Using the Power of Questions to Improve Mental Wellness
Curiosity in the Context of Mental Wellness
A Merriam Webster definition of curiosity is: interest leading to inquiry.
Definitions of inquiry are: 1) a request for information, 2) a systematic investigation often of a matter of public interest, 3) examination into facts or principles.
To put these two together, and put this in the context of mental wellness: Curiosity can be interest, investigation, and examination of thoughts, feelings, values, and behaviors that make up the lives we lead. It’s an interest and examination of what makes up ourselves and our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Asking Generative Questions
When we ask questions, our brains automatically start looking for answers, so we need to be careful about the language of the questions we ask ourselves. When we are continually asking, “What’s wrong with me?” or “Why me?” our brain will seek out answers to those questions. We can reframe our questions to find better answers. Instead of “What’s wrong with me?” try “What can I do differently?” Instead of focusing so much on the “problems” of life, begin to use curiosity to seek opportunities. Focus on generative questions that lead our mind on a path to seek positive answers.
How can I be more open to accept new information?
How can I move beyond my fear and discomfort of the unknown to create new behaviors?
What is one thing I can do today to become more emotionally and mentally aware?
What action can I take today to create more space in my mind for new information?
How can I improve this situation?
What is the next action for improving my wellness?
Remaining Open to Guidance
We don’t always need to know the answers to our questions. It’s important to stay open to receive answers or direction when you find them. A lot of time the answer will come to us, but we reject it or won’t consider it because our focus is too narrow. That is okay, the answer often finds us again when we are ready to receive it. Many times asking questions will lead us down a path of more questions, which will guide us to the true answer we may be looking for.
Curiosity opens us up for new ideas, feelings, and behaviors and helps to get us out of cycles. Use curiosity to journal. Try journaling with the intention of answering a question such as “What is an action I can take today to feel good?” or “What can I do to find more peace?” Anything that has been circling in your head, turn it into a generative question, even as simple as “What do I need to know about this?” and write it out.
Curiosity is a practice and can be used as a method for discovery over and over again. If you can’t find a question to ask, again use curiosity and generative questions asking “What question do I need to be asking?” or “How am I feeling about this and what may that mean?” Continue down the layers with curiosity, if you find yourself getting frustrated because you can’t find an answer or the answer coming up is not the one you want, consider asking, “What is causing me to be frustrated about this?” or “What can I do differently to avoid this frustration?” Keep asking positively framed and generative questions starting with What can I and How can I and eventually the answers you are seeking will find you.