What does it mean to “abstract” and 7 techniques on how to learn it

Hello, dear readers! Have you ever wanted to be somewhere in a parallel universe - far from the hustle and bustle, problems and disagreements? In the endless flow of life, the human psyche becomes so tired that it cannot cope with the processing and restoration of energy. In this case, the ability to abstraction helps. You may ask: “abstract – what does that mean?”

From the word abstraction - mental distraction, detachment . Simply put, this is the ability to separate from something (situation, emotions, feelings, etc.) in order to look at it from the outside or temporarily interrupt direct contact.

This is done in order to put thoughts in order and make an informed decision. The ability to abstract is of great importance in a person’s life, as it helps to cope with life’s difficulties, stress and objectively assess any problem. To find out in what situations you can use abstraction techniques and how to learn it, read on.

Meaning of the word

In this case, it is worth turning to an explanatory dictionary for help, which is a collection of words with explanations, interpretation and, if necessary, translation. Abstraction is, first of all, the ability to be distracted by mentally reproducing an abstraction.

This is the ability to maintain mental and mental balance. Abstraction is a person’s ability, as mentioned above, to be distracted, but this should be understood not as a change of place, work or activity, but as a change in the way of thinking.

The point is that in the process a person can look at the state of affairs from a new perspective. This is an opportunity to give your own nervous system a rest and come to its senses in order, firstly, to get rid of the negative influence of irritating factors, which can be noise, and secondly, to analyze the situation and look at it impartially.

Disabling information flow

In the East, there are various sets of practices: Tibetan, Zen, Indo-Burmese and others. They all use certain movements, methods of concentration, which can be done anywhere, even while going to work or walking. The main task is to discard everything unnecessary imposed from the outside, to turn off the endless flow of information.

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At first it is not easy to achieve this, the desired state of inner freedom will be rare and fleeting, but then this state will be observed more and more often.

The Eastern practice of relaxation differs from the Western practice in that a person has complete control over all his reactions. It requires extreme concentration and attentiveness. This is not a trance, when consciousness submits to someone’s will, but conscious control of one’s emotions and thoughts.

Purposes of Abstraction

First, one important goal is to be able to find commonalities between, say, situations or people. Or, conversely, learn to systematize the key differences between objects or actions.

Secondly, the ability to abstract, the meaning of which is based on the ability to be distracted from something, is also tuned to learning to clearly and specifically formulate certain concepts for oneself. In this case, the purpose of abstraction is the ability to separate concepts. That is, clearly understand where one ends and the other begins.

And finally, the last goal is the ability to create an “ideal image” in your thinking. Moreover, you should understand that in real life it may not exist, but it must exist in your mind so that you can try it on yourself. For example, honesty, courage, loyalty.

Change your attitude towards a person

You have a colleague who constantly argues, expresses her opinion and gives unnecessary advice. It is within your power to learn to cope with your inner negativity. Start to perceive communication with her as a challenge, as a test. Where else can you get such great practice? After all, you cannot learn to deal with your aggression and irritation until you experience them.

It is communication with this lady that will be your field for gaining experience. Learn to work with your inner feelings and experiences. Understand what exactly you are experiencing: anger, resentment, irritation, aggression, and so on. And then start working with your feelings.

Why do you need to abstract yourself?

It is a completely natural and logical question that each of us should ask. The ability to abstract is a skill that, first of all, will help you understand what direction in life you should take. Who a person wants to be will help to understand the process of abstraction. You just have to imagine yourself as an actor, doctor, lawyer or athlete, and you will find the answer to this question. This is what it means to abstract. It should be noted that this is not a choice of profession, but a direction in life. In other words, what the field of activity will be related to, for example, with technology, with animals or people, this is what you should concentrate your attention on.

What is it for

Experts are confident that a person is able to fully control his own body. Psychoanalyst Makarov says that it has been repeatedly noticed how such exercises can alleviate the severity of chronic diseases, reduce pain syndromes during menstruation, headaches, lower high blood pressure, and normalize the heart rate. Ethnopsychologist Zhukov believes that self-immersion allows you to take control of feelings and needs, and thereby enable a person’s hidden capabilities that contribute to self-healing.

