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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Why a Strong Sense of Self Brings Good Mental Health

July 15, 2012, 9:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

In a study of 508 Dutch adolescents, researchers have found that building and clarifying one's personal identity is an important phase in feeling fulfilled as an adult and retaining good mental health. Measurements were taken of two principle metrics: personal identity, defined as "the degree to which one has developed a clear, internally consistent bundle of goals, values, and beliefs," and self-concept clarity, or "individuals’ tendency to feel sure of themselves and describe themselves in positive, consistent terms." The team of researchers found a positive correlation between personal identity and self-concept clarity. 

What's the Big Idea?

Among the adolescents, a strong personal commitment to a specific course of action seemed to reinforce a sense of clarity about who a person thought he or she was. That sense of clarity created positive feedback, allowing them to stay committed to their ideals more easily. The study concludes that "striking the right balance between making commitments and reconsidering commitments may be key for adolescent identity development." The research recognizes that some reconsideration of commitments is necessary for healthy development, but that daily struggles to develop a sense of identity may have negative outcomes. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Why a Strong Sense of Self ...

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