Living in Two Worlds

Mark R. Leary

in The Curse of the Self

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195172423
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786756 | DOI:
 Living in Two Worlds

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People split their time between living in the real world of everyday life and the mental world of self-thought that they create in their own minds. This chapter explores the nature of self-awareness, beginning with the question of “who is talking to whom” when people talk to themselves inside their own heads (self-talk). It then examines the negative consequences of living in one's own mind for social interactions, performance on mental and physical tasks, and decision-making. Topics covered include self-preoccupation, choking under pressure, insomnia, sexual problems, and interference with spontaneity, intuition, and flow. The chapter concludes with a discussion of meditation, which has been shown to quiet the self, reduce self-preoccupation, and help people to live more fully in the real world.

Keywords: self-awareness; self-talk; preoccupation; pressure; intuition; flow; meditation

Chapter.  11816 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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