Tag Archives: fear

Frey Freyday – Anxiety

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

ANXIETYAnxiety is an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behaviour

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength. Charles Spurgeon

If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days. Kris Carr

The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking. Wayne Dyer

People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on. Eckhart Tolle

Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety. Plato

WORD TO LIVE BY:

 

Anxiety– something that distracts us from life and living, something that keeps us from being happy, doing our best, enjoying the moment. Often, not always, our anxiety is very much able to be controlled.

 

Anxiety is a big subject. I was getting a little anxious about writing this. We all suffer from some sort of anxiety. It may be little things around the house, issues with the kids, concerns about a relationship, often finances, careers, health. We have anxiety about our world, our culture, our politics.

 

Some of us probably focus on the negative a little more than others in some situations vs others because of our life experiences, perspectives, and circumstances.

 

As a country, the US has more than its fair share of anxiety. If you think about it, we have some of the highest standards of living, if not the highest standards of living, in the whole world. Like some countries, for the most part in American, we don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, we have a safe home, we have access to healthcare in many cases, and we generally can meet all of our basic needs as a human being.

 

In some third-world countries, families share small tin shacks with dirt floors and a bag of beans and rice means the world to them. Getting sick is a big concern and a simple illness can lead to worse things. Safety and security is often a big concern. Out world looks pretty good next to that.

 

So if we have a better society, in general, why are we so anxious? Does the constant news media help? Probably not. Does the envy, jealousy, comparing ourselves to others on social media help? (We often see the perfect versions of our friends and relatives on social media- all the good photos and we may think, ‘what’s wrong with my life?’)

 

American citizens are prescribed and use A LOT of anxiety medication. Sometimes these help. Sometimes they cause other side effects like dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting. Other sides effects include thoughts of suicide, confusion, aggression, hallucinations, sleep problems, severe drowsiness and other issues – none of which will help you feel less anxious, I’m guessing. One side effect of an anxiety medication actually stated, “may cause anxiety or depression.”

 

In a recent article, (msn.com by Lindsay Holmes 8/30/18) Stephen Colbert spoke about anxiety in his life. He stated,Nobody ever asked me what was wrong! It went on for months. I would go to the show, and I would curl up in a ball on the couch backstage and I would wait to hear my cue lines. Then I would uncurl and go onstage and I’d feel fine,” he said. “Which occurred to me at the time: Like, ‘Oh, you feel fine when you’re out here.’ And then as soon as I got offstage, I’d just crumble into a ball again. Nobody ever asked me what was wrong! It went on for months.”

 

Colbert said back then he took medication for his anxiety for a few days, which he said helped. But he ultimately decided that treatment plan wasn’t right for him. “I realized that the gears were still smoking. I just couldn’t hear them anymore,” he said. “But I could feel them, I could feel the gearbox heating up and smoke pouring out of me.”

 

An estimated 40 million American adults, or 18 percent of the adult population, are affected by anxiety each year. In addition to panic and excessive stress, it can cause headaches, stomach issues, rapid breathing, heart palpitations and more. But the good news is that anxiety is highly treatable: Therapy, medication, coping techniques or a combination of methods can help people manage anxiety and live well.

 

So what can we do? What do people do to cope with and/or overcome anxiety? The Internet is full of possible solutions. It could include changes in diet, reducing caffeine, taking Vitamin B, exercising, meditation, mindfulness, analyzing your thoughts, talking about anxiety, therapy, changing your inner thoughts/questions, and many other items.

 

For me, I find writing it down helps, writing out a solution or solutions. It is nice to know that one has options. I rarely enjoy going to the fitness center to exercise –sometimes I really dislike going – but afterwards I am always happy, and it really helps with any stress or anxiety I have, big or small stuff.

 

I read Eckhart Tolle years ago, and to paraphrase him, he basically stated that we often focus on negative things in the past that already happened or negative things that might happen in the future. In either case we really can’t change it right now, so it’s kind of a waste of time. We’re getting anxious for no reason. Tolle says we can feel better by just being in the moment, being present in the now. For a long time I thought this was silly – a simplification of our problems. One day, I started trying it. If I felt anxious about something I tried to catch myself, not be judgmental about it, but just redirect my thoughts into the present moment. I would focus on my breathing, the lighting, the air currents, the sounds – whatever was around me. You can’t focus on simple things like that AND focus on your worries at the same time. Sure, sometimes the problem was still there but I was able to approach it with less anxiety, in a calmer, relaxed state where I could perform better.

