Posts tagged ‘creativity’

April 24, 2011

From overwhelmed to calm

by Dandy

We are all powerful people.  But powerful people have their limits.  How is your power being weakened throughout the days, weeks, months as we lead our professional, home, and personal lives?  There are aspects of our lives that can be creative, happy, and engaging in the right setting, but all too frequently we find ourselves overwhelmed and doubting our abilities.

We certainly all know the feelings of being overwhelmed and over extended.  Of having to put our time and energy into the frustrations of life.  In a state of being over extended we may find that our personal relationships are suffering.  We may find ourselves uninspired to connect in meaningful ways with our loved ones.  For some of us may find our jobs have become our primary relationship and our job has become an unforgiving taskmaster.

Health can suffer.  We may find ourselves unable to fall asleep or stay asleep with the nagging worries we have.  Unhealthy eating or not eating enough, our bodies become lethargic and weakened.  Purposeful exercise feels like it would be a luxury.  We are in a state of overwhelm when…

*Our shoulders feel the weight of the world on them.

* We wake up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts of worry.

*  We don’t look forward to doing what once brought us great happiness.

*  We find ourselves thinking if we only worked harder or did better than we could make it all work out.

Different choices need to be made when we are overwhelmed.  The following strategy will be able to help identify and get out of the over extendedness and prevent it from happing again.

  Know Your Limits

We must be able to recognize when we are over extended.  So many of us have been fighting and pushing for so long that we see it as normal.  Everyone of us has signs that let us know we’ve hit our limit and those signs are present before we are overwhelmed.  This is the line between being happily busy and productive to being overwhelmed.  To discover our limits we need to think back to a time to when we were happily busy and productive…functioning, not stressed.  What were we doing?  How were we doing it?  Discovering our limits requires an inner journey to discover how we want the rhythm of our life to happen.  By knowing our limits we can avoid or notice it more quickly and be able to correct it sooner.

  Change Priorities

When in the state of overwhelm there is a different way of prioritizing  that supports us, it is a mindset of crisis intervention, so to speak.  Rather than looking at the most important items and plugging away, look to complete the easiest.  So the project that can be done the fastest and easiest.

  Focus On the Inner Journey

Being overwhelmed is a state of mind.  Thoughts such as, “how am I going to get all of this done?” and “I don’t have any time for me anymore.”  Feelings of anxiety, frustration, and fatigue are telling us that we are running on fumes.  We must be mindful of filling ourselves up, with creativity, positivity, joy, and vitality.  This is our fuel.  When we recognize that our positive emotions are depleting, we must give ourselves the time and attention necessary to bring balance back into our lives.

  Restful Days

Just as our bodies need recharging, so do our minds.  This requires rest on a regular basis.  This means taking a day out of every week where the focus is on rest.  The rest of our days are already filled up with work, school, laundry, and grocery shopping.  A day of rest requires a different sort of energy… one of calmness, recharging, relaxing, and fun.  By taking this one day a week for ourselves, we are supported in keeping our creativity high and the ability to meet whatever presents itself to us in a positive manner.

Make the choice to choose a strategy that will have you transforming feelings of being over extended into feelings of calmness.  Know that you deserve it.

December 30, 2010

The Highly Sensitive Person Part 2

by Dandy

If you have ever been told, “you are too sensitive,” or “you need a thicker skin,” chances are you are a highly sensitive person.  Those of us who are highly sensitive have heard these comments all our lives.  It is very difficult to get a person who is not highly sensitive to understand what it is like to have our kind of experiences.  It would be like asking an elephant what it is like to be a butterfly.  That elephant could spend its long life studying butterflies, maybe even try to get in touch with his inner butterfly self.  An elephant cannot stop ever being an elephant and a highly sensitive person (hsp) cannot stop being highly sensitive.  Some people may view this innate ability as a weakness, because there is no therapy, exercise, or pill to fix it.  There are some of us hs individuals who do not wish to “fix it” anyway.  One reason being is that the non-highly sensitive person can benefit from our compassion.  Compassion is just one of many wonderful traits the hsp possesses.  Other benefits are creativity, intuition, right brain intellect, and strong multi-tasking abilities among so many others.  A person not being able to understand the hsp doesn’t mean that they cannot learn how to treat us with kindness and love.  The example set out by Jesus is proof.  In my opinion Jesus was a hsp and he encouraged and inspired great love and compassion from others. 

Hsp make excellent healers, counselors, advisors, and leaders in part to our intuition and ability to read people.  We pick up on the emotions of others very, very easily.  Hsp have strong artistic, musical, and writing abilities.  We have an appreciation for art, animals, and children.  We can read people by their tone of voice, body language.  We also feel deep, profound sense of justice and fairness, hence the reason why we make great leaders and authority figures.  We have a keen attention to detail and fastidiousness.  We have a strong connection to nature and the spiritual world.  Many people who have psychic abilities are hs.  We revel in peace, quiet, and calm and have the ability to get into deep meditation.  Our relationships are usually deep, meaningful, and can last a very long time, because we are loyal people.  When we fall in love we usually fall fast and hard.

