Author: Larry Mager
It’s easy to forget how often we use creative thinking in our daily lives. It might be coming up with a unique business strategy, planning an event, creating a piece of art from scratch, or even figuring out what kind of healthy dinner you can throw together based on what’s in the fridge. Unfortunately we often also run into mental blocks that keep us from reaching our potential, whether it’s in-the-moment as you’re working on a project or if you just feel generally uninspired. Also, the winter months can leave us feeling tired and uninspired. Here are a few ways you can get your creative juices going.
Identify and remedy the block
It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of day-to-day, but it can inadvertently cause us to wear blinders when it comes to our projects. Sometimes you have to take a step back to see what the problem is—if there’s really a problem at all—before you can solve it. There are a few common creative blocks, including seeking the “right” answer, overly-logical thinking, strict rule-following, and being too practical. Approach the project or idea from a totally new angle, even if on the surface it seems a little absurd. See what kinds of new thoughts and visions you have from this shifted perception and take note of all of them. You might unexpectedly solve part or all of the problem now, or look back on the list later and feel inspired in a new way.
Catch up with other creatives
Bouncing ideas off of other people can open the door to all kinds of new inspiration. You can call up another artist or professional in your field to meet for coffee, or make it a group event. Even if you can’t discuss the details of an ongoing project, you can vent about a type of issue you’re running into and see what advice others offer about overcoming it. You can even have a weekly game night—card games tend to be great for both social and mental benefits—where you all gather and discuss your ventures. What’s working, what’s not, what’s inspired you lately. By having a game as a buffer, the mood will stay light and happy, and you might realize venting to those who understand while having a good time may be exactly what you needed.
Indulge in your passion
Maybe you’re an artist feeling blocked over a painting or a marketing executive in need of ideas for a new campaign. When you’re having trouble doing what you’re good at, you start to doubt yourself and become even more discouraged. Instead of dwelling in what you’re struggling with, shift gears into a project you’ll enjoy! Head to your favorite scenic spot and paint, sketch, or write out your frustrations. Make up a project if you must: create a brief PR campaign for Superman if his identity was revealed or put together an advertising plan for Cheers if it decided to franchise. Even silly, fictitious projects can get your creative juices flowing, so take a few minutes to refocus on a similar, but fun, project.
Get inspired before bedtime
Try looking at a collection of your favorite artist’s work, reading a book by someone you admire, or listening to music that inspires you as your last task before bed. There have been studies that demonstrated that memory retention actually improves if something is learned just before sleeping. You can even simply sit back, close your eyes, and visualize all the things that have inspired you: the color of the ocean during a storm, a sculpture you saw at an exhibit, or perhaps a brilliant advertisement you see on your daily commute. Give yourself at least 15 minutes each night for a little inspiration time, and commit to it whether you’re at home or away.
Use these techniques as the need arises, or better yet implement a few into your daily routine. Learn which approaches work best for you and which don’t. You probably won’t be able to stop yourself from ever feeling blocked, but you will know how to overcome it!
About the Author:
Larry Mager is passionate about the study of how to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. He believes in regular exercise of the brain as a means to do just that. Give yours a workout with some fun, brain-stimulating games at ReadyBrain.net.
Photo credit: mcredifine
Lately, I've been thinking...
....a lot about strength and the inner spirit.
Many years ago, when under hardships, I pandered my "poor me" syndrome. When experiencing sadness, I allowed external influences like "Facebook likes" to define my happiness and self-worth. Time and time again, "bad" things happened, but one day, I realized I went through this scenario various times throughout my life, and I finally put my foot down. It was the same song, just a different beat.
I knew that "bad" times were a cycle, or a brief moment in life. Life goes on and good things will come. God threw countless stones that were pieces of strength that pinged off my aura and inner world.
There is nothing more powerful than overcoming the wallows of your mind and rising above hardship. Those are real-life Warriors. And our true historical warriors, the Vikings, were a civilization that never gave up on their raids no matter how many they failed.
Never Give Up.
As always, inspired by the sun,
Join Mind Body Soul Food Every Sunday for some inspiration -Sunspiration. Inspiration Every Sunday in 150 Words or Less. Get inspired everyday with our Instagram account, sunspiration_everyday with inspirational quotes, motivational messages & sweet nothings.
Oh Germany. Where has time gone? I can't believe I've been home from living in Germany for 13 months now. It still feels like yesterday.
February is one of my favorite months. Maybe it's because of mine and Charles Dickens birthday, and I love my zodiac sign, Aquarius, but some of the most brilliant minds and artists have been born in Feburary: Abe Lincoln. George Washington, Bob Marley, Nicholas Copernicus, Laura Ingells Wilders, Johnny Cash and more!
While living in Germany, we experienced something called a Grünkohlfahrt near the end of February. Kohl means, “cabbage.” Grünkohl, directly translated, means, “green cabbage,” but Americans know it as kale. Fahrt means “ride or tour.”
It's a dying Northern German tradition, but today, I want to keep that spirit alive. A green cabbage tour is simply a day spent wandering in the forest with friends, drinking, eating and playing games. The leader of the pack pit stops the wagon for a shot of schnapps and a quick stop for a snack.
You can read more about my experience at: Grünkohl Tour: A Northern German Tradition that Celebrates Kale
Why do Germans do this? The green cabbage tour is not an excuse to drink like St. Patty's Day, but its to honor the earth and celebrate the harvest of kale. In Germany, kale is only available during the winter months. That's right folks. They do not have the luxury of eating kale salads, or green smoothies, in the summer because it is a winter vegetable with february marking the end of it's season.
Many towns in Germany also host a green cabbage festival. It's cute. It's quaint. It reignites their peasant and pagan roots to celebrate the blessings from the earth.
The forests in Germany are steeped with deep wisdom. We were lucky on our tour because it didn't snow. The air smelled fresh and the tiny little village rested in peace and serenity.
I wish our American traditions rooted back to nature, but sadly modern day living is all about work, work and work. And our relationship with food in our culture is very unhealthy.
When discovering a culture with ancient roots, it's amazing how food becomes a metaphor for life. And Germans definitely have a connection with their sausages. Even a simple quote such as, "Es gent um die Wurst," which literally translates, "It's about the sausage" means, "It's do or die/now or never the moment of truth."
This recipe is simple to make. All you need to do is put everything in the crockpot for six hours. I did add the potatoes partway to ensure that they didn't break down like mashed potatoes. Cooked grunkohl looks more like spinach, so you are more than welcome to add more broth to the recipe.
Original recipes include cooking the grunkohl with bacon (or bacon fat), pork belly, bones or really anything from a pig, which aides in the breaking down and creaminess of the kale. At the end of the day, the vegan version is just as flavorful.
I conclude with one of my favorite Germany sayings below:
"Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei."
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com