Blog : Change

Change Your Thoughts: Procrastination

Change Your Thoughts: Procrastination

Do you ever feel like it is impossible to get started on a task? Are you so worried about measuring up to the expectations that you or others have put on you, that you procrastinate on the projects you know that you should be working on? People who procrastinate have higher levels of stress and anxiety. You may know that putting off important tasks is what is causing you anxiety, but you might feel as if you can’t stop. This is a result of the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself and the work that you are doing. With effort, these thoughts can be changed, and you can free yourself from the mental prison your procrastination has put you in.

It is important to know that procrastination is not a flaw in your character, and it doesn’t mean that you are a bad person who can’t take care of yourself or function in society. It is actually something we do when we are trying to cope with negative thoughts and feelings. The core of this issue is not being able to regulate your emotions. You might feel that the task is boring, difficult, or just downright unpleasant, and that gets you stuck in a cycle of procrastination. This is surface-level. Procrastination can also run deeper than this. You can be struggling with feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, or anxiety. You may feel that you aren’t smart enough to complete the task, or that you won’t be perfect at it, so you shouldn’t bother doing it.

Here are some ways you can change your thoughts and avoid procrastination:

Think of your future self as a friend and not a stranger

Not thinking about how your actions will affect your future self can impact you greatly. Instead of focusing on the long-term consequences, we hone in on our short-term needs and end up putting things off to ease our anxiety in that moment. This only harms us, giving us an underlying current of stress that we can’t exactly put our finger on. You don’t need to beat yourself up about this because it’s just the way your brain is wired. The task that you are putting off is now a threat to your mind, activating the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for the flight or fight response. It helps to not be so detached from your future self and thinking that completing your task is a problem for somebody else. Instead, show your love for yourself by making the effort for your future self. You are always your own partner.

Forgive yourself when you procrastinate

It is normal to procrastinate–everyone does it. If you shame yourself when you do it, however, you will fuel the cycle even further. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding in the face of your mistakes and perceived failures. Having compassion for yourself and being non-judgemental is a way to get past your procrastination, and will prevent you from procrastinating in the future because it decreases negative emotions and increases feelings of self-worth and optimism. If the root of procrastination is low self-esteem, you can boost your self-esteem immensely when you are patient and kind to yourself, even when you make mistakes.

Cultivate curiosity

When you feel like you can’t focus on the task at hand or your other important projects, curiously examine what sort of thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. What sensations do you notice? Where do you feel them? When you observe the thoughts you have about procrastinating, what happens to those thoughts? Do they go away, intensify, or cause other emotions to come up? Do they shift as you continue to focus on them? This doesn’t have to be from a place of fear, but gentle curiosity.

Get started on tasks by committing to only work on them for a few minutes.

If after a few minutes you still don’t feel like finishing the task, you can be proud of yourself for putting in five minutes of work into the project. However, many times, this is just the push we need to finish what we have been putting off. Doing this is a great way to get yourself out of the rut that procrastination causes because you aren’t putting an insane amount of pressure on yourself. Instead, you are allowing yourself to ease into the task, and giving yourself an opportunity to exit, which lowers your expectations and the pressure those expectations put on you.

Through all of this, it is important to remember that you aren’t perfect, and the people that love you unconditionally do not expect you to be perfect. Making mistakes is a part of life, so if you are doubting yourself and afraid to do something wrong, try giving yourself a little more love and understanding. Mistakes can be your greatest teacher, and if you keep procrastinating and you never try, you’ll never experience those wonderful learning opportunities.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

What’s Opposite Action?

What’s Opposite Action?

We experience a wide range of emotions daily, and yet, our culture encourages people to shove these emotions down by overworking, scrolling endlessly through their phones, watching hours of TV,  or using alcohol and drugs. This is because our society views being in touch with our emotions as a weakness.  When we avoid our emotions, we don’t immediately get the emotional signals our body sends to us, however, that doesn’t mean that these messages aren’t still being sent out. Instead, it stalls the feeling, and later on when you’re feeling particularly vulnerable, you’ll be overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, headaches, and stomachaches and you aren’t sure where they stem from at that moment because it’s from something you ignored earlier. It is important to address these challenging emotions as they come up rather than pushing them away. You can do this by using the DBT skill “Opposite Action.” So, what is opposite action, and how can you use it?

Opposite Action is the intentional attempt to act opposite of your emotional urge.

