East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

How I became a test subject


braininjarAnd so I became a guinea pig.
Unsurprising, some of you might say.
Ok, ok.
It went like this…

I already mentioned, ad nauseam, that I love MOOCs and online learning – to me, taking part in a MOOC is a great way to do research at university level, to tickle my curiosity1, and to spend my free time here in the desert hills of Astigianistan.
This autumn, I’ve enrolled in a MOOC, hosted by FutureLearn, about mindfulness.

mindfulFor the uninitiated, mindfulness is a set of practices geared towards improving mental health, reduce stress and improve the quality of life.
Based on solid scientific research, mindfulness is nonetheless connected with meditation and other self-awareness techniques from Eastern traditions.

The Monash University online course Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance started this week, and the participants are not simply students.
We are also part of an experimentation.
The students will practice various mindfulness techniques for six weeks, and will report on the effects of the practice on their daily routine.

Apart from my general interest in meditation and Oriental philosophies, I am interested in the intersection between mindfulness and creativity.
Take some notes for a Mindfulness for Writers project of my own, if you will.
According to the first lesson in the course, for instance, mindfulness is an excellent practice to reduce procrastination.
Now this is interesting, isn’t it?

I’ll keep you posted.

  1. back in school the teachers used to complain I had “too many interests” – indeed, my university colleagues that focused for years only on their small field of application had more successful careers than I… but at fifty they are brain-dead (or they ran away with the research funds and a stripper). 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “How I became a test subject

  1. Oh… “An excellent practice to reduce procrastination”? I think I’ll be very interested in your Mindfulness for Writers project… Even though I know myself. So far I’ve proved very good in procrastinating at antiprocrastinating techniques.


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