 

I read the above Wayne Dyer quote years ago and again, I felt that it was an esoteric sort of shrugging off of anxiety and I didn’t give it much weight. Then I was on vacation one week and returned to find that an ‘issue’ had been brewing at work. Had I been at work I would have been stressed about it, anxious and worried – even though there was nothing that I could do about it in any way. Instead, I was on vacation and didn’t know it was going on….so I wasn’t worried. In both cases I could not control the outcome or affect it in any way. So why be anxious? Easier said than done, sure, but true.

 

Someone also told me once that anxiety goes away a little when we have faith in a higher power, faith in ourselves, and faith in others….faith that things are going to work out.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

You can read more at www.onewebstrategy.com

BONUS  :   9 Ways to Get Rid of Anxiety in 5 Minutes or Less By Melanie Curtin

Whether you experience is of mild or extreme anxiety, there are steps you can take immediately to calm down and self-soothe. Here are a few of the best:

  1. Stand up straight

According to Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, “When we are anxious, we protect our upper body — where our heart and lungs are located — by hunching over.”

For immediate relief from anxiety, stand up, pull your shoulders back, plant your feet evenly and widely apart, and open your chest. Then breathe deeply. This posture, combined with deep breathing, helps your body remember that it’s not in danger right now, and that it is in control (not helpless). If you can’t stand up (i.e. you’re in your car), just pull your shoulders back and open up your chest. The most important thing is to stop hunching and breathe deeply.

 

  1. Play the 5-5-5 game

When you’re anxious, you’re often caught in a (negative) thought loop. Play this to get back into your body and stop anxiety fast:

Look around and name 5 things you can see.

List 5 sounds you can hear.

Move 5 parts of your body you can feel (i.e. rotate your ankle, wiggle your ears, nod your head up and down).

It might sound silly, but this works.

 

  1. Sniff lavender oil

Lavender oil has a lot of healing properties. It promotes a feeling of calm and supports deep, restful sleep. It can even help with headaches.

To help reduce anxiety, keep a bottle of lavender oil at your desk (or in purse if you have one). Breathe it in and/or massage it into your temples when you need a boost of peace. Bonus points for combining the sniffing with deep, even breaths.

 

  1. Watch a funny video

Yes, really. Watching a clip of your favorite comedian or blooper reel will help you stop feeling anxious fast. Why? Because you can’t laugh and stay anxious at the same time, physiologically. Your body relaxes after a bout of laughter in a way that gets rid of anxiety. Plus, according to the Mayo Clinic, laughter brings in oxygen-rich air, which stimulates your heart and lungs, and spikes your endorphins.

 

  1. Go for a brisk walk

Exercise is a long-proven way to lower anxiety. In addition to boosting your level of feel-good neurotransmitters, a brisk walk clears your mind and gets you breathing more deeply again–and anxiety is intimately linked to shallow breathing.

Studies also show that people who exercise vigorously on a regular basis are 25 percent less likely to develop an anxiety disorder.

 

  1. Accept your anxiety

This may sound counterintuitive, but Chansky says accepting your anxiety (instead of feeling ashamed or frustrated by it) will actually help you feel less anxious.

It doesn’t matter whether you inherited your anxiety from your family or your lifestyle, or both. It’s here now, and acknowledging that instead of fighting it frees you up to learn how to manage it. Accepting it doesn’t mean giving up, either. It means you stop spending energy berating yourself for being anxious and instead learn what works for you when it comes to self-soothing.

 

  1. Listen to the most relaxing song in the world

This song was engineered specifically to calm your nervous system. It was found to reduce anxiety by up to 65 percent. Here is a loop of it playing on repeat.

 

  1. Re-label what’s happening.

If you’re having a panic attack and your heart is racing, it’s easy to believe something like, “I’m going to die.” Instead of buying into this inaccurate thought, re-label it. Remind yourself: “This is a panic attack. I’ve had them before and they don’t actually kill me; they pass. This will also pass, and there’s nothing I need to do.”

In actuality, panic attacks are an activation of the body’s fight-or-flight response, which doesn’t kill you–it keeps you alive.

 

  1. Do something

Do anything. Clear a few things off your desk. Walk over to the kitchenette and get yourself a glass of water. Walk outside and find a flower to smell–it doesn’t matter. Doing an action interrupts your thought pattern, which is often where anxiety starts.

When it comes to stopping anxiety, self-soothing is actually a profound act of self-love.

Love on.

