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Psychological distress is common and expected in people who have not only contracted COVID but also their families and not the least the treating health professionals too. There is not just Peritraumatic Stress but also Pretraumatic Stress (before infection), Posttraumatic Stress (after coming out) and Paratraumatic Stress (for those around). We are indeed in extraordinary times. Extraordinary problems call for extraordinary solutions. After reading this article and feeling despondent I was particularly impressed by an article by Lizzie Burns titled Transforming the everyday into something beautiful: How origami can help encourage self-care (BMJ Opinion December 21, 2020). It nicely highlights one way in which how our creative instincts could be cultivated to uplift our consciousness to become more self-conscious, self-compassionate and self-confident in sustaining and thriving during these challenging times. This article is encouraging and reassuring that healthcare is indeed as much an art as a science. It is time that more of us recognize this and create the much-needed mainstreaming of aesthetics into essential healthcare.
The COVID-19 crisis has had its impact on mental well-being and has stretched our physical psychological resources to their capacity. The challenges have been extraordinary. Agencies of all disciplines from molecular genetics to psychology are trying their best to come up with varying approaches to sustainable solutions to the pandemic proble...
The COVID-19 crisis has had its impact on mental well-being and has stretched our physical psychological resources to their capacity. The challenges have been extraordinary. Agencies of all disciplines from molecular genetics to psychology are trying their best to come up with varying approaches to sustainable solutions to the pandemic problem. Health care workers are more than ever facing new challenges every day. In this climate of confusion and caution creative contemplation like self-care through creative art should come as a welcome grace.
A challenge of this nature and during these tumultuous times places novel burdens on our cognitive, sensory-motor, emotional abilities. This could easily lead to maladaptive states fueling compromised immunity, inflammation and psychopathology.
Fortunately advances in modern neuroscience research provides us with a growing body of health outcome tools that allow improved self-awareness, self-regulation, prosocial behaviour and well-being through systematic mental training and physical culture along with lifestyle and nutritional care. This body of research come under the category of consciousness studies and contemplative neuroscience. This provides the scientific basis for interventions in the form of Mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Therapies and other psychophysical cultural training like Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Zen and other forms of meditation practices that are derived from Eastern contemplative practices. These practices are as much an art as they are therapeutic that allow flourishing through a culture of compassion and expand the consciousness towards an experience of self-actualization and beatitude.
When the author in her blog says that for Origami all you need is a piece of paper, it struck me that the most helpful tools are the simplest. It reminded me of Leonardo Da Vinci who was as much a scientist as he was an artist. His astonishing diagrams on paper where he uses every little space and turns the paper into a laboratory of thinking and feeling is quite remarkable. Neuroaesthetics is this emerging field of research combining neuropsychology with art or aesthetics through the study of neural and psychological correlates of aesthetic judgement and creativity which are highly evolved acquired human abilities that can be capitalized as a therapeutic tool for health and wellbeing.
Be it Origami the art of paper folding, Ikebana the art of flower arranging, the art of graceful movements like dance, yoga, tai chi, etc. music or meditation all seem to have contemplation and creativity at their core bringing harmony and balance in the mind and the body that is bound to have harmonizing and balancing effects on the psycho-neuro-endocrino-immunological systems creating the right climate for healing not only our individual but also our collective consciousness. It is indeed the coming of age of contemplative neuroaesthetics in healthcare.
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Burns, Lizzie: Transforming the everyday into something beautiful: How origami can help encourage self-care, BMJ Opinion December 21, 2020: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/12/21/transforming-the-everyday-into-some...
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