Controlling Mental Chaos: Harnessing the Power of the Creative Mind

Rowman & Littlefield. Jul. 2023. 236p. ISBN 9781538179802. $30. SELF-HELP
This book promises to provide solutions for calming the “monkey mind”—where one’s anxious thoughts race endlessly. The book is divided into two parts. The first section examines the blissful, creative mind of one’s early childhood and then details how the anxious, “uncontrolled mind” gradually takes over. The second section details the four stages that Pineda says can harness the monkey mind and bring one back to one’s original, creative core. Pineda (cognitive science, Univ. of California, San Diego; The Social Impulse: The Evolution and Neuroscience of What Brings Us Together) writes in a dry, scholarly tone that, despite personal examples and key takeaways at the end of each chapter, make the work firmly academic. Indeed, much of the advice is standard self-help fare, covered in an academic manner: embrace mindfulness, slow down thoughts by engaging with nature, and be aware of one’s thoughts and emotions.
VERDICT Possibly of interest for readers with a scientific background who want to explore the cognitive theories behind anxiety, but those wishing to read a general self-help work should look elsewhere.
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