When you experience a strong emotion, an action urge usually follows closely behind. For example, when you feel scared, your action urge might be to avoid, escape, and hide underneath the covers all day. When you feel depressed, that action urge might be to isolate yourself from your friends or wallow in self-pity. When you are using opposite action, the goal is to deliberately contradict the emotional urge that you have and address your emotions in a healthy way instead of harming yourself or others further.  It also remedies the suffering you might feel because of the distressing emotion.

 Here are some ways to offset the common emotional reactions that you may experience:

Fear

Instead of avoiding your fear, confront it. This will help you build mastery over that fear so that it doesn’t effect you as badly.

Anger

If you are feeling overwhelmed by anger, instead of lashing out, take a second to walk away from the situation and take a deep breath. Find a way to feel some sort of empathy or sympathy for the person that you are angry at. Try to approach this from a place of love and understanding.

Sadness

If you are feeling sad, you might feel the need to avoid what you are sad about and isolate yourself. Instead of doing that, address what you are feeling sad about either through journaling or talking to a friend, and spend time with the people that love you to find common humanity and remind yourself that you are not alone.

Shame/guilt

If what you did warrants a consequence, accept that consequence without beating yourself up about it. Ask for forgiveness and try to make an attempt to repair what went wrong. It is important to forgive yourself and let it go. 

It is extremely important to not equate the opposite action skill with suppressing your emotions. The point of using this tool is to gradually change the emotion, making the experience more positive and eliminating unnecessary suffering. This skill is best used whenever your emotions cloud your perception of the truth. Sometimes a strong emotion will encourage our brains to create stories about the situation that aren’t even true. When you use opposite action, instead of denying the emotion that you are experiencing, you are simply challenging it and proving the story wrong.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

How Movement Benefits Your Mental Health

How Movement Benefits Your Mental Health

Have you ever noticed how you start to feel more depressed or anxious after you have been laying around all day? Sometimes, our bodies need to take time to rest and do nothing. However, there needs to be a balance. If you haven’t been active all day and your mind is idle, you may start to get restless, making it easier for you to ruminate or cling to negative thought patterns. Once you step outside and start moving, you’ll start to feel lighter with each step you take. Movement gets more oxygen flowing to the brain, giving you an enormous sense of well being. Here is how exercise benefits your mental health:

Movement  promotes the production of new brain cells

When you get your blood pumping with movement, it encourages oxygen to flow quickly and freely to the brain, which creates new brain cells. On top of that, exercise triggers the neurotransmitters serotonin and endorphins, which are responsible for those feelings of peace, happiness, and overall well being. When your body moves, so does your brain, which then boosts cognitive function and helps creative ideas flow.

It improves your meditation practice

When you are exercising, it’s difficult to think of anything but what you are doing at the moment. IYou are only concentrating on your body’s movements. Sometimes, our brains can become consumed with excess energy that turns into anxiety or depression. In meditation, we are also focusing on the body, noticing how our emotions impact our physical state. It’s important to make a point to shed this excessive energy with exercise, and focusing your attention on moving your body for just thirty minutes a day can help you feel calmer, more energized, clear, focused, and optimistic.

Movement reduces stress

When we exercise, our bodies release cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for stress and anxiety. Because movement emulates the impact stress has on our bodies, making our hearts race and our bodies sweat and shake, it allows us to practice working through the effects anxiety has on our body.

Movement calms the mind and body

After moving your body by doing yoga,running, fast walking, or playing your favorite sport, you will notice that your mind and body feel calmer and more relaxed. This is because you  were able to put your full attention on your body’s movements. You have no choice but to do this when you’re exercising, because you’re so focused on the sensations you’re experiencing in the body. Because you’re able to practice putting your focus and attention on one thing at a time, you can take that experience into your everyday life and learn to complete your tasks with a sense of calmness, clarity, and focus.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

Transforming With Art Therapy

Transforming With Art Therapy

Transforming with art therapy is simple. Art therapy is a tool used by many to access parts of the brain they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. This is because art therapy has a calming effect on the mind and body, allowing you to relax enough to access your true, authentic nature.  If you undergo the journey of seeking art therapy with a professional, you won’t just be exposed to new and uncomfortable feelings without any sort of safety net. Art therapy is a soft, safe, and compassionate activity, and the tools you learn in art therapy can make you more resilient. Here are some ways art therapy can transform you:

Art therapy helps articulate deeper feelings

Art therapy can help you express emotions and thoughts that might be too difficult to say out loud. It provides you with a safe and empowering space to explore feelings that might otherwise lay dormant or repressed. This is because the creative process helps people slow down and experience themselves and their situation more peacefully. The mind is focused on making art. When you leave your mind idle, you’ll be more likely to get stuck in negative thought patterns and the emotions that follow. However, when you are making art, you are more likely to freely express how you feel without getting stuck in negativity. Art therapy has the potential to set you free.