Published on: Aug 30, 2018

https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/9-ways-to-get-rid-of-anxiety-in-5-minutes-or-less.html

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Frey Freyday – Stress

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

STRESS- [stres] -physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension

If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days. Kris Carr

Putting in slightly less effort in times of high stress doesn’t mean you don’t care about your job; it means you care about yourself more. Kelly O’Laughlin

In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. Lee Iacocca

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. William James

Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. Hans Selye

Your mindset matters. It affects everything – from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being. Peter Diamandis

Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness. Shawn Achor

If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it. George Burns

Word to Live By:

Stress – strain, tension – often perceived or self-imposed – about a situation or thought

For achievers, stress is the word for fear. Typically fear of failure, fear of not meeting expectations, fear of not completing the task.

Sometimes when people ‘get stressed’, they prefer not to think, they avoid the situation, even escape in some manner. However, it is at that time when they need to focus and think.

Many people, and myself included, sometimes let ‘life run them’. Sometimes we left life happen to us, instead of having a plan or strategy and going out there and making things happen and taking some control over what we can control. Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management.

Sometimes we also get stressed about things that we can’t change. We get stressed by the weather, for instance. It is something we all have to deal with but we can’t change – so really why bother?

Also, being prepared helps reduce stress. If you have to do something without practice or preparation, you’re stressed. If you prepare and practice, you’ll feel more comfortable, confident and have less stress. (All things that we already know but it’s good to remind ourselves, from time to time.)
I think that it is helpful to distinguish between stress and stimulation. Having deadlines, setting goals, and pushing yourself to perform at capacity are stimulating. Stress is when you’re anxious, upset, or frustrated, and these things dramatically reduce your ability to perform.
Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible and allows us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.
Decades ago, most workers faced all sorts of stress – what I refer to as ‘real stress’ – physical labor, long hours, lack of safe conditions, more trying times. Today, many of us really don’t experience this same stress – we have time stresses, self-imposed stress, achiever’s stress, and more perceived stress. I think it is important to be aware of when you’re stress; be aware, accept it, and then ask what you can do to improve the situation or handle it differently.

Exercise, meditation, being aware and interrupting the stressful thoughts are easy ways to release stress. Next time you get stressed about something, catch yourself. It’s OK. Now interrupt that thought, take some deep breaths and think about something else.

To put things into perspective; think about something that you stressed about several years ago. Was it really that bad or important? Tony Robbins said something like, “Ten years from now you’ll laugh at whatever’s stressing you out today. So why not laugh now?”

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

You can read more at www.onewebstrategy.com

BONUS  : How to make stress your friend

 

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

Frey Freyday – Fear

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Fear is an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.

frey_freydays

 Sometimes, understanding their fears helps you to understand their actions and their pain. Plus, understanding their fears sometimes helps you to understand your own. Te amo,  The Universe www.tut.com

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.-Rosa Parks


Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.-Arthur Koestler


Everyone gets scared, everyone has fear. It’s what you do next that counts. It’s how you overcome the fear, or use it, that sets you apart. –L. James Frey

Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.-Marianne Williamson


Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.-Samuel Butler


To him who is in fear everything rustles.-Sophocles


Fear is excitement without breath.-Robert Heller


No good work is ever done while the heart is hot and anxious and fretted.-Olive Schreiner


If you can change your state of mind, then the fear will disappear. You need to change from a state of fear or uncertainty, to a state of certainty.-Tony Robbins


We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.-Eleanor Roosevelt


Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.-Mark Twain


I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.-Nelson Mandela

WORD TO LIVE BY:

Fear – a feeling that is natural, even valid emotion. However, we can’t let fear stop us, hold us back, or allow it to affect our decisions. Fear is a perception, not a reality.

How do these interrelate? ….Fear, hunger and passion:

I read somewhere that passion is like getting into first gear; it will get you going. Hunger is the vehicle that will take you there. It’s human nature to get excited about out dreams; it’s easy to spark the fires of passion, especially when you’re young. But sooner or later, when it comes time to get the job done, suddenly, our level of excitement wanes because we’re all afraid of one thing: failure. We fear making mistakes, looking silly, embarrassing ourselves….Here’s what’s great: Hunger will destroy that fear of failure.

Also, many people say that you shouldn’t fear, or that you should ignore your fears. I disagree. Fear means that you’re feeling life and you’re alive. Fear – any emotion – is an alert to you to pay attention, that there is change coming, or that you need to make a change. While I do like to approach life without focusing on fear, sometimes I disagree with the concept of fearlessness. If you have fear, it’s OK….just don’t stop. To say you’re fearless when you’re not may be silly, and it may be a silly battle to say others should be fearless. You don’t necessarily want to get rid of your fear; you need it to keep you alive. We’re all here because we had fear that preserved us. You could even say that there is a little bit of a lack of appreciation for fear when we say that we want to be fearless.

