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Mood Disorders Are Linked To Higher Intelligence, Science Says

Mood Disorders Are Linked To Higher Intelligence, Science Says

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.”- Aristotle

Today, doctors are ready to prescribe pharmaceuticals at the first signs of a mood disorder in order to control any unpredictable behavior. But, are they potentially stifling genius thought processes? As it turns out, many mood disorders have been positively linked to higher levels of intelligence and creativity.

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Since ancient times, people have associated “madness” with creative genius, believing the gods had blessed these individuals. These beliefs have carried on to the modern times, leading to the understanding of the infamous phenomenon of artistic temperament or the tortured artist characterization. Recently, researchers have discovered why this happens.

Writers and Mood Disorders

In the late 1980’s, researchers compared a sample group of writers to a control group of non-writers in order to identify the presence of mental disorders. Their findings concluded that the majority of writers did, indeed, have higher rates of mood disorders. In fact, 80% of the sample group had a mood disorder with a tendency toward bipolar disorder. The study was replicated with some different criterion and included a wider range of writers who had won awards. The researchers did not diagnose them, but rather asked if the subjects had received treatment for mental disorders. In this study, 38% of the participants had received treatment, and 63% of those were playwrights.

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Types of Mood Disorders

As previously mentioned, the link between creative intelligence and mood disorders has long been established. But, what exactly are the common mood disorders found in intelligent people? Some of the most influential artists of all time were inflicted with bipolar disorder, mania, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder seems to be the most common of the mood disorders in highly intelligent and creative people. For example, in one study, it has been shown to be four times more likely in young adults who earned straight A’s in school. This finding was particularly true for high achievers in language, music, and math classes. Another study found that people with a genetic likelihood of developing bipolar disorder were also likely to express higher creative intelligence. This was shown to be true in literature and leadership roles. This mood disorder leads to periods of depression followed by periods of mania, characterized by extreme happiness, ambition, and creativity.

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The Burden of High Intelligence

Not only does a high IQ come with the propensity for mood disorders, but also risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use. This is because drug and alcohol consumption is a relatively new occurrence on the human evolutionary timeline making it an evolutionarily novel concept. Children who were considered the brightest in their classroom are more likely to grow up and experiment with drugs and alcohol as several studies have suggested.

Brain Power, Social Interaction, and Autism

Medical researchers suggest that the human brain controls several different areas of survival. One of these, social interaction, takes up a large part of the brain’s functionality. This area of the brain helps with the development of cooperation, empathy, and altruism. When this brain function is non-existent or underdeveloped, a large quantity of cerebral activity is liberated for other uses.

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In the right person, this extra brain power can be channeled into creative energy. These individuals may go on to create moving pieces of art, explanations of previously misunderstood world processes, or even refining mathematical research. Lacking the social interactive part of brain functionality and replacing it with creative intelligence may be related to diagnoses of autism.

Brain Activity and Creative Intelligence

Other researchers have explained that when a person comes out of depression or other mood disorder episodes, the activity in the brain changes. In the lower part of the frontal lobe, brain activity decreases and shifts to the upper part of the lobe. This same brain activity is noted when people are experiencing creativity. Additionally, people with mood disorders do not have the same processing filters for outside stimuli as people without these disorders. These people are able to process contradictory ideas at the same time thereby identifying associations among previously unassociated ideas. This thought process can be overwhelming for individuals, but this also results in creative productivity.

Whether it is the mood disorder that leads to higher intelligence or the higher intelligence that leads to mood disorders, continues to be a point of contention for many researchers. One thing is certain, the two are most certainly connected.

Featured photo credit: www.picjumbo.com via picjumbo.com

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Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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