Art therapy has the potential to set you free.

This is because creating art puts you in a mentally peaceful space, allowing you to freely explore your inner world.  People coping with mental illnesses are under an immense amount of stress, and creating art can be a powerful tool in managing stress. “When we were children, we drew or painted freely and nobody judged us. When I had patients, I told them that here was a safe space. It was fine that they didn’t know how to draw or paint. The result isn’t important. It is about a procedure. [While creating the artworks], we can feel ourselves breathing and are aware that colours gradually change us. Movements of colours imprint into our hearts.” -Vichapa Meethongklang

Art therapy helps empower people.

When people create and complete an art project, they are more likely to feel more empowered, valued, and able to deal with whatever life throws at them. The creators are able to connect to their art, taking in the colors and the movements that go into creating that piece. By connecting with their art, they are also connecting with themselves, which is incredibly empowering because they are getting to know themselves in a new way. They start seeing themselves as a productive person who can start and finish a beautiful project. Oftentimes, mental illnesses make people believe that they are worthless and will never amount to anything. Art therapy can help prove your mental illness wrong, helping you believe that you are worthy and that the beauty in the world is right in front of you. You created that beauty.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

Why is therapy so hard for men?

Why is therapy so hard for men?

I’ve been in several therapy groups throughout my mental health career, and one thing I found profoundly strange was the frequent absence of other men seeking assistance with their mental health. When I wasn’t the only man in a given therapy group, there was perhaps only one other man sharing their struggles with mental illness. According to my research, only one third of patients in treatment for mental illness are men. Why do so few men seek therapy?

Men are taught from an early age to bottle up most of our feelings.

 

Men are socialized to repress most of their feelings, aside from rage, in order to fit with our societal definition of what manhood means. It is socially acceptable for little boys to roughhouse with one another in anger without fear of reprisal from their fathers, but the same cannot be said for acts of emotional intimacy or vulnerability. A man can see another man screaming violently at another human being without it violating their conceptualization of manhood in a way that seeing another man openly cower or weep does not. A boy who is emotionally vulnerable might live in fear of being labeled a “sissy” or any number of sexist or homophobic taunts meant to wound his masculinity, and that fear persists unconfronted in many men throughout their adulthood.

As men, the glimpses of vulnerability we might be fortunate enough to see are modeled mostly by women and queer people.

 

Many of us internalize this and assume that emotional vulnerability and communication are not compatible with the masculine archetype. In the pursuit of performing this role, we cut ourselves off from vital elements of our own human experience, and close the door on the sort of insight and investigation we might find through therapy.

Men are told that our masculinity hinges on a very narrow and specific definition of strength.

 

A definition that does not include asking for or deserving help, much less needing it. We are led to believe that our role is to give and provide. On its face, this belief may not appear to be toxic at all, but that is exactly what makes it so insidious and challenging to confront. Personally, I have pursued this belief to the edge of my own ruin. I believed that it was my purpose to work, sleep, and suffer through my illnesses (physical or mental), insecurities, and intrusive thoughts in silence for the betterment of the people who relied on me.

 

So what can we do to challenge the beliefs that keep us out of therapy, and what can the people who love us do to encourage our journey into recovery? If you are a man struggling under the weight of mental illness, I think the most powerful and masculine thing you could do is take accountability for your pain by seeking the treatment of a professional. If you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t try to x-ray it and put a cast on it yourself, so why would you expect that your healing your mind would work any different? If a loved one is suffering under their mental illness and refuses to seek help, you cannot force them into recovery, but you can set clear boundaries so that you do not bear the brunt of their mental illness, and you can provide an environment of open and honest communication where therapy is encouraged. It is hard work going to therapy, especially if you feel that you should be able to work through your difficulties on your own in silence, but I promise that it is much harder to go on through life carrying the burden of your past by yourself.

Therapy for men is incredibly important. Click here for more mental health resources.

 *Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Sunny Ebsary is a writer and singer-songwriter from Tampa, FL. When he’s not sing-songwriting or just regular writing, he’s probably drinking water with a lot of ice, having a staring contest with his cat, or giving people great ideas. You can listen to Sunny’s music here.