Fear is Boring: In her TED Talk, author Elizabeth Gilbert said; “But then, fear is the oldest, deepest and least subtle part of our emotional life, and so therefore it’s boring. It’s dull. It doesn’t have any nuance. So have a little conversation with your fear when it starts to get riled up when you’re trying to do something creative. Let it know, “I’m just trying to write a poem, no one’s going to die.” But don’t try to go to war against it, that’s such a waste of energy. Just converse with it and then move on…..”

Lastly, remember or consider that everyone is here to learn, and to learn a lesson we need to make mistakes, experience pain, failure, and other things – you can choose not to fear or label these things as good or bad. They’re just a lesson. The good or bad part is just our perception.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

BONUS  

Tim Ferriss’ fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question — “What’s the worst that could happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.

https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_ferriss_smash_fear_learn_anything

Frey Freyday-Reality

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

re·al·i·ty-[rēˈalədē]-NOUN-the world or the state of things as they actually exist

Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live! Bob Marley

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. Soren Kierkegaard

Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. Les Brown

It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean. We create our own realities.Tony Robbins

There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality. Jonas Salk

WORD TO LIVE BY:

Reality- something we create

Some say we create our own reality. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  I have read many times that our thoughts determine the present and future of what is contained within our lives.  It’s all about our choices.  How and what we choose to do, remember, upon what we focus, concentrate, or direct our attention, and where we spend our mental and emotional energies.

I’ve also heard people say “Our thoughts are prayers, and we are always praying.  Our thoughts are prayers, listen to what you’re saying.” Again, we create our reality.

I was in a room with a large group of people once. Two men were in the room who were in the Army in Vietnam, and both were in a specific battle where many people were killed. Few survived. One man reflected on the battle as horrible, seeing the worst in humanity, remembering the terrible things that happened and he did not seem to let go of the pain. He appeared to be old, frail, angry, lonely, and fearful. Another man, basically the same age reflected that even in such a horrible battle, he remembered his fellow soldiers trying to help him and others. He even remembered when an enemy acted honorably in one instance. While he still had emotional and physical scars, he didn’t seem to let that story hold him back. He seemed to be younger, happier, more successful, with a family and friends. Two men with similar backgrounds, ages, circumstances created different realities.

It’s scientific. “We do actually create our own reality. Studies have shown many times that what you see impacts how you feel, and the way you feel can literally change what you see. For example: if you’re asked to estimate the walking speed of a man in a video, your answer will be different if you are told to think about a cheetah vs. thinking of a turtle. If you’ve just exercised, a hill appears steeper, a landmark appears farther away, and a backpack feels heavier. What you see is a complex mental construction of your own making, you experience it passively as a direct representation of the world around you. You create your own reality and you believe it.” Isaac Lidsky in his TED Talk “What Reality Are you Creating for Yourself?”

Fear distorts your reality. Fear makes us choose the awful over the unknown. Fear warps logic so that we make assumptions rather than use reason.

Your excuses, justifications, rationalizations, your surrender come to you in the form of fears, critics, villains. Be responsible for every moment, every thought, every details. See beyond your fears. Revisit assumptions you have about the world, love, success, good luck, life, and about reality. Be open-minded and open-hearted. Choose to see through fears and let them go. Create a better reality.

I’ve seen some people re-create their reality for the better. I know someone who had bad experiences with his father and for many years reflected on his assumptions about reality. After his father died, he found out that his assumptions were wrong. All of those years he created a story, a reality, that he was living by and it was holding him back – and it wasn’t even true.

Think about your reality – I bet that at least some of your beliefs were created when you were a young child. You interpreted things and made assumptions as a child and those became your reality. Here’s a question: was your brain, wisdom, experience, intelligence fully developed? Isn’t it possible that your brain as a child (any of our’s) might not interpret everything correctly? Isn’t it possible that the belief you created as a child might actually be wrong?

And if it is true, you can still create a reality based upon faith and hope. We constantly create a reality based on fear and anger, so why not create something better?

   –

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

 

 

BONUS

https://www.ted.com/talks/isaac_lidsky_what_reality_are_you_creating_for_yourself

Reality isn’t something you perceive; it’s something you create in your mind. Isaac Lidsky learned this profound lesson firsthand, when unexpected life circumstances yielded valuable insights. In this introspective, personal talk, he challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.