Physician Frederick Rosenfeld says that the health benefits of relaxation practices are not an end in themselves. He claims that the beneficial effects are aimed at reducing anxiety, tension during stress, helps with depression, phobias and improves immunity.

Formation of emotional state

The word “abstract” can be used to create an emotional and complete story in your imagination. For example, you can imagine how a child receives a diploma from a prestigious university, or, say, diving into the waters of the warm Mediterranean sea. To do this, you just need to learn to abstract yourself.

This ability to distract from details and concentrate on the main thing will help you move towards achieving your cherished goal. However, emotions and love for fairy tales do not determine everything. Smart adults choose for themselves which fantasy and events they want to live in, and when to leave the world of dreams and enter reality.

Learn to treat others with a light sense of humor

This is a great way to abstract yourself from the problem. Don't take everything too personally and don't take everything personally. Do not resort to rude and cynical sarcasm, but simply accept all the negative actions of others easily and cheerfully.

Be honest with your loved ones and family, no matter how much they piss you off. Lies, hints, understatement will only worsen your relationship and confuse you even more.

Remember that you too can irritate and enrage someone. You are not the only one who knows how to get offended or lose your temper. Some of your actions can greatly offend others, and you have no idea about it. There are no perfect people.

And when you understand that everyone lives with their own “cockroaches” in their heads, then your relationship will change.

How to abstract yourself from the outside world

Have any of you encountered the fact that sometimes, say, sitting at a meeting, your thoughts are in a different place? Or, for example, your friend tells you something interesting, but you don’t hear him, but think about the beautiful girl you met this morning. If something similar happened to you, then you probably know what it means to abstract yourself.

If you are just learning this simple task, then some knowledge will be useful to you: you should count to ten, calm down, breathe slowly and deeply, concentrate on a good memory or simply on positive thoughts. If possible, turn on some nice music.

What useful things can you see by abstracting yourself?

Perhaps you will notice that, out of habit, you lose control over your emotions when something goes “not according to plan,” that is, when the situation changes (after all, at the same time you feel that you have left your “comfort zone”, and this is natural for you somewhat unbalanced).

  • Think: maybe this habit is not so good, and has interfered with your life more than once, and it’s time to slowly part with it?
  • Perhaps you do not know all the circumstances, and the changed alignment is actually either only for your benefit, or protects you from even greater troubles.
  • Perhaps you can turn new circumstances to your advantage?
  • Think: yes, circumstances have changed, but are you not paying too much attention and effort to this, are you exaggerating the importance, are you making a mountain out of a molehill?

By using abstraction, you will weigh different options and not only solve the problem, but also save a lot of energy that we usually lose by splashing out emotions.

How to abstract yourself from emotions

Negative emotions often have great momentum and power, and it will take a lot of mental strength to learn to abstract yourself. This means that you will need to learn a number of rules in order to learn this.

First of all, you should do a number of the following manipulations with yourself:

  • distance yourself from the source of negativity;
  • calm down;
  • breathe slowly and deeply;
  • think about something good.

These simple steps are very effective. In addition, you should accept some things that will help you realize how to help yourself in difficult situations. So, life is not easy and sometimes imperfect and unfair. You can't control everything. White and black stripes alternate in life, take it for granted. You can abstract yourself from the negative only through the positive, strive to see the good in everything and live as if it were your last day. If you feel like you’re about to lose your temper, it’s better to put off work for an hour, two, or even a couple of days.

And there is no need to complicate life itself, because many situations are not worth worrying about. Is the boss shouting? Let him shout to himself! Got a bad grade? Tomorrow there will be five! Not enough money? And when were they enough? Any negative can be abstracted from oneself and even transformed into a positive.

When should you abstract yourself? Abstraction Methods

To make it easier to master the method, consider individual examples of detachment. You will have the opportunity to start training these techniques today.


Abstraction from the situation and problems

If the situation has reached a dead end, or you are experiencing too many negative emotions, the easiest way is to abstract yourself and look at it from the outside. Then you will be able to see other possible solutions. How to do it?

Method: close your eyes and imagine that you are a completely different person, he does not experience what you feel, he does not know what you know. Ask this person what he thinks about this situation, how he sees you and other participants in it, how he sees and understands its cause, what prevents its resolution? You will literally hear the answer in your head. This technique also works when abstracting from problems.