“Is This True?” And Other Thoughtwork

“Is This True?” And Other Thoughtwork

Our thoughts have a big impact on the way we feel. Some of these thoughts aren’t even true, but are a result of the stories and beliefs we have about ourselves and the world around us. Without the proper tools, sometimes these thoughts are allowed to run like a tape in the background. This can take a huge toll on your mental health. We are sharing 5 DBT methods that will help you make changes in your brain and live a happier life:

Checking the facts

Have  you ever had what felt like a knee-jerk, emotional reaction to something and then later regretted it? Checking the facts is a DBT skill that helps you pause before reacting to something. When you are experiencing a powerful emotion, it can be easy to let those emotions cloud your judgement. When this happens, pause, step back, assess the situation, and ask yourself “Is this true? Is the way that I am feeling or thinking about a situation factual?” After you ask yourself this, check the facts to prove whether or not your response is appropriate. What is great about this method is that it encourages you to think before you react, and it also encourages you to respond from a place of rhyme and reason rather than letting your emotions cloud your judgement. You shouldn’t ignore your emotions, but you also shouldn’t act solely on emotion. Balance is necessary! 

“What’s the worst thing that can happen” method

Sometimes, when we are feeling anxious, our brains make things out to be scarier than they really are. This is called catastrophizing–we can get so freaked out and uncomfortable that we feel like we want to run away and hide under the covers all day. This just isn’t realistic, and it’s necessary to learn how to function in the real world despite what your anxiety wants you to believe. To move past this, start by asking yourself these questions: What am I afraid will happen? What possible outcomes give me the most anxiety? What is the worst thing that can possibly happen? Next, you will want to challenge the thoughts that come up by asking yourself additional questions, such as: Has anything this bad ever happened before? Is it likely to happen now? What evidence do I have that supports this thought? What evidence do I have that refutes it?

Then, take what you discovered after you challenged your thoughts, and come up with three truthful and balanced thoughts. Make sure they are accurate and factual representations of the situation.

Benign interpretation 

Benign Interpretation is interpreting situations in the most agreeable way possible. You are seeing things just as they are, descriptively and without inference, interpretation, or judgement. 

Oftentimes, something happens to us in a social situation, like a friend doesn’t greet us the way they normally would, and we assume the worst–they are mad at me, I’ve done something wrong, they now hate me, etc.

Instead of jumping to the worst possible conclusion, benign interpretation is a tool that helps you be less emotionally reactive and helps you give other people  the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t have all the facts, having a benign interpretation helps you avoid unnecessary stress and remain calm. 

Being non-judgemental 

We are so conditioned to judge circumstances as good or bad. Circumstances are neither good nor bad, they just are. What makes things feel positive or negative are the thoughts and emotions that we have about the circumstance. When we observe and open ourselves up to thinking differently, we experience more peace. Pausing to observe and describe what is happening gives you the opportunity to approach your situation without judgement.

Radical acceptance

When we practice being non-judgemental, we are opening the doors for radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is a skill that is used to reduce unnecessary suffering. If you accept reality fully and completely, without judgement, it will be easier for you to move through challenging situations. Instead of giving in to the suffering, you non-judgmentally accept what is happening, allowing the emotions to move through you.  To practice radical acceptance, you can use the DBT skill “turning the mind”, which helps you turn away from what you are resisting and towards acceptance. If you’re still struggling to accept, you can help yourself relax and be more open by acting as if you did radically accept and going from there.

Click here to read last week’s article on how therapy can help your creativity.

 *Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Therapy Won’t Kill Your Creativity

Therapy Won’t Kill Your Creativity

As an artist with mental illness, I’m always fascinated by what other artists have to say about their relationship with mental illness and therapy. Many artists have said really beautiful and inspirational things about their struggles with the stresses of creating under the duress of mental illness. In point of fact, I may not have gone into therapy in the first place if not for the openness of Robin Williams with his experiences with depression, addiction and rehab. But recently, I read an interview with the filmmaker David Lynch that gave me pause. 

“I had a reason for going in [to therapy], and I asked [the therapist] ‘Could this process that we’re going to go through affect my creativity’ and he said ‘David, I have to be honest with you, it could.’ And so then, I had to shake his hand and say goodbye.”’

