amount it needs to function normally.

So, to answer the question, no, you won’t get ‘addicted’ to your medication.