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May 012020
 
Stressed businessman

Being busy is killing our ability to think creatively

As a society, we’re addicted to our phones, which constantly keeps our attention engaged. This is antithetical to creativity and innovation, which needs space to breathe. Instead of wiring your brain for distraction, experiment with the four strategies this article suggests to unplug so you can be open to new ideas.   

Psychology and Neuroscience Blow-Up the Myth of Effective Multitasking

People fool themselves into thinking they’re more productive when they multitask because it’s so satisfying. Instead, you’re wasting precious focus and energy. This article highlights specifically how multitasking impairs efficiency and productivity.  

Self-Talk and Self-Compassion

The more we remain openhearted to ourselves the more available we are to others. We must first become our own best friend so that we are better poised to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others and ultimately impact the greater good for all. Use the strategies in this article to improve your relationship with yourself.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Your Write To Self-Discovery

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Apr 162020
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Journaling Notebook

Many years ago, I took some creative writing classes in which I was taught a valuable technique called “freewriting.” I used it frequently to help me break through writing blocks. Solutions came through me that I would never have conceived of consciously. Some time later, a friend was describing a process she’d learned in a journaling seminar.

I recognized the instructions and said “Oh, that’s freewriting.”

“No, it’s not.” she snapped at me. “It’s called journaling.”

Gingerly, I asked her for more information on the process and realized that the technique might be used for a different purpose, but it was the same method I’d learned in my writing class.

Ira Progoff calls it “journaling,” Dorothea Brande, writer and writing teacher from 70 years ago calls it “writing exercise,”  Julia Cameron, author of “The Artist’s Way,” calls it “morning pages,” writing teacher Natalie Goldberg calls it “writing practice,” someone else called it “rapidwriting,” my high school english class called it “stream of consciousness,” and I learned it under the term “freewriting.” I’m sure there are many other labels for this method, but they all describe the same process.

What Journaling Does

The idea is to start writing, without thinking about what you’re writing, or thinking about how to say it. In this way, you bypass the mental editor that tells you “You can’t say that, it’s not nice,” “Don’t say it that way,” or “You forgot to dot the ‘i.'” When you do this, it allows you to mine the true thoughts and feelings of the subconscious mind.

In my writing class, there was a family man who was looking forward to attending his family reunion. He was someone the entire family looked up to and depended upon for guidance. One week, we had an assignment to do a freewriting. He did the assignment early in the morning, shortly before the reunion. During class, we each read our freewriting aloud.

When it was his turn, it was the first time he’d read his freewriting since he’d written it. One of the passages he read was that he was “bracing” himself for his reunion, with all of the demands his family would place on him and the difficulty of trying to keep the peace between family members. After he read his piece, he said in a bewildered tone, “I didn’t know I felt that way.”

Creatively, the technique works because you’re able to follow the normal meanderings of your creative processes without interference. The method acts in much the same way during journaling, by keeping the internal critic out of your processing. In all cases, it builds a trust in yourself, your mind and your feelings.

Benefits to Journaling

There are tangible reasons to practice this technique. Research indicates that those who write down their feelings about the challenges or traumas of their lives are actually healthier, with stronger immune systems, than those who don’t write. Studies are also showing that writing can alleviate symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as lowering blood pressure, improving depression, anxiety and self-esteem. Writing about your challenges helps the mind to release the pent-up emotion and integrate the situation in a new, healthier way.

How to Practice the Exercise

Begin writing, don’t pause at all. Keep the pen or pencil moving at all times. Write whatever comes into your mind, even if it’s “I don’t want to be doing this. I’d rather be washing the dishes.” These conscious thoughts are normal, what I call the “detritus” or debris of the mind. They’re surface thoughts, from the conscious mind or censor trying to gain control and get you to stop. If you write through these objections, you’ll get beyond them to what your subconscious wants to say.

Don’t cross out words, don’t try to punctuate, spell correctly or capitalize if it’s a bother. Just keep the pen moving, writing anything at all, even if it’s garbage. If another thought comes to you before you finish a sentence, leave that sentence and begin writing on the new thought. Follow where your mind takes you. It has its own logic and reasoning that doesn’t agree with the analytical mind. Don’t try to think about what you’re writing or worry if it makes sense or not. Trust your mind.

Set a time limit of writing for at least twenty minutes a day, or write at least two pages a day (Julia Cameron suggests three pages). This lets the mind know what is required of it, and how long it has to get its ideas through to you.

You can begin your writing with something that’s made you angry, sad or scared. Or you can start with the phrase “I feel….” and go from there. Write about experiences that have affected you deeply, whether positively or negatively. If you feel blocked in some area, write about why you feel that way and what might be causing it.

Recommendations

It’s recommended that you practice the exercise for several days in a row to get the mind to flow. Dorothea Brande and Julia Cameron suggest that the best time is in the morning, before the day’s responsibilities pounce on you. But if you can’t do it in the morning, anytime is good, as long as you do it.

As a technique for self-discovery and personal growth, this is one of the best. You learn to trust yourself and listen to the wisdom of your own mind. For you have all your answers within yourself. All you have to do is take the time and listen.

Affirmation:

I now take the time for myself each day and journal. Although the feelings that come up may be uncomfortable, I know that they’ve been a part of me and need expressing. I let myself write what I want to, without interference from my censor. In this way, my  subconscious mind can re-assess the challenges of my life, releasing what no longer serves my Highest Good. When I write, I follow where my mind wants to go and trust its wisdom.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

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Apr 092020
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Shift happens. Generally, it’s unexpected and unsettling. Bull markets eventually stop rampaging, hibernate for a while as the country experiences a recession. You find out an old acquaintance has been trying to undermine your relationships with mutual friends. Just as you get settled into a new home, you lose your job and must adjust to a lower income. The only constant in the Universe is change. It’s a signal from the Infinite that you’ve outgrown your current circumstances and it’s time to expand to a greater reality.

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Response

The attitude you have towards these distressing events impacts their outcome. Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, said, “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.” Your perspective determines whether your response will be positive or negative.

If you respond positively to a situation and believe it will get better, you’ll take actions that bring about a beneficial result. However, if you bemoan the situation and sink into immobility, then you’ll end up worse than when you began. The Law of Attraction acts on whatever your predominant mindset is, not just on one area that you’re focusing on.

One of the ways to adjust your attitude is to alter the way you look at the situation. Over the years, clichés, proverbs and quotes have helped people to realize that there is more than one way to look at a problem. When you do, you open your mind up to other possibilities. Here are some ideas that will help you keep things in perