Having Clear Intentions Can Boost Your Attention

Amit Sood, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic wants to help the general public benefit from recent esoteric advances in neuroscience.

Amit Sood is a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He is also an advocate of alternative behavioral therapies, like meditation, as a way to help the general public benefit from recent esoteric advances in neuroscience.


The core of Sood's approach has to do with helping patients create "intentionality," a state in which our minds are able to focus clearly on an important task. Much of our cognitive energy is wasted on flittering from thought to thought, says Sood, so focusing the mind can make us more productive, more resilient, less depressed, and physically healthier.

Rather than reduce brain states such as compassion and pain to complex neuro-chemical transactions, Sood recognizes the advances made by neuroscience and attempts to translate them into behavioral exercises he can recommend to his patients.

"For example, he might tell a patient to take on little tasks like, when they wake up in the morning—instead of ruminating on the day ahead or idling on their phone—thinking about five people in their lives for whom they're grateful."

Having grown up in India, Sood witnessed chronic problems caused by undernutrition. But when he came to the United States, he frequently observed suffering caused by abundance: great material wealth that often substituted for emotional wellbeing. 

In his Big Think interview, respected academic Tal Ben Shahar addressed the criticism often leveled against self-help. He defined what true self-help is and recommended some classics of the genre:

Misbehaving: being clever and wicked is a form of creativity

Creativity can bring about unchecked harm, but it's up to us how we wield it.Aeon counter – do not remove

Mind & Brain

Suppose you forgot it was your partner's birthday, but you know that they would appreciate the smallest of gestures, say a bouquet. It's late at night and no florists are open. The cemetery on your way home has recently had a funeral, and you walk across the site and pick up a good-looking bouquet of roses from someone's grave. You then head home, and the flowers are happily received by your partner.

Would you say that you hurt anyone?

Keep reading Show less

Study: Memories of music cannot be lost to Alzheimer's and dementia

The part of your brain responsible for ASMR catalogs music, and appears to be a stronghold against Alzheimer's and dementia.

The parts of the brain highlighted in red and yellow are thought to control your sense of attention and memory. (image c/o Brain Network Lab)
popular

Some music inspires you to move your feet, some inspires you to get out there and change the world. In any case, and to move hurriedly on to the point of this article, it's fair to say that music moves people in special ways. 

Keep reading Show less

In 1999, David Bowie knew the internet would change the world

Musican. Actor. Fashion Icon. Internet Visionary?

Technology & Innovation
  • David Bowie was well known as a rock star, but somehow his other interests and accomplishments remain obscure.
  • In this 1999 interview, he explains why he knows the internet is more than just a tool and why it was destined to change the world.
  • He launched his own internet service provider in 1998, BowieNet. It ceased operations in 2006.
Keep reading Show less