Micro-Dosing Psychedelics Appears to Boost Creativity Says Study
The benefits of micro-dosing psychedelics, such as psilocybin, might have found validity in a recent FDA-approved study conducted by the London-based, Compass Pathways. After administering small doses of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” subjects were given tests to analyze creative thought and normal cognitive function.
The study found that the micro-dose improved creativity and had no negative effect on day-to-day cognitive function, including rational thinking, problem-solving, and abstract-reasoning.
The subjects were given an average .37 grams of dried mushrooms three days a week, followed by cognitive tests 90 minutes after consumption. As reported by Scientific American, one psychologist involved in the study, Dr. Bernhard Hommel of the Netherlands’ Leiden University said, “performance was significantly higher,” on tests of convergent and divergent thinking –two measures of analytical and creative thinking.
The study was conducted after a trend of anecdotal evidence from Silicon Valley execs and creatives who have used psilocybin and LSD in diminutive doses on a regular basis to boost creative thought, supplant caffeine, and generally increase mental performance.
Studies by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris at London’s Imperial College have made leaps and bounds studying the benefits psychedelics can provide sufferers of depression and drug addiction, while also breaking down antiquated taboos from the drugs’ history.
One of the recent discoveries of Carhart-Harris and the team involved psychedelics’ effect on the Default Mode Network (DMN), a series of brain regions connected with ego, thought, and emotion. The DMN is the daydreaming “default” mode our brains go into when they have nothing to focus on. The study found that when psychedelics were administered, the DMN quieted down, supporting the feeling of “ego-dissolution” often reported by psychedelic users.
They also noticed that the default mode network plays a role in the strict connections our brains make that reinforce behavior and thought; essentially what hampers creativity. But when psychedelics were introduced, the brain opened up it’s thinking to drastically more possibilities, leading to greater creativity but also temporary false conclusions about what it was seeing – the mechanism behind hallucinations.
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But now it seems that with micro-doses, those myriad possibilities in the thought process may be accessed without the trip, sans hallucinations. Our brains form rigid connections as we get older, creating ‘shortcuts’ in order to easily comprehend and react with everything life throws our way. But at the same time, those connections inhibit creative thought, keeping us set in our ways. But what Carhart-Harris et al. hypothesized is that psychedelics break down those connections and open up new ones, allowing creative “out-of-the-box” thinking. And that’s what this study focused on; instead of one intense, paradigm-shattering trip, could a regiment of imperceptible daily doses do the same?
Psilocybin targets 5-HT receptors in the brain which are responsible for regulating serotonin. These receptors are known to influence reflective thought, introspection, and imagination. They are also the target of migraine and cluster headache medications, which some sufferers have found can be replaced with a more effective dose of psilocybin. In addition to serotonin, psilocybin also increases the concentration of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is thought to mediate desire and motivation.
Of course, this was a single trial in which the placebo effect could have played a role, warranting more placebo-controlled iterations of the study. It was also posted as a preprint, meaning it has yet to be put through the rigors of peer-review. But if their findings and method were valid, it seems that psychedelics could give that creative boost many seek.
82 Ways To Achieve a Higher State of Consciousness
George Gurdjieff was an influential early 20th-century mystic, philosopher, and spiritual teacher. He observed that most humans live their lives in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep. To combat this, Gurdjieff developed a method to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. These are his “commandments,” simple ways you can progress on your journey towards waking up:
1. Ground your attention on yourself. Be conscious at every moment of what you are thinking, sensing, feeling, desiring, and doing.
2. Always finish what you have begun.
3. Whatever you are doing, do it as well as possible.
4. Do not become attached to anything that can destroy you in the course of time.
5. Develop your generosity – but secretly.
6. Treat everyone as if he or she was a close relative.
7. Organize what you have disorganized.
8. Learn to receive and give thanks for every gift.
9. Stop defining yourself.
10. Do not lie or steal, for you lie to yourself and steal from yourself.
11. Help your neighbor, but do not make him dependent.
12. Do not encourage others to imitate you.
13. Make work plans and accomplish them.
14. Do not take up too much space.
15. Make no useless movements or sounds.
16. If you lack faith, pretend to have it.
17. Do not allow yourself to be impressed by strong personalities.
18. Do not regard anyone or anything as your possession.
19. Share fairly.
20. Do not seduce.
21. Sleep and eat only as much as necessary.
22. Do not speak of your personal problems.
23. Do not express judgement or criticism when you are ignorant of most of the factors involved.
24. Do not establish useless friendships.
25. Do not follow fashions.
26. Do not sell yourself.
27. Respect contracts you have signed.
28. Be on time.
29. Never envy the luck or success of anyone.
30. Say no more than necessary.
31. Do not think of the profits your work will engender.
32. Never threaten anyone.
33. Keep your promises.
34. In any discussion, put yourself in the other person’s place.
35. Admit that someone else may be superior to you.
36. Do not eliminate, but transmute.
37. Conquer your fears, for each of them represents a camouflaged desire.
38. Help others to help themselves.
39. Conquer your aversions and come closer to those who inspire rejection in you.
40. Do not react to what others say about you, whether praise or blame.
41. Transform your pride into dignity.
42. Transform your anger into creativity.
43. Transform your greed into respect for beauty.
44. Transform your envy into admiration for the values of the other.
45. Transform your hate into charity.
46. Neither praise nor insult yourself.
47. Regard what does not belong to you as if it did belong to you.
48. Do not complain.
49. Develop your imagination.
50. Never give orders to gain the satisfaction of being obeyed.
51. Pay for services performed for you.
52. Do not proselytize your work or ideas.
53. Do not try to make others feel for you emotions such as pity, admiration, sympathy, or complicity.
54. Do not try to distinguish yourself by your appearance.
55. Never contradict; instead, be silent.
56. Do not contract debts; acquire and pay immediately.
57. If you offend someone, ask his or her pardon; if you have offended a person publicly, apologize publicly.
58. When you realize you have said something that is mistaken, do not persist in error through pride; instead, immediately retract it.
59. Never defend your old ideas simply because you are the one who expressed them.
60. Do not keep useless objects.
61. Do not adorn yourself with exotic ideas.
62. Do not have your photograph taken with famous people.
63. Justify yourself to no one, and keep your own counsel.
64. Never define yourself by what you possess.
65. Never speak of yourself without considering that you might change.
66. Accept that nothing belongs to you.
67. When someone asks your opinion about something or someone, speak only of his or her qualities.
68. When you become ill, regard your illness as your teacher, not as something to be hated.
69. Look directly, and do not hide yourself.
70. Do not forget your dead, but accord them a limited place and do not allow them to invade your life.
71. Wherever you live, always find a space that you devote to the sacred.
72. When you perform a service, make your effort inconspicuous.
73. If you decide to work to help others, do it with pleasure.
74. If you are hesitating between doing and not doing, take the risk of doing.
75. Do not try to be everything to your spouse; accept that there are things that you cannot give him or her but which others can.
76. When someone is speaking to an interested audience, do not contradict that person and steal his or her audience.
77. Live on money you have earned.
78. Never brag about amorous adventures.
79. Never glorify your weaknesses.
80. Never visit someone only to pass the time.
81. Obtain things in order to share them.
82. If you are meditating and a devil appears, make the devil meditate too.