Creativity Articles

Why You Don’t Need to Be More Confident to Achieve Big Goals

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

procrastination strategiesWe often assume that in order to achieve our goals, we need to become more confident. We need to work through our deep-seated self-doubts and then take action. Because then we’ll be ready. Then we’ll be able to achieve what we want to achieve. We’ll feel more secure with ourselves. We’ll actually believe in ourselves.

While learning ways to be more confident can be valuable, you don’t need to put your goals on hold until you do.

What Habits Are Best for Channeling Creativity?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

paintbrushwithcolorsWhen I tell people that I’ve been working on Better Than Before, my book about habit change, one of the questions that people most often ask me is: “What habits are best for creativity?” They want to know what habits help people think creatively — and also, actually produce.

Often, people make the case for adopting a particular habit by pointing to a renowned figure who practiced that habit, with great success. For instance:

Intrusive Thoughts: When Having a Great Imagination Seems Like a Curse

Monday, March 16th, 2015

woman painting

At any given time I can bring to mind a fatal accident. Something violent and tragic is upon me, and it’s going to happen any second.

Riding in the car — a vehicle will suddenly crash into the back of us and send us careening off the freeway. Walking the dog — a larger animal will come out of nowhere and eviscerate my pet. Blowing out the candles on my birthday cake — a gas line will explode. Sitting in front of an open window — someone will reach inside and hit me over the head.

Spring Cleaning: Surprising Strategies for Finally Organizing Your Space

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Tough_Love_BSPThis spring you might be planning to declutter. Because after multiple attempts to get organized, you’re still not seeing much progress.

Or maybe you decide against decluttering because you think you’re disorganized by nature. Maybe you think you don’t have time to make big changes in your home.

How to Mindfully Navigate Technology in Today’s Wired World

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

lamenting-allure-technologyIn 2012, writer Christina Crook gave up the Internet for 31 days. She disabled data on her smartphone and turned off email. She documented her “Internet fast” by writing a letter a day (by hand or using a typewriter) and mailing it to a friend. Her friend would then scan it and post it to the blog “Letters from a Luddite.”

According to Crook in her book The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World, “”I was tired of Facebook mediating my relationships and discontented with my compulsion to constantly check-in online. I knew the Internet was allowing me to emotionally disengage from myself and my loved ones. I was living in a constant state of information overload and a vacuum of joy. I had too much information and not enough wonder.”

What is it Like to Be in Love?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

hoffman-artI created this piece in 2004 as part of a heuristic research project in my second year of grad school at Southwestern College in Santa Fe, NM. The objective was to perform this qualitative research study to gain understanding about a topic of our choosing. My research topic was love. I specifically wanted to know what it was like to be in love. Looking back, my time in grad school was a period of falling in love with myself.

Each class I painted while considering the question, “What is it like to be in love?” Through the act of creating and witnessing the mirror image of my implicit beliefs I understood the experience of loving. I don’t remember any of my exact thoughts that arose while I painted. However, I do recall joy while working on this painting, peace upon its completion.

How Personal Writing Can Positively Affect Mental Health

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

The Power of Writing: 3 Types of Therapeutic WritingWhen I write, I aim to get my work published and share my stories with others, hoping that it could leave an impact of some kind. If I can touch at least one person with my writing, I deem the whole process worth it.

“If I can string words together to explain life, in some small and meaningless way, that’s what I feel most authentic doing,” Abby Norman wrote in her essay on Medium. “Even if it’s nothing profound, even if it’s just a good joke — if someone reads the words they need for a moment, that’s enough.”

That sentiment instantly resonated.

The Myth of the Creative Genius

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

The Correlation Between Creativity and SchizophreniaWe tend to romanticize creativity and innovation. We think of a select group of scientists, philosophers, inventors, artists, authors and composers as different from the rest of us. After all, the rest of us are mere mortals.

We put these individuals in a special category called “genius.” We assume these individuals — like Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Mozart and Marie Curie — had what we don’t, and thereby are the only ones who can be creative, the only ones who can create.

We assume creation is a magical, mystical process that regular people just aren’t privy to. We assume creation happens spontaneously through aha! moments and epiphanies that strike like lightning. We assume creativity is like a stroll along a quiet street or a steady stream: smooth, effortless, graceful, forward moving.

What Makes a Highly Sensitive Person?

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

serious-female-faceMy mom called me her “flapper” when I was a baby. Whenever I got excited, I would flap my arms, like I was young chick taking off for flight … in front of a hawk. I still do that, to some extent, but I manage to keep the arm movements to a minimum extension.

I am easily excitable, a “highly sensitive person,” as defined by Elaine Aron in her bestseller, The Highly Sensitive Person. If you answer yes to most of these questions on her website, you’re probably in the club, which holds 15 to 20 percent of human beings:

Low-Cost, Creative Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your Partner

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Low-Cost, Creative Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your PartnerValentine’s Day — like any holiday where we give gifts — can create immense pressure to buy the right thing or devise an elaborate experience. Many people worry about disappointing their loved one. They assume that pricey or extravagant presents are the way to go.

However, as clinical psychologist Kathy Nickerson, Ph.D, said, “the best gifts are something thoughtful and personal.”

Life coach Nova Reed, MA, CLC, suggested couples make an agreement to give gifts from the heart — “no wildly extravagant gifts, no marriage proposals, no grand expectations, just the purest, sweetest expression of romance and love.”

26 Creative & Curious Questions to Deepen Your Connection with Your Partner

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

The Value of Human TouchAn important part of building a connection with your partner is knowing their inner life. What are they thinking and feeling? What were their dreams as a child? What are their dreams today?

Another important part is knowing how they feel about your relationship (and your partner knowing how you feel, as well). Even reminiscing about the early days of your relationship and how it’s evolved can strengthen your bond.

Here are 26 questions from Philipp Keel’s book All About Us to help you explore these elements. Each of you can first reflect on the questions in your journals and then discuss them together (or talk about them as you go).

The Power of Writing: 3 Types of Therapeutic Writing

Monday, January 19th, 2015

The Power of Writing: 3 Types of Therapeutic WritingSome of us think that writing is only for writers. But writing is for all of us. As Julia Cameron notes in her book The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, “I believe we all come into life as writers.”

Writing can be beneficial for all of us, because it can be therapeutic. One of the most powerful parts of therapy is cultivating the ability to observe our thoughts and feelings, said Elizabeth Sullivan, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco. And that’s what writing helps us do.

“Most of us do not think in complete sentences but in self-interrupted, looping, impressionistic cacophony,” she said. Writing helps us track our spinning thoughts and feelings, which can lead to key insights (e.g., I don’t want to go to that party; I think I’m falling for this person; I’m no longer passionate about my job; I realize how I can solve that problem; I’m really scared about that situation.)

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