Fear is boring, and other tips for living a creative life

Sep 24, 2015 (Ted Talks)

AlexBrewer_creativity_FINAL

Elizabeth Gilbert shares 11 ways to think smartly about creativity.

Creativity is a tricky word. Consultants peddle it, brands promise it, we all strive for it, often without really knowing quite what “it” really is. Put simply, there’s a lot of snake oil around creativity. But now here’s author Elizabeth Gilbert (TED Talk, Your elusive creative genius) to cut through the guff with her distinctly refreshing take on the topic. For her, we’re all creative souls already, we just need to figure out how to harness inspiration and unleash the creative spirit within. Here, she shares her best pieces of advice for living a meaningfully creative life.

1. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” It’s like somebody handed that person that placard to wear when they were nine, and they’ve been wearing it around their neck ever since. But rather than challenging them on that, because then they’ll dig in their heels, I ask them to take the word “creative” out of the sentence and replace it with the word “curious,” just to see how ridiculous it sounds. If you can just release yourself from the anxiety and burden that might be associated with the word “creativity,” because you’ve fallen for the myth that it only belongs to the special, the tormented and the professional, and you insert the word “curious,” you’ll see, in fact, that you are an enormously creative person, because all creativity begins with curiosity. And once you tap into your curiosity and allow yourself permission to follow it wherever it takes you, you will find very quickly that you are living a much more creative life than you were last year.

2. You’re not a genius, you have a genius.

The magical thinking that I use to engage with creativity is this idea that inspiration does not come from me, it comes to me. And the reason I choose to believe that is because one, that’s what it feels like, and two, that’s how pretty much every human being before the Age of Enlightenment described inspiration. Even really rational, scientific people will say, “And then this idea came to me.” They’ll use that language, even though if you were to push them on it they would then deny it and would tell you what part of their cerebral cortex it actually came from. In other words, they would disenchant it, and they would make it really boring rather than kind of Hogwarts-y, and I prefer to keep it Hogwarts-y because I feel like the only realm in our lives where it’s safe and actually beneficial to have magical thinking is in the realm of creativity.

3. Make something, do something, do anything.

If you have a creative mind, it’s a little bit like owning a border collie. You have to give it something to do or it will find something to do, and you will not like the thing it finds to do. So if you go to work and you leave your border collie unattended and unexercised in your apartment, you’re going to come home and find out that that border collie gave itself a job, and the job that it gave itself was probably to empty all of the stuffing out of your couch or to take every single piece of toilet paper off the roll, because it needs a job. A creative mind is exactly the same. My experience with having a creative mind is that if I don’t give it a task, a ball to chase, a stick to run after, some ducks to herd, I don’t know,something, it will turn on itself. It’s really important for my mental health that I keep this dog running. So give your dog a job, and don’t worry about whether the outcome is magnificent or eternal, whether it changes people’s lives, whether it changes the world, whether it changes you, whether it’s original, whether it’s groundbreaking, whether it’s marketable. Just give the dog a job, and you’ll have a much happier life, regardless of how it turns out.

4. Stop complaining and get to work.

You will never hear more complaints than from people who live in creative fields. They are the most whingy, bitchy children that you’re ever going to meet. And the sense of entitlement and anguish that comes out of those people’s mouths makes me insane. You get to try to spend your life engaging with the absolute highest use of the human mind, and all you want to do is bitch about it? Shut up! No one made you do this. To act as though you’re burdened by your gifts, and burdened by your talent and exhausted by your creative endeavors, as though you were committed to it by an evil dictator rather than having chosen it with your free will is also ridiculous. And finally, and worst of all, you’re scaring inspiration away. Inspiration, like all of us, wants to be loved and appreciated, and if it hears you talking about how much it’s ruining your life, it will take its business elsewhere. So whenever I hear creative people complaining about how it’s a battlefield, and how they’re bleeding over their work, and how awful it is, I always want to whisper to inspiration and be like, “Hey, if you’re sick of her, just come over to me.”

