As creative people, we may experience higher intensity emotions, imaginations, sensitivity and thinking. But we may need relief at times from our teeming brains and active inner lives to reduce stress and be more creative.
Martina McBride talked about creating her album “Everlasting“:
“I wanted to make a record that was easy, where you don’t have to sit and listen to 12 new sets of lyrics and try to figure out ‘What was she thinking?’ I don’t care if it’s background music, something like comfort food, in a way.
“I think we can use that. We’re all so busy and so distracted, there’s so much information. It’s nice not to have to think sometimes.”
[From article: For the fun of it, Martina McBride tries R&B, By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times April 8, 2014.]
[Photo from facebook.com/martinamcbride]
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“Dear Brain, Please Shut Up!” – this photo is from Arianna Huffington’s Facebook page – her comment: “I know something that can help with this…#Meditation”
The image reminds me of the concept of Intensities and Excitabilities.
One example: Stephen King has said: “I’ve taken off two months, three months at a time, and, by the end, I get really squirrelly. My night life, my dream life, gets extremely populated and crazed. It’s as though something in there is running all the time.”
From my article Developing Creativity: Excitabilities – Our Teeming Brains.
[See another of many articles on Excitabilities at the bottom of the page.]
Arianna Huffington on mindfulness and meditation:
“There is more and more scientific evidence about the impact of mindfulness and meditation in our lives. The list of all the conditions that these practices impact for the better—depression, anxiety, heart disease, memory, aging, creativity—sounds like a label on snake oil from the 19th century!
“Except this cure-all is real, and there are no toxic side effects. Indeed, 2013 was the year when meditation and mindfulness finally and overwhelmingly stopped being seen as something vaguely flaky, vaguely New Age-y, definitely California, and fully entered the mainstream.” [From interview with Mark Hyman, MD on Amazon.com]
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Calming an overactive mind
“Mindful Awareness is the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental and emotional experiences. Mindful Awareness has scientific support as a means to reduce stress, improve attention, boost the immune system, reduce emotional reactivity, and promote a general sense of health and well-being.”
That statement is from the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at UCLA, which has resources including articles and free meditation mp3 downloads.
Director and Founding Member of the center, Susan L. Smalley, Ph.D., notes in her article Mindfulness And Meditation In The Modern World, “Perhaps mindfulness, meditation, and other mind-body practices (such as yoga and tai chi) are increasing in popularity in the West because they let us experience internal investigation, without it being so verbal in nature.
“They provide us with an awareness of the chatter within and around us, they provide us with a gift of listening, they provide us with great insight into our very nature. It is a misperception to think that meditation means silencing the mind, silencing thoughts or feelings; it is a process of learning about the mind, full of the complexity it holds.”
Others describe the emotional health and mental clarity values of silencing and slowing down.
Author and intuition consultant Nancy Rosanoff notes, “Because our culture bombards us from every side to keep busy, we really do have to make an active effort to do nothing.”
Rosanoff suggests encouraging the incubation period of the creative process by finding activities that will take your mind off the problem: “Take a day off, get some exercise, cook a nice meal. In addition, there are some things you can do to help access your intuitive side: playing an instrument, meditating, doing yoga, and yes, even sleeping. You can’t force an illumination; don’t even try.”
Rosanoff is author of Intuition Workout : A Practical Guide to Discovering and Developing Your Inner Knowing.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Coming to Our Senses, points out, “It is a commonly held view that meditation is a way to shut off the pressures of the world or of your own mind, but this is not an accurate impression. Meditation is neither shutting things out nor off. It is seeing clearly, and deliberately positioning yourself differently in relationship to them.”
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Gretchen Rubin writes in a post on her blog The Happiness Project: Twelve tips for stopping the buzz in your brain :
“We all know the feeling of being overwhelmed, of being beset by distractions. The problem is – too many things are clamoring for your attention.
“People are trying to reach you, by phone, email, text or IM. There are the interesting subjects you want to learn more about, on the TV or the internet or the newspaper.
“It’s enough to drive you crazy. You lose your train of thought, you forget what you’re doing, you have trouble re-engaging in a task, you feel besieged.”
She offers a list of practical ideas, including:
“If you keep the TV turned on in the background – while you’re getting dressed, say – turn it off.
“Turn off the radio, too. Even in the car. Don’t bring your iPod.
“I have a sticky note in my bedroom that reads, “Quiet mind.” Whenever I see it, I drop my shoulders, relax my jaw, and try to smooth out my thoughts. It actually works.”
See more ideas in post Drew Barrymore and Gretchen Rubin on authentic happiness as a choice
Gretchen Rubin had a career in law, and is a graduate of Yale and Yale Law School. Her books include:
The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.
Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life.
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Emotional Health Resources: Programs, books, articles and sites to improve your emotional wellbeing.
For more on high intensity inner experiences, see articles on my High Ability site, such as Excitabilities and Gifted People – an intro by Susan Daniels.