Maybe it’s just me, but I get told to focus, focus, focus my thoughts—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? I’m pretty sure there is such a place.
I’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 they’re filled with great information. I usually find a sunny place to lay down and ask the question that’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 word 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 doesn’t know. Meditation is thinking about nothing—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 add incense and music. It frees the mind from thinking about doing the laundry or scrubbing the floor. Then, grab a 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. It’s like opening the cellar after a long winter. Notice and celebrate the variety of thoughts you have. This actually can feel decadent if you’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, you’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,