Although I believe that David Lynch’s quote speaks to a genuine anxiety that many creatives face about going into therapy, I found this statement to be completely out of line with my experience with both mental illness and therapy. If anything, the tools I’ve acquired through attending regular therapy sessions have improved the quality and quantity of my creative output, and I believe any experiences to the contrary to be outliers, not the norm. 

Therapy encourages self awareness.

I would posit that seeking and collaborating with a therapist on the project of my mental health has consistently put me in a better place emotionally to pursue my artistic dreams. In my experience attending therapy, it has encouraged an internal environment of self-improvement and reflection. Introspection and self-awareness are tremendously important aspects for me when I’m assessing any creative work, and the most powerful tools I’ve found in both arenas were gained through my experiences in therapy. Mindfulness, consistent routine, and sobriety were concepts that were out there, but I would never have thought to seek them out had they not been recommended to me by experts in the field. 

Therapy and creativity mix well because therapy is motivating.

Even more profoundly, the long-term effects of interacting with my many talk therapists and psychiatrists has significantly lessened the physical symptoms of my depression and anxiety. In the miasma of depression, I lacked the motivation to eat or sleep. Under the cantankerous thrall of my anxious, intrusive thoughts, I lacked the wherewithal to deeply connect with others and chase the goals I was truly passionate about. When working full-time to fund a self-destructive addiction problem, I lacked the time and energy to dedicate myself to anything other than self-sabotage. And this is a story common among many neurodivergent artists in the public sphere. 

Therapy helps artists’ creative output.

Rachel Bloom was an actress and songwriter who sought therapy to treat her anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. She used her experiences as inspiration to co-create and star in her award-winning musical television series Crazy Ex-girlfriend. Kesha Rose Sebert was one of the most successful and talented recording artists in the world who nonetheless struggled in an environment of drug abuse and addiction. After her experiences in therapy and rehab, she returned to the public eye and released the most critically acclaimed and personal album of her career in Rainbow. Robert Downey Jr. was an actor and producer in Hollywood who grappled with his own reputation as a drug addict, law-breaker, and sufferer of bipolar disorder. After attending therapy and rehab, he became one of the highest paid and most beloved actors in the world. The general experience with artists attending therapy is not one of decline in their creative output, it is precisely the opposite. 

If you are an artist struggling with mental illness, I wouldn’t recommend avoiding treatment for the betterment of your creative output. Art is always, to some extent, the expression of your own internal world, and seeking treatment is taking a step away from disordered thinking and self-destructive living. You will never lack an opportunity to write about the confines and challenges of your mental illness, but you might find it more incisive to do so with the distance of someone with an awareness of its limitations, pain, and management. I think part of the reason that David Lynch’s quote resonated with me in such a negative way is because he’s half-right: going into therapy will absolutely change your creative output. For the better.

Therapy and creativity can mix well together. If you think that therapy and creativity clash, you are mistaken. Therapy can actually help with your creativity. Click here to read last week’s article on the ways music can help with depression.

 *Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Sunny Ebsary is a writer and singer-songwriter from Tampa, FL. When he’s not sing-songwriting or just regular writing, he’s probably drinking water with a lot of ice, having a staring contest with his cat, or giving people great ideas. You can listen to Sunny’s music here.

Boost Your Communication Today

Boost Your Communication Today

Do you have trouble communicating with the people closest to you? Are you afraid of being misunderstood? You are not alone. Communication is the most important aspect of our relationships. It helps build a solid, healthy foundation. Without this foundation, it becomes impossible to foster a deeper connection with your loved ones. Additionally, without effective communication, your relationships will lack trust, respect, and teamwork, creating frustrations and misunderstandings.

In relationships, when we don’t speak to each other, we are disconnecting and hiding within ourselves. In order to maintain your relationship, you must speak your personal truth, even if it makes you feel raw and vulnerable. Create more openness and freedom in the relationship by talking openly with one another and providing a safe space where both of you can express yourselves in an unguarded way. Shared vulnerability builds trust, letting your partner or friends know that they can speak their mind and express their feelings without worrying about being misunderstood or judged.

Allowing open communication to flow provides security for you and your loved ones. Without an open flow of communication, you will feel like your emotional needs aren’t being met, and problems like insecurity and lack of trust will begin to brew. In order to boost your communication, you must first become a better listener.