Abstraction from a person

It can be physical or emotional. Temporary or complete abstraction from a person can be useful in several cases:

  • when you need to understand your own feelings and emotions;
  • when your personal boundaries are violated;
  • when a person tries to cause physical or psychological harm to you (in this case, complete abstraction is recommended, i.e. forever);
  • when you are torn between several decisions.

Methodology: physical abstraction - moving to another place or room; you can also go outside in the midst of a quarrel, for example, this will also be a physical abstraction.

If you strive for emotional abstraction, then, firstly, you need to stop direct contact with the person (stop arguing, proving your point of view and listening to him).

Secondly, calm down, because while you are emotional, no sensible thoughts can come to your mind.

Thirdly, try to put yourself in the shoes of this person (ask yourself why he behaves this way, why he did this, what he wanted, etc.).

Fourthly, imagine what other developments of events/relationships there may be, analyze every possibility. And only after these stages, make a final decision.


Abstraction from work

When can this be used? During a period of emotional burnout, when you feel disgusted with work. Also when you are very tired and overworked. Abstraction in such situations helps you avoid exhausting yourself and completely losing interest. In addition, when you are very tired, you can harm other people and yourself.

Method: Do something distracting. For example, if you work on the computer a lot, sign up for fitness or capoeira. If your main activity is physical, on the contrary, spend time on spiritual development and art. When there is a lot of work, take a few minutes to listen to beautiful music (preferably with headphones) and contemplate the beauty. You just haven’t yet asked yourself to study the question of how music affects a person and what healing properties it has on health, development and life in general. I advise you to study it.


Abstraction from bustle and noise

Music and meditation also help in this situation. The solitude technique works well. To do this, just choose a deserted or sparsely populated place where you need to come for at least 30 minutes every evening .

It is desirable that it satisfies your aesthetic needs (nature, beautiful view). It was not for nothing that our ancestors turned to the forces of nature to restore vitality and harmony.


Abstraction from the world and society

This implies abstraction from some social norms, foundations, rules, of which there are an unimaginable number in modern society, and it often happens that these rules greatly limit individual freedom. Boundaries are necessary to prevent lawlessness and anarchy, but when there are too many or they are excessive, the individual cannot realize his full potential, which is why he suffers.

It happens that a person himself binds himself to certain canons that are formed in the process of his upbringing and formation in society. And so it turns out that he wants one thing, but the attitudes say something else. To understand your true values ​​and needs, it is important to learn to take yourself beyond the boundaries of a social unit , to imagine yourself not only as part of the system, but also as a unique being, which has no analogues.

Methodology: associate yourself with an element or phenomenon. For example, imagine that you are the wind (it is better to do this outdoors, feeling at least a light breeze), you are soaring above the ground and there are no obstacles for you. You penetrate through the cracks of houses, touch leaves, stir the sea. You can see any corner of the planet, any person. What do you see? How do you feel? Looking at what moments do you feel happy?


Abstraction from negativity, negative emotions

To do this, you can start developing positive thinking. Most often, getting stuck in negative experiences is associated with the inability to see the other side of the coin and learn useful information from negative experiences, as well as the inability to rest.

Methodology: if it is not possible to abstract yourself from the source of stress, then you need to allow yourself emotional abstraction for certain periods of time. At the end of every hour, give yourself 10 minutes of relaxation. Completely immerse yourself in activities that bring you pleasure - drawing, singing, doing a crossword puzzle, reading, socializing.


Abstraction from time

Time flies, and people are trying to keep up with it, to do everything. As a result, they miss out on their lives. Sometimes it’s useful to turn off all the equipment, put the clock away and spend the whole weekend with loved ones, doing what you love.

For most people, not thinking about time is a problem. Therefore, you need to give yourself such breaks at least once a week. Let life simply flow, without frames or restrictions.

