Maybe itâ€™s just me, but I get told to focus, focus, focus my thoughtsâ€”often. Sometimes I wish I had a spray that kept my mind from wandering, the way hairspray keeps my locks from blowing in the wind.
On the other hand, I wonder if there is value in not being focused. I know, it seems almost sacrilegious to make this suggestion at the beginning of a new year. After all, this is the time to set goals, prepare for success and settle down to business after the long holiday season. But what about a little day dreaming before we set sail for the new year? What about letting our minds wander into the land of collective creativity? Iâ€™m pretty sure there is such a place.
Iâ€™ve made a list of five ways to let the mind twirl and whirl creativity:
Dream naps are fun, not only because you have an excuse to sleep, but also because theyâ€™re filled with great information. I usually find a sunny place to lay down and ask the question thatâ€™s on my mind. A few years ago, while preparing for a presentation for the Arizona Authors Association, I was stuck in choosing a title for my talk. I closed my eyes before the nap and wondered what an engaging title that included the wordÂ confidence could be. Mysteriously, when I woke up, the words Rock Solid Confidence came to mind. I liked it so much, I used it for the title of my first book.
Meditation followed by writing is an effective way to discover what your conscious mind doesnâ€™t know. Meditation is thinking about nothingâ€”which is counterintuitive. Dreaming up something by NOT thinking about it? Yet, it works. There are many ways to meditate, but I like to sit in a comfortable position, focus on a lit candle, and addÂ incense and music. It frees the mind from thinking about doing the laundry or scrubbing the floor. Then, grab aÂ journal and write. It takes a bit of self-trust to pick up a pen after being quiet for awhile, yet something usually arrives. Be grateful, rather than judgmental, about what you write.
Walking can be a form of meditation if you pay attention to your body. Awaken your Force! Sometimes when I walk, I imagine that with every step, anything non-essential in my life falls away. Other times, I notice my feet and the individual parts of my legs and body that allow me to move. I thank them for their faithful service. This somehow clears the mind, leaving space to welcome new ideas. Where could you walk?
Let your mind wander, with no constrictions. Breathe. Itâ€™s like opening the cellar after a long winter. NoticeÂ and celebrateÂ the variety of thoughts you have. This actually can feel decadent if youâ€™ve spent time avoiding or herding your thoughts. It may take an hour or a day, yet this mind-wandering has the potential to take you past the place that keeps you stuck and frees you from your same-old preconceived solutions.
Water is relaxing, whether you are walking near the ocean or taking a shower. In fact, Wallace J. Nichols wrote a book, Blue Mind: Mental Health Benefits of Being Near Water, based on his scientific research on the health benefits of water. Just going to the ocean or walking near a lake increases the feel-good hormones of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin; while stress level hormones like cortisol decrease. I love it when science proves what we all know to be true.
As the new year begins, I hope you are able to get a little wild in your head. By using some of these methods of releasing the old and welcoming the new, youâ€™ll be set to move forward. Once you get to a point of decision, focus on your goals and plans as if you were using an extra-firm hold spray for your mind.
May your self-trust build confidence,