From Dr. Jane's Notebook


The Physics of Psychology


When I was in college, I enrolled in a course entitled "Physics for Skeptics." It was my hope that this would prove to be a course for beginners, and that I would learn about the effects of physical forces on our psychological experiences. Namely: What to do about gravity, energy, and maintaining one's sense of balance in life.

Kurt Vonnegut might have been the first to note that the force of gravity may vary on any given day. I certainly agree with this concept and on many occasions have noticed gravity being heavier than usual. This feeling is recognized by that, "I can't move my body today," feeling when nothing seems to be getting done.

I think it's true that we all need a day to shut down and rest a bit both mentally and physically or at least to shift gears and do different activities from our normal schedules. Personally, I think that every Saturday should be proclaimed a "mental health day", when serious thinking activities should be substituted for fun and family.

Secondly, there's this matter of Energy: Its use and conservation. In general, I'm in favor of channeling energy in highly desirable directions which have genuine value to the individual (everybody needs a hobby) and conserving energy by wearing light-weight clothing on days of heavy gravity.

And finally, there's the issue of Balance. To keep one's self in balanced functioning, it is important to include a bit of play in every work day. Vienna's world-renowned Psychoanalyst Alfred Adler noted that there were three areas of life that needed attention in order to stay in balance: Work, family, and social relationships (friendships and love).

We stay in balance by rotating between each of these areas of our lives and by keeping them all at a satisfactory or better status. When one area is in neglect it can throw off the entire system and leave us ripe for change and growth.

Physical features of the universe have profound effects on our psyches and so should be regarded with respect. As Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy, told us...trust the wisdom of the organism by listening to your mind and body's needs. We should take care of ourselves when we become aware of our needs and find a good way to satisfy them; lest they build up inside us and we begin to take on the characteristics of a volcano!

ęCopyright 1987, 1989, 1998 by Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All Rights Reserved.

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Last Updated October 24, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.