Most people will tell you they have a healthy mind and use common sense to make decisions, but is this true? See if you have a healthy skeptical mindset or one skewed by irrational beliefs.
“A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient…” — Steven Novella
Mr. Novella’s definition is an excellent way to define someone with common sense and a healthy mind. Learn how you can develop this skill set no matter what you believe.
Healthy Mindset Tips
Almost everyone you talk to would agree with the above statement about a skeptic. Even those involved in religion would agree, that is, as long as they can qualify what they think is reliable evidence. It’s why learning to question things is also prudent.
A healthy skeptical outlook differs from being a cynic. A cynic is someone with a cynical or pessimistic attitude concerning everything. Being skeptical is not an attitude. It is the philosophy of questioning things. On the other hand, a skeptical mindset strives to be open-minded and validate the evidence. Here is the best way to gain and maintain this perspective:
1) Eliminate Negative Programming
When you are immersed in and under the control of propaganda, it isn’t easy to see it. Organized religion is one common source for harmful programming which installs negative bias and prejudice.
You are subject to its programming if you are involved in one of the three most popular Abrahamic religions. It uses group and self-hypnosis techniques to make you think and believe outrageous things.
Eliminate or at least reduce your exposure to groupthink manipulation tactics. It’s mind-control propaganda that you will find on religious and political TV, radio, and social media. It is the first of the healthy mindset tips. It is often the most challenging to implement. The reason they are so hard to eliminate is they are habit-forming.
For help with this process, see how you can use the habitual mind to create positive behaviors. There are eight specific tactics you can employ to make these changes. Some people find it easier to reduce rather than eliminate. But, propaganda in any dosage is harmful.
2) Practice Self-Care
Self-care is one of the healthy mindset tips we know we need but fail to “do it regularly” because we lead busy lives. So, the answer is to prioritize and schedule it. Make it a routine, and you’ll reap the health benefits.
It is stressful to change your routine and eliminate harmful things. So, adding positive self-care elements will help fill the space and reduce stress. It is a beneficial strategy when going through a significant life change like moving, changing jobs, and losing a loved one.
3) Learn to Research
Use the scientific method to determine fact from fiction. Enhance your critical thinking skills. We recommend three tools, Logic and Rational Thinking Skills, 10 Common Logical Fallacies, and The Spiritual Axioms. These mental tools will help you avoid many common pitfalls of a culture immersed in religious dogma and commercialism.
It’s essential that you use reliable, unbiased sources for research. So, first, find sources outside the paradigm you are targeting for your investigation. Sources that support the paradigm tend to be biased.
4) Strive to be a Freethinker
Our list of healthy mindset tips would not be complete without this one. It’s about applying what you’ve learned to make the world a better place for everyone. Most people know the right things to do but don’t put them into motion. The most successful people make lists and goals and then schedule what’s important. It’s a simple but effective way to get things done that have a positive effect on the big picture.
A Skeptical Mindset And the Scientific Method
“A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of evidence and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion.” — Steven Novella
It’s a friendly way of saying that all hypotheses and claims need to stand up to rigorous scientific processes and verifiable evidence. However, one should be on guard. Learn to spot the inconsistencies. The true meaning of skepticism has nothing to do with doubt, disbelief, or negativity.
Skepticism is applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity. It’s the process of using valid data to formulate a conclusion, not looking for things to support an opinion. It’s the basis of the scientific method.
What Exactly is the Scientific Method?
A scientific approach or method uses a logical process to derive the best answers. This process uses evidence on which to base conclusions. It involves six steps:
- Ask a question and propose a theory about something
- Research and gather data about your proposition
- Develop a hypotheses
- Design experiments to test your hypotheses
- Analyze the results of the experiments
- Propose a theory to explain the results and then ask more questions
These six steps often lead to more questions and possible theories. Sometimes this research cycle confirms the original theory, and sometimes it does not. Maintaining a healthy skeptical mindset is essential to the accuracy of the research.
A good researcher needs to develop a range of skills for accurate results such as research and data techniques, the ability to document and classify data, data analysis skills. An open-minded skeptic is a Freethinker guided by logic. It’s one of the main characteristics of an overall healthy mindset.
The Different Shades of Skepticism
Scientific skepticism and rational skepticism are the same things. They both apply skeptical inquiry or methodological skepticism. Methodological skepticism is nothing more than using a systematic process to reach conclusions. Subsequently, testing, being uncertain about or doubting findings and conclusions. It’s the same formula for all forms of science-based skepticism.
Paul Kurtz describes the New Skepticism as “scientific skepticism.” Science is the basis for the mindset of the spiritual explorer. It prompts us to question everything, including society’s social and economic structures.
Philosophical skepticism deals with our ability to claim knowledge about the world’s nature and how we perceive it. Philosophical skepticism stretches science to the limit and then, using inductive reasoning, proposes possibilities about what the evidence could mean. It is a form of skepticism that uses intuition. Albert Einstein is one of the pioneers of this kind of thinking that uses intuitive thought to develop hypotheses that stretch our understanding of reality.
Religious skepticism is a narrow bandwidth of criticism that treats one specific religion as correct while questioning the authority of other points of view.
They apply their skepticism to sources that threaten their mythology and superstition. They treat anything that contradicts their paradigm as unreliable. Thus, anything that points out the errors, contradictions, or fallacies of their texts or teachers is an unreliable source. It also applies to sources of any otherwise scientific sources or processes.
“Briefly stated, a skeptic is one who is willing to question any claim to truth, asking for clarity in definition, consistency in logic, and adequacy of evidence. The use of skepticism is thus an essential part of objective scientific inquiry and the search for reliable knowledge.” — Paul Kurtz
Many people see religious skepticism as a form of “apologetics.” It’s a strategy for explaining away the inconsistencies of Abrahamic religious doctrines. It presents skewed and misleading data to substantiate claims.
Developing a Health Skeptical Mindset
Above all, this discussion should make you think about how religion has integrated itself into the fabric of your life. If you aren’t ready to become a methodological skeptic, learn to question the cultural narrative. It should make you think about all the other ways religion has integrated itself into the fabric of our modern lives.
Thankfully, you don’t have to believe in religion to engage in spiritual exploration. It’s very different from religion. It’s the opposite. Developing a skeptical mindset is a result of enhancing your critical thinking skills.
Learn to approach each subject with an open mind, a beginner’s attitude, and healthy skepticism. It’s just one component we recommend you include in your spiritual toolbox. The more tools you have, the better equipped you are to handle the challenges of this journey.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
A skeptical mindset helps you see through the brainwashing techniques of any system. You can use the scientific approach in all facets of life. These healthy mindset tips are essential tools for the modern world.
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