Becoming an engaged listener means that you understand both the words and the emotional nuance. When you really, truly listen, you will be able to hear those slight changes in tone that will tell you how they are feeling beyond the words they speak. Focus fully on the speaker, set aside any judgement, show interest in what is being said, and provide feedback by paraphrasing what they told you back to them . You might say something like “What I’m hearing is…” or “It sounds you are saying…” This will make them feel heard and sincerely understood. Being an attentive listener means that you show your partner that you hear them, you are fully understanding them, and you are connecting with them.

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, nature, and learning about other people.

How to Reduce Stress with Creative Writing

How to Reduce Stress with Creative Writing

Lately, it feels as if there is this uncomfortable, worried energy that surrounds us. It affects us even when we aren’t at our most vulnerable, and it can be hard to move past that anxiety and worry without the proper tools. Reduce stress with creative writing! Getting creative and writing about your feelings is one of the best methods for alleviating unwanted anxiety.

Creative writing is a wonderful way to reduce stress because it allows us to really sit with our emotions and dig under the surface. Writing reduces stress because it helps people process their thoughts and emotions. It also helps you view the situation in a different way, because your thoughts have to be processed slowly in order to get the words down on paper. Writing is a safe place for you to let go of your bottled emotions without worrying about other people judging you.

In addition, creativity stimulates the brain, and it allows your mind to only focus on the task in front of you. This makes it more difficult for the mind to wander off to dark places. We spend a lot of time and mental energy on our problems–what if we put all that energy into creating another world?

Furthermore, the work that you create allows you to reflect on yourself. Self-reflection coupled with creative writing can strengthen your outlook on life because it helps you become more mindful. If you have a clear idea of who you are and what you are feeling, it is easier to find a solution.

Finally, if you want to start writing, do not let the fear of “not being good enough” stop you from starting your writing journey. Cozying up in a quiet corner, putting on relaxing music and taking deep breaths will help you focus on writing. If you aren’t sure what to write about, here are some helpful prompts.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

Why I think essential oils are rad! Part I

Why I think essential oils are rad! Part I

I was an essential oil skeptic. I thought, “How in the world can smelling something pretty help me emotionally – let alone physically.” I went to one of those parties dead-set not to buy a thing. After trying them, I bought a set. Soon, I was staying up way too late to read about the science behind these mysterious oils. Now, I have a full-on collection.

With copious amounts of research, I began to understand what comprises an essential oil. Yes, they often smell good, but they are also so much more!

There are a few different ways to use essential oils, including aromatically, topically and internally*.

Additionally, they support multiple health domains – physical, emotional and spiritual.

Let’s begin, in the first article in a 3-part series, with their typical association, how they smell.

Aromatic/olfactory

Humans are ten thousand times more capable of smelling than tasting, and we experience scent long before it reaches our cognitive brains. In fact, scent is the only sense (of the five senses) that relays messages directly to the limbic system of the brain – the “emotional and memory center” – and bypasses the slower cortex.

This is why the brain establishes a strong emotional connection between certain smells and memories, and why scent can access the unconscious (what we typically term that which is less accessible by the cortex) and can conjure almost visceral imagery and associations.

Brain tidbit: Smell stimulates the olfactory bulb, which converts the information into a neural code. This code is then, in turn, relayed to the limbic system of the brain (emotional center), the hippocampus (short-term memory center), the hypothalamus (long-term memory), the pituitary gland (master gland) and other endocrine glands. These glands secrete hormones in response, which can restore hormonal balance depending on the initial code, aka the scent, inputted into the system. In short, essential oils have the capacity to alter chemical messages, relayed within the limbic system of the brain!

The Brand I Trust

Rarely do I promote a specific product. However, I going to make an exception here. I use and, can highly recommend, doTERRA for multiple reasons, but my top 3 are:

1) Quality (you can rest assured these oils are not adulterated – aka “cut” – to reduce costs),

2) Sustainable and ethical harvesting through their co-impact sourcing, and

3) A corporate culture of caring with numerous initiatives underway (doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, a non-profit seeking to free the world of disease and poverty and “ultimately empower impoverished communities with the tools needed to become self-reliant”).

And, one more for good measure – their science is extremely impressive! And, you know I like that!

To learn more, feel free to contact me or click here.

Stay tuned for our next article that explores the science behind topical usage.

 

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Dayna Wood Creative Life Coach

Dayna Wood, EdS, LMHC, NBCC, REAT

Dayna is the founder of Integrative Counsel, where she shows stressed-out professionals how to reignite their innate creative wisdom and spark new meaning and adventure in their lives through the power of brain science. She delights in combining out-of-the-box thinking with solid scientific research, so her clients get the best of both worlds.