There is a flip side to being hs.  We are easy to hurt and can become quite isolated and cynical.  We are slow to heal from trauma and it is crucial for the hsp to be taught to appreciate and how to work with our sensitive natures.  Since the publication of Dr. Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person over 10 years ago, acceptance of the hsp has been gaining in the psychological community and in our culture.  There are now educators, therapists, psychologists, and life coaches who specialize in working with hsp.  More and more books are being written to help people who are highly sensitive.  If you have a hs child, you owe it to them to educate yourself about this, especially the younger they are.  It may even take a hsp to point out that a child is hs to a non-highly sensitive parent.  It is also important for the hs child to appreciate their unique traits and learn how to keep themselves from being overwhelmed.  Children often do well with yoga and meditation.  It is important to not label them as overly sensitive.  There is no such thing as being overly sensitive.  There is such a thing as a sensitive person being overwhelmed with too much stimuli, and unable to handle it.

I remember as a child the noise and chaos of my 1st grade classroom.  One particular day the high-pitched voices, overly bright lights, the heat of the classroom, the noise coming from a record player in the background became all too much.  I needed a moment to put my head down in all this stimulation.  So that’s what I did.  I covered my arms over my head to block out the excessive stimuli.  I see now that what I was trying to do was center myself, only of course being 6 years old, I did not have the vocabulary to explain my needs.  My teacher Mrs. Johnson was worried I may be ill.  She brought in another teacher to see about me.  I couldn’t explain myself to them.  But having these 2 large adults stand over me made me feel there was something wrong with me.  None of the other children needed a break from the chaos like I did.  I felt alone.  It was the first time in my life I felt defected.   Fortunately with Dr. Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person these situations do not have to happen.  I believe it should be a required read for every teacher.

It’s taken many years for me to realize that being a highly sensitive person really, truly is a gift.  By no means is it a defect.  I was just surrounded by people who didn’t understand it.  I love having insight into problems that others do not seem to have.  I love having a perspective that others do not.  I love hearing from people, “oh, I didn’t think of it that way.”   Many, many times in my life I’ve been told I have a strong and unique insight.   So despite the hurtful and confusing moments of my early years, I would not change being a hsp.  I choose to see the pros over the cons.  I’ve stopped apologizing for being sensitive.  I’ve honed in on my gifts and am aware of how it benefits me and others.

The world needs all sorts of people.  We need the straight talking, tell it like it is sort.  We need their tenacity and strength.  People who don’t need to contemplate and deliberate, they get in and get the job done.  Those are wonderful qualities.  The world needs the sensitive types as well.  We need insightful people who just seem to “know” things.   People who bring forth great compassion and understanding.  The world is complex and so are the people who are in it.  Isn’t it extraordinary?

November 8, 2010

Emotional & intellectual benefits of reading

by Dandy

I have been a life long lover of books.  I’m a chain reading bookworm who knows every square inch of my public library.  When I was a teenager my parents always knew where to find me – in the library’s basement on the green sofa curled up with a book.  I never, ever got into trouble as a kid, because I didn’t have the time to get in trouble with my voracious reading schedule.  I guess you could say books were my recreational drug.    It was my love of reading various types of literature that compelled me to pursue a degree in English.  All I wanted to do with my life was read and study. 

There are so many articles everywhere about our physical health.  We all know that yoga is good for the body and soul.  We all know to eat our veggies and fruit, because it makes us feel better.  We all know that exercise is the key to a long life of good health.  We all know the vitamins we need.  But what about reading?  What are the health benefits to reading?  Read on and find out.

Stress Relief – Reading is therapeutic.  It stops us from ruminating about our own worries.  Many different studies have shown it to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and social isolation.

Rejuvenating – Being alone with a book recharges us emotionally. 

Entertaining – Reading will make you laugh, cry, blush.  It will challenge your core beliefs.

Right Brain Stimulation – Reading opens us to new possibilities.  It makes us ask, “what would I do in this situation?’  It stimulates us mentally and increases concentration and focus. 

Relaxation – We all need this.   The beauty and rhythm of language can calm and relax. 

Widens Vocabulary – Reading causes us to be alert and curious to new words.

Intellectual Curiosity – As our vocabulary increases so does the desire to read more challenging material.

Expands Reality– Reading takes us out of our geography and time line.  It expands reason and opens us to more diversity, customs, ethnicity, and lifestyle.

Builds Self Esteem – Reading makes us more knowledgeable about a certain topic hence increases our confidence.  People will look to us for answers. 

Memory Improvement – Reading requires remembering details, facts, figures, plot lines, characters, themes, and structures.  It stretches our brain.

Improves Creativity – Reading will give us exposure to new ideas and information.  It inspires and encourages innovation. 

Sometimes a single book can change our entire lives.  We are made better people because of reading.  It can take us on an unexpected course.  It shapes our personalities and beliefs.  You don’t need to read War and Peace or The Canterbury Tales to experience the health benefits of reading.  If you are not much of a reader, start with a short book.  Or read poetry if you have trouble focusing on anything too long.  Read something today that you have never thought about reading.  Challenge yourself, you will be healthier because of it.

What books have you read that had a profound effect on you?  What topics have you been wanting to read, but haven’t gotten around to it?  What is your favorite genre?

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