5. Frustration is not an interruption of the process, frustration is the process.

I have watched so many talented, creative, and inventive people rage against their work, or even worse, stop doing their work because of the frustration that they encountered along the path of whatever it was they were trying to create. And they speak of this frustration as though it is this obstacle from outer space that is ruining everything. All they wanted to do is be creative, and here comes frustration again, just taking all the fun out of it, making it impossible to do this work, and destroying the entire game. And my feeling is, “You guys, you’re mistaking the whole process, because the thing that you’re in love with, and that you’ve gotten infatuated with, is that moment in your creative process when everything is working — all the cylinders are firing at full speed, and the inspiration is flowing, and it feels really easy, and it’s fun, and it’s delightful.” And that’s the aberration. That moment of smooth, easy grace where everything is going great — that is not the normal. That is the miracle that happens every once in a while if you’re very lucky. The frustration, the hard part, the obstacle, the insecurities, the difficulty, the “I don’t know what to do with this thing now,”that’s the creative process. And if you want to do it without encountering frustration and difficulty, then you’re not made for that line of work.

6. Let go of your fantasy of perfection.

Perfection is the death of all good things, perfection is the death of pleasure, it’s the death of productivity, it’s the death of efficiency, it’s the death of joy. Perfection is just a bludgeon that goes around murdering everything good. Somebody once said I was disingenuous for saying this, because surely I try to make my work as good as it can be. And that’s absolutely true — but there’s a really big difference between “as good as it can be” and perfection.

lizgilbert_clickable

7. You can’t get rid of fear, but do remember that fear is boring.

This is my fundamental opposition to the mythological dream of fearlessness, and the frustration I feel whenever fearlessness is held up as a virtue. I just feel like that it’s the wrong battle. Because for one thing, you don’t want to get rid of your fear; you need it to keep you alive. We’re all here because we had fear that preserved us. So there’s a little bit of a lack of appreciation for fear when we say that we want to be fearless. But then, fear is the oldest, deepest and least subtle part of our emotional life, and so therefore it’s boring. It’s dull. It doesn’t have any nuance. So have a little conversation with your fear when it starts to get riled up when you’re trying to do something creative. Let it know, “I’m just trying to write a poem, no one’s going to die.” But don’t try to go to war against it, that’s such a waste of energy. Just converse with it and then move on.

8. If something is authentic enough, it will feel original.

I am no fan of the aspiration to do original work. First of all, that creates an enormous amount of anxiety, and secondly, it is an impossible aspiration, because there’s no such thing as original work. If you show me a piece of artwork that everybody heralds as being totally original, I will bring in ten academics and critics who will look at that work and tell you from where that person drew their inspiration, who they had been reading, what painter they had seen … I’m much more interested in the chain of influence than I am in the narcissism of originality. The only way that you can create authentic work is to, with great humility and great faith and great curiosity, follow your own inquisitiveness, wherever it takes you, and trust that whatever comes out of you will feel original. That while other people may have done the same thing, you didn’t do it yet, and as soon as you do it and put your mark on it, it will, by its own right, start to feel original, as long as it has that authentic heart.

9. If you’re in the arts, you don’t need graduate school.

Actually, let me rephrase that: If you’re in the arts, you don’t need debt. In fact, it’s the last goddamn thing you need. So I don’t care how prestigious the academy is, I don’t care how magnificent the professors are, I don’t care what they’re promising they are going to give you; if they’re giving you debt, they are not helping you. If you have an extra $100,000 sitting around that you have nothing to do with, and you want to go to that school, I guarantee you you’ll get wonderful things out of the experience, because there are fantastic experiences to be had there. If they gave you a full ride, and the school allows you to go there for free, again, go. Enjoy it, consider yourself lucky. But if they said to you, “We are going to bestow upon you this tremendous gift of the treasure of what our premier faculty here has to offer, but first you’re going to have to go to a bank and take out $150,000 in loans to become a poet,” then I’m going to lay my body down in front of that bank door before I let you do that. I cannot strongly enough beg you not to do that. So it’s not that I am against graduate school, it’s that I am against crippling debt for people who want to live creative lives.

10. Creative fields make for crap careers.

People often say they want to go into a creative career, and then they try to do that, and they end up in a place where the work that they are doing is not quite creative enough to really stimulate their soul, and it’s not quite career enough to keep them financially stable. In other words, they kind of sacrifice both. My feeling is, stop trying to marry these two things, and separate them out. Choose your creative vocation, try to find the thing that brings your soul to animated life when you do it and do that thing on your own. Do that thing by any means necessary, turn yourself into it completely, and then find another way to pay the gas bill. When I was an up-and-coming writer, I decided very early on that I would be my own patron, my own studio wife, my own sugar daddy and that I would never demand that my writing provide for me in any way other than the only way that I know it always will, which is to please me and delight me and make me feel like I’m more than just a bystander and a consumer in the world.

11. Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living.

