The Mind, Heart and Body… and Wicked Problems?

Have you ever thought about the different ways one comes to understand a wicked problem? I really haven’t either until recently. A goal of the course I was in, wicked problems, taught me to take a compassionate and curious approach to understanding wicked problems in our world. This includes intellectually, with the mind, emotionally, with the heart, and somatically, with the body. All of these things control our understanding of a certain topic and in this case, are the reason I feel the way I do about wicked problems in our world today. Let’s go back to the beginning of this course shall we? First off, how about we refresh on what a wicked problem actually is. 

  1. Wicked problems do not have a definitive formulation
  2. They don’t have a stopping point. In other words, these specific problems lack an inherent logic that signals when they are solved.
  3. Their solutions are not true or false, only good or bad.
  4. There is no way to test the solution to a wicked problem.
  5. They cannot be studied through trial and error. Their solutions are not reversible so basically, every attempt and trial counts.
  6. All wicked problems are essentially unique.
  7. Wicked problems can always be described as the symptoms of other problems.

Continuing on with what I was previously talking about, an important characteristic of approach to a wicked problem includes mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness and being aware of what is going on can help in the overall understanding of these problems. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. This is a really good thing to form into a habit! Mindfulness practices can help us to increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help us to focus our attention, as well as to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment. All this mindfulness can help us to become better aware of surroundings and what wicked problems are doing to our world. I believe that being more mindful can inspire us all to want to do good and be better humans. 

Now, let’s talk about what our emotions and our hearts have to do with wicked problems. The emotional aspect of this helps us to effectively consider consequences with problems that have on our environment, cultures, and our overall earth. Becoming more in touch with emotions can help us to understand the importance of prioritizing our world and helping in any way shape or form that we can. I always try to be compassionate and understand all sides of the issue with openness and understanding. In addition, I always want to be in touch with my empathetic side and pursue all my actions with not only my brain in my mind, but my heart and my emotions as well.

Now, I want to talk about the last aspect of understanding wicked problems. This is somatically, or with the body. This aspect isn’t completely clear to me, however, I definitely try to understand it in relation to the others. I believe that the mind definitely goes hand-in-hand with the body. Taking on the understanding of wicked problems can take a big toll on the body. This can cause a lot of stress and internal issues with the body. Many of the things that go on inside the mind have a direct effect on the body. For example, if I get super stressed or anxious, I don’t eat very healthy. See what I mean? It’s a silly example but it clearly shows that what we feed our mind affects our bodies.

When I first learned that I had to take the wicked problems course, I was a little confused as to what I would be learning. I looked at the content and wasn’t sure if I was going to understand what would be taught. Now that I’ve completed it, I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that I had to take the course. It taught me a lot about what is going on in our world and all the terrible things that are happening to our planet that really have no end. At first it made me really upset because I obviously want to help the planet in any way that I can. However, this class helped me get an understanding of little things I can do to help and certain things that might be good to form as a habit. For example, In order to survive, we must come up with more sustainable ways for industrialization and decrease pollution from factories. People need to understand how to recycle properly and dispose of waste correctly as well. If harmful items get into the environment, it harms creatures and the overall environment. It would help to create a solution to increase resources that are more sustainable rather than have them be hard to reach, not possible to use, and not known by the public.

Another important thing that I learned in this course is the impact of meditation. Meditation reduces anxiety, chronic pain, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure. It promotes emotional well-being and enhances self awareness. When we first started doing meditation in class, I thought it was not going to be beneficial for me. However, since I do suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and depression, I was very wrong. Meditation and mindfulness induce a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. Various studies demonstrate the practice can help reduce and relieve stress as well as manage anxiety and many other things. Also, meditation helps increase your focus and attention and improve your ability to multitask. Meditation helps clear our minds and focus on the present moment which gives you a huge productivity boost. All of this is fantastic! If you don’t do it already, you definitely should consider it. 10 minutes a day. That’s all it takes.

Finally, the last thing I’m going to talk about is what I plan to do in the future to help the world. My major and future career plan is interior design. There are many things I plan to do with my design spaces to be overall more environmentally friendly. I plan to maximize efficient use of space, use energy wise construction design materials, use materials produced in a socially responsible manner, reduce waste by using reclaimed recycled materials, plan for energy such as efficient lighting, use non toxic and nonpolluting products, and more. I plan on doing this because sustainability is crucial to conserving natural resources and living a more fruitful life. Sustainability improves the overall quality of all of our lives, protects our ecosystem, and preserves natural resources for future generations. We need to develop the ability to exist without depleting natural resources. All of this can help to create a more harmonious environment and improve the planet. 

Overall, I am glad I got to take the wicked problems course because it allowed me to grow in more ways than one. I hope to further my understanding on how to incorporate intellectual, emotional and somatic components into my everyday life to develop effective solutions to any problem that might come my way! Make sure to consider what you all can do to help our environment. 

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