Types of abstraction

Some types of abstraction:

primitive sensory abstraction - distracts from some properties of an object or phenomenon, highlighting its other properties or qualities (emphasizing the shape of an object, abstracting from its color or vice versa). Due to the infinite variety of reality, no perception is able to cover all its sides, therefore primitive sensory abstraction occurs in every process of perception and is inevitably associated with it.

generalizing abstraction - gives a generalized picture of a phenomenon, abstracted from particular deviations. As a result of such abstraction, the general property of the objects or phenomena under study is highlighted. This type of abstraction is considered fundamental in mathematics and mathematical logic.

idealization - replacement of a real empirical phenomenon with an idealized scheme, abstracted from real attributes that are unimportant for a given study

As a result, the concepts of idealized (ideal) objects (“ideal gas”, “absolute black body”, “straight line”, etc.) are formed.

isolating abstraction - is closely related to involuntary attention, since in this case the content on which attention is focused is highlighted.

abstraction of actual infinity is an abstraction from the fundamental impossibility of fixing every element of an infinite set, that is, infinite sets are considered as finite.

constructivization is a distraction from the uncertainty of the boundaries of real objects, their “coarsening”.

By purpose:

  • formal abstraction
    is the identification of properties of an object that do not exist in themselves and independently of it (shape or color). This type of abstraction serves as the basis for children to acquire knowledge that describes objects by their external properties, which serves as a prerequisite for theoretical thinking.
  • meaningful abstraction
    - the isolation of those properties of an object that themselves have relative independence (a cell of an organism). This type of abstraction develops students' ability to operate with them.

In the dictionary Complete accentuated paradigm according to A. A. Zaliznya

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Forms of abstract thinking

The main forms of abstract thinking are:

  • Concepts. They reflect the general and distinctive features of an object or phenomenon. They can describe it externally or reflect internal properties, be obvious or not immediately noticeable. Concepts describe the essential features of an object, the change of which leads to the cessation of its existence. They may consist of one or more words. For example, this is a table, a person, a group of students, a knitted scarf;
  • Judgments. Thanks to them, a connection is formed between concepts. They deny or confirm the presence of signs in objects, the relationship between them. Judgments carry truth or contain lies. In the phrase “Maria Petrovna is a school teacher,” a sign is defined for the subject. The proposition “Marina is our neighbor’s daughter” establishes a connection. Negation is created by using the particle "not". So a statement can be turned into a negative judgment and vice versa;
  • Conclusions. They allow one judgment to be transformed into another through reasoning. Originally existing facts are called premises. Judgments that appear as a result of the work of thought are conclusions. Reasoning must follow logic. It may be that you have to follow not an inviolable rule or law, but an assumption. The transition from premises to conclusions is a conclusion. For example, there are two propositions, “The garden is harvested in the fall” and “The apples will ripen when the summer ends.” After analyzing the facts, we can come to the conclusion that “Apples need to be picked in the fall.”

Categories are used not only in psychology, but are also used in philosophy and exact sciences

Abstract thinking is given attention in management; it can improve the climate in the team

Abstraction in psychology

In psychology, abstraction is considered not only the result of the abstraction process, but also the consideration of an object (or person, situation, etc.), paying attention only to the main characteristics, ignoring trifles or insignificant features. Abstraction helps during the process of generalization or concept creation

Types of abstraction in psychology

Jean Piaget (Swiss psychologist and philosopher) in his books divides abstraction in psychology into three main types.

Piaget divided abstraction into empirical (focusing on the objects themselves and their properties) and pseudo-empirical (focusing on actions aimed at objects and the properties of these actions). After this, reflective abstraction occurs: thinking about these ideas

Thus, the thought process itself becomes a new subject for reflection (Piaget, 1972, p. 70)

After this, reflective abstraction occurs: thinking about these ideas. Thus, the thought process itself becomes a new subject for reflection (Piaget, 1972, p. 70).

Abstract and concrete

These are classifications that indicate whether the item being discussed has physical characteristics.
Concrete objects have physical characteristics (they can be touched, weighed, bought and sold), but abstract objects do not. An abstract subject is one that does not exist in any specific time or place, it is an idea or abstraction. This classification, abstract and concrete, is often used in philosophy. Abstract objects are sometimes called abstract, and concrete objects are sometimes called concrete.

An example of the abstract can be friendship, philosophy, peace. And a concrete example is the philosopher Plato, a tree, the planet Earth.

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