Whenever you’re told to “follow your passion,” it can be very intimidating, and it can be very confusing, because sometimes passion isn’t very clear, sometimes passions burn hot and then burn out, sometimes your passion changes, sometimes on a very sad Tuesday morning when you didn’t sleep well, the idea of passion just feels so out of reach that you can’t even imagine ever accessing it. And yet curiosity is this faithful, steadfast, friendly and accessible energy that is never far out of reach. There’s never a day where you couldn’t dredge up some tiny little fragment of interest in something in the world, no matter how modest it may seem, no matter how humble, no matter how much it might seem to be unconnected to anything else that you’re doing, no matter how random. Passion demands full commitment out of you. You’ve got to get divorced, and shave your head, and change your name, and move to Nepal and start an orphanage. And maybe you don’t need to do that this week. But curiosity doesn’t take anything from you. Curiosity just gives, and all it gives you are clues, just a beautiful thread, a tiny little clue from the scavenger hunt that you’re unique here in life.


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert is out now.

Featured photo by Alex Brewer.

To Conquer Fear, A Man Turns Rejection Into A Game

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Editor’s note: This story first ran on Jan. 16, 2015, as part of NPR’s Invisibilia podcast. It’s about a man who decided he no longer wanted to be ruled by fear. Without realizing it, he used a standard tool of psychotherapy to help him stop dreading rejection.

And if you’ve been dreading a future without Invisibilia, fear not — we’re hard at work on Season Two! We can’t reveal what we’re working on right now, but rest assured that this season won’t include any snakes. Just a lion.

The evolution of Jason Comely, a freelance IT guy from Cambridge, Ontario, began one sad night several years ago.

“That Friday evening that I was in my one-bedroom apartment trying to be busy,” Comely says. “But really, I knew that I was avoiding things.”

See, nine months earlier, Jason’s wife had left him.

“She … found someone that was taller than I was — had more money than I had. … So, yeah.”

And since then, Jason had really withdrawn from life. He didn’t go out, and he avoided talking to people, especially women.

But that Friday, he realized that this approach was taking a toll.

“I had nowhere to go, and no one to hang out with,” Comely says. “And so I just broke down and started crying.” He realized that he was afraid. “I asked myself, afraid of what?

“I thought, I’m afraid of rejection.”

Which got him thinking about the Spetsnaz, an elite Russian military unit with a really intense training regime.

“You know, I heard of one situation where they were, like, locked in a room, a windowless room, with a very angry dog, and they’d only be armed with a spade, and only one person is going to get out — the dog or the Spetsnaz.”

And that gave him an idea. Maybe he could somehow use the rigorous approach of the Spetsnaz against his fear.

So if you’re a freelance IT guy, living in a one-bedroom apartment in Cambridge, Ontario, what is the modern equivalent of being trapped in a windowless room with a rabid dog and nothing to protect you but a single handheld spade?

“I had to get rejected at least once every single day by someone.”

Cards from the Rejection Therapy game.

Cards from the Rejection Therapy game.

Courtesy of Jason Comely

He started in the parking lot of his local grocery store. Went up to a total stranger and asked for a ride across town.

“And he looked at me, like, and just said, ‘I’m not going that way, buddy.’ And I was like, ‘Thank you!’

“It was like, ‘Got it! I got my rejection.’ ”

Jason had totally inverted the rules of life. He took rejection and made it something he wanted — so he would feel good when he got it.

“And it was sort of like walking on my hands or living on my hands or living underwater or something. It was just a different reality. The rules of life had changed.”

Without knowing it, Jason had used a standard tool of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. You force yourself to be exposed to exactly the thing you fear, and eventually you recognize that the thing you fear isn’t hurting you. You become desensitized. It’s used in treating phobias like fear of flying.

Jason kept on seeking out rejection. And as he did, he found that people were actually more receptive to him, and he was more receptive to people, too. “I was able to approach people, because what are you gonna do, reject me? Great!”

That was when Jason got another idea.

He wrote down all of his real-life rejection attempts, things like, “Ask for a ride from stranger, even if you don’t need one.” “Before purchasing something, ask for a discount.” “Ask a stranger for a breath mint.”

Cards from the Rejection Therapy game.

Cards from the Rejection Therapy game.

Courtesy of Jason Comely

He had them printed on a deck of cards and started selling them online.

Slowly, the Rejection Therapy game became kind of a small cult phenomenon, with people playing all over the world.

Jason has heard from a teacher in Colorado, a massage therapist in Budapest, a computer programmer in Japan, even a widowed Russian grandmother. She’s using rejection therapy to pick up men.

“That’s really cool — so, there’s an 80-year-old babushka playing Rejection Therapy,” he says.

So what has Jason learned from all this?

That most fears aren’t real in the way you think they are. They’re just a story you tell yourself, and you can choose to stop repeating it. Choose to stop listening.

“Don’t even bother trying to be cool,” Jason says. “Just get out there and get rejected, and sometimes it’s going to get dirty. But that’s OK, ’cause you’re going to feel great after, you’re going to feel like, ‘Wow. I disobeyed fear.’ ”

How to Comfort Your Inner Worry Wart

How to Comfort Your Inner Worry Wart

 BY TANCIE LEROUX from tut.com

When my children were young, I’d tuck them in at night with kisses and a song. Every now and then their sweet little minds would be wrestling with a worry that was upsetting them.  Maybe someone was being mean; maybe they were nervous about an upcoming game; maybe they felt they’d disappointed their teacher.  Nothing too earth shattering but distressing to their little hearts.

I didn’t want them to go to bed with a troubled mind so I’d strike a bargain before they drifted off to sleep.  “You give me your worries for the night and I’ll take care of them for you.  If they get too big for me, I’ll hand them over to God.”

That seemed reasonable to them, so they’d place their troubles in my hand and float off to La La Land.

Wouldn’t you like to do that?

All of us spend too much time worrying about “what-ifs” and worst case scenarios that will probably never come true.  With the media informing us of every horrific global event and commercials alerting us to every “silent killer” lurking in our own bodies, the world can feel scary and unpredictable at times.

How do you stay calm when you’re worried about your money, your debt, your job, your health, your loved ones, your pets, your home, your country and a myriad of other fears and unforeseen events.  How do you stay at peace in a world you can’t control?

Being a title-holding worry wart, I’ve found 3 ways to manage troublesome thoughts.

1. Take Control of the Controllable.

Not all worry is useless.  It can serve you well when it drives you to take action and solve the problems at hand, but when you’re only fixated on the “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, chronic worrying can leave you emotionally drained.

The first step is to evaluate your problem by asking whether it’s solvable:  Is it a real problem or an imaginary what-if?  Is the concern realistic?  Am I killing off healthy loved ones in my imagination for no apparent reason? How likely is this to happen?  Can I prepare for it or is it out of my control?

Next is to take any action that’s needed right away.  If you’re anxious about debt, call your creditors and set up a payment plan.  If you’re having pain in your leg, make a doctor’s appointment.  If you’re concerned about the cold weather, move to Southern California.  Focus on the things you can solve rather than the things and conditions that are out of your control.

Whatever’s left, kick it to the curb and focus on ice cream.

2. Make a “God Box”.

I read about The God Box in Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness and I knew I needed one.  Some of us like having something to DO when our nerves need soothing.

Get yourself a dedicated box that feels good to you.  Place it somewhere in your home that’s sacred and personal.  When you have a worry, write it down on a piece of paper and place it in the box.

As you put it inside, call on God (or whatever your divine source is) and release your personal focus and attachment.  Surrender it to your higher power and allow it to use anything and any way it wants to solve your problem and meet your needs.

There’s no “your way or the highway” allowed.  The Universe is more clever and magical than you ever thought possible and always finds the perfect way.

3. Do a Good Deed.

Doing a good deed not only makes you feel warm and fuzzy, it replaces rampant negative energy with positive.

Give needed attention to a loved one, help a sick neighbor, give a compliment to the store clerk or offer a meal to a homeless person.  Any kind act works.  Use your instincts to be led to the right opportunities.

The added benefit is that when you engage in good deeds, your body releases Oxytocin which reduces stress and makes you feel better.  Kindness also triggers feel-good chemicals like dopamine and endorphins which increase your overall well-being.

When you worry, you’re putting too much focus on the future and not enough on the here and now.  Bringing your attention back to the present by controlling what you can, releasing what you can’t and changing your focus to others, lessens your anxiety and puts you in a place of gratitude.

As adults, we have busy and full lives which can give us lots to worry about, but we still have the opportunity to hand it all over to a much wiser and loving power when it feels too big.

When you go to bed tonight and lay your head gently on the pillow, let your “Divine Mother” hold your worries while you sleep and maybe, just maybe, she’ll sing you a lullaby as you drift off to La La Land.

Rest well and sweet dreams.

– See more at:

http://www.tut.com/article/details/156-how-to-comfort-your-inner-worry-wart/?articleId=156

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