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How Creativity Keeps The Mind FLOWING

and some tips and tricks!

I went to three different universities for my arts education and what I saw across the board was none of them taught me to be an artist; they all however, taught me to be critical thinker and use creative problem solving. Do I think the institutions failed me? Absolutely not! I believe that they were there to provide a space for me and my peers to discuss arts and culture; to be critical and constructive. For myself, countless hours were spent in the library watching documentaries, reading books, and sifting through articles. I was a research junkie and that made my art practice easier, my conversations with others easier, and my ability to look at problems from outside the box.

Here are some key reasons why you NEED to start exposing yourself to arts and culture:

1.     It’s a great indicator of how you truly feel in that present moment. You’re not just looking at art, listening to music, or watching a play, you’re analyzing yourself in the space and what you are experiencing. It’s a great indicator of truthful emotion if you’re new to that as well.

2.     It breeds imagination. Even if you’re not in a creative field, how important is imagination in creative problem solving? Think about where you mind can take you, rather than thinking you’ll exhaust it with abstract concepts.

3.     Your curiosity and the “unknown” will be tested. Some people think that art is supposed to answer the questions. Nope. Good art might, but GREAT art will have you scratching your head. Respect the process. I know I had to in my education and boy was it frustrating at times. But, I would never have been able to think about how this business could thrive if I didn’t respect the process.

So, if you’ve gone out with friends, family, or your partner, think about what you went to see and have a conversation with them. If you’re new to the creative scene be patient with each other. I imagine that some weird ideas and foreign thinking will be had. Relax, it’s only because you’re new at this! Don’t just have a conversation about what you saw, but ask yourself some better questions like, how does this change the way I see the world? If it does, then why? If it doesn’t, then why not? Sometimes the easiest way to decipher what kind of person you are is to look at the things you don’t like and tell people why. Give them a thoughtful reason though. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer..sorry Debbie’s.

Arts and culture could be galleries, plays, movies, music, theatre, poetry, and art events. All of these are great avenues of creative, constructive, and critical conversation. I encourage you to participate in things outside your comfort zone. Be open to the possibility that you can change who you are by given your mind the opportunity to think differently. Life is in fact about changing, and your life becomes stagnant when you stop learning. Hunter S. Thompson once said, “As long as I’m learning something, I figure I’m okay-it’s a decent day”. He did a lot of drugs, but a wise man nonetheless.

So, go out and learn something about yourself. Read a book of poetry, take a walk through a gallery, go to a music event, go see some outdoor theatre. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn about new ways of seeing; about understanding different perspectives to the problems you have. Anything you might be anxious about has a creative solution.  

If you would like to get my help personally, I would love to hear from you. Please head to the Let’s Discuss button on the main page and book a free strategy session with me, so we can find the creative solutions that work for you.

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Which Road Are You Taking?

Going with your Brain or your Gut? Let me tell you which.

Did you know that you have a gut-brain? Did you know that your gut has millions more neurons than your actual brain? In circumstances that make you nervous, one might be a better indicator than the other.

Our brain and gut work in tandem together but sometimes one is stronger. When the brain signals a feeling of distress it will trigger the wrenching feeling in our gut, and vice versa; if our stomach is unsettled, our brain will pick up on this feeling and respond accordingly. The challenge is how to make a decision when you suffer from anxiety.

Have you ever had the feeling of butterflies in your stomach? It might come from a sports game you’re nervous about or a first date with your crush. These are preamble feelings to nervous that you’re building up inside you. Before it even happens I might add! However, there really isn’t anything to be worried about prior to the actual event. We build up our nervousness more than we need because we let the mind run wildly. What if lose? What if I don’t perform well on the court? What if I mess up on the date? It’s amazing how many what if’s, we tell ourselves prior to the actual event. Not a healthy way to go about it.

I remember listening to a talk on Youtube with Will Smith about when he went skydiving, and how he allocated that experience to nervousness in our own lives. He said, there is really no point before the dive that you need to be nervous about; people literally worry themselves to paralysis before something that makes them nervous actually happens. This was a really good point, thanks Will. Even if you’re nervous to go skydiving, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the evening before, your breakfast in the morning, the drive to the site, pictures before the jump, and the flight up. The only true nervousness that you experience-that is actually real-is the final moments before the jump. That’s it. He goes on to say, the skydiving moment was total BLISS.

The gut-brain is a fairly new venture in the medical profession, but it does explain the feelings one gets before a sports game, going on dates, giving a speech, talking to new people, and truly expressing your emotions. The gut is telling you that fear is guiding your decision. What you need to do is consciously be aware that your body is putting you in a circumstance that makes you feel unsafe. If it isn’t a situation that poses a real danger, you can use your acute awareness to your advantage. That is very important to remember.

When someone is anxious, and susceptible to hundreds of thoughts racing through their mind, it isn’t always the mind that’s the best indicator for what to do next. For myself, I’ve found there is an immediate call and response to your gut. Sometimes it might just be a fart, but usually it’s a really good indicator that your body is trying to tell you something about the situation you’re in.

My advice is to really REALLY listen to your gut when you make decision. Follow that churning feeling that’s inside you because for better or worse, the gut is usually right. One thing to keep in mind with whatever nervous-circumstance you find yourself in, is to train yourself to know that the situation is safe and that you can use your acute “nervous” awareness to focus on what you need to do in that present moment.

If you would like to get my help personally, I would love to hear from you. Please head to the Let’s Discuss button on the main page and book a free strategy session with me, so we can find the metaphors that work for you.

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Language and Metaphor

Your two saving graces

Over the years, I’ve had some very interesting conversations with people about their anxiety and depression. We all treat it a little differently and we all have different words that resonate with how we describe it. For myself, “I feel like I’m driving on a road that isn’t laying the pavement down fast enough. Now I’m hitting the dirt road and I feel myself losing control on the loose rocks”.

I was a big fan of the “car and road” analogies because they made sense to me. The most important part about this realization was it became an indicator for me. When I started to feel anxious I would tell myself to pump the brakes (ha), and to give myself time to think about the next step. Give myself the freedom to relax and enjoy.

In my personal life, I’ve had crippling worry that churns my stomach and my professional life I’ve always been a high-functioning anxious person that sometimes forgets to celebrate his successes. I still have both of these traits, and in part, that is the reason I started this company. Both of these “illnesses”, which I actually like to call “strengths” are how I gauge what kind of danger I’m in and how productive I can be. What I’ve learned to do is become self-aware of these feelings and I know how utilize their energy.

Here is a direct exert from my journal (One of several instances):

October 12, 2014

First, I question how high my anxiety is. In my personal life; I puked in my friend’s toilet and it flushed just fine. I am beyond worried about the toilet being clogged or something. It flushed fine, I cleaned up after myself, there was water in the toilet bowl when I puked and clean water that came back up after it flushed.

_____

Embarrassing, I know. But how ridiculously funny! My anxiety took over and I feared my puke was going to clog a toilet. After a few serious instances, I found a small book on the mediation of breathing.

Only in 2014 did I start to get into meditation because before I thought it was a load of bulls**t. It never “worked” for me. I was still worrying, I still had a million and one thoughts, and it wasn’t getting better. Once I gave my head a really good shake, I knew that I was the problem. Mediation is a MANDATORY tool for anxiety and I strongly encourage everyone to pick up a book on it.  

When you’re anxious these are the things you might experience:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Physical discomfort

  • Tension in muscles

  • Avoidance of the things you fear

 What meditation helps you do:

  • You focus purely on your breathing

  • You have to relax (either seated or lying down in a comfortable space)

  • You have to loosen up your muscles so you’re properly breathing

  • You’re in a completely safe state to analyze the things you fear

If you let it take over your life, you’re just along for the ride. And, since you’re reading this, I imagine you don’t want that to be the case. Here is the most fantastic thing about your anxiety though. It’s yours and you know how to control it; or at least you’re taking the necessary steps to control it! You know that there are triggers that set it off, and you know what works and what doesn’t.

Anxiety is a process for everyone. It’s not a race (k, that was the last car reference), but you’re in the driver’s seat (k, I promise I’m done). All you need to do is buckle…All you need to do is hit the open roa…All you need to do is find what works for you–like a detective–and find the clues that work connect the pieces together.

If you would like to get my help personally, I would love to hear from you. Please head to the Let’s Discuss button on the main page and book a free strategy session with me, so we can find your unique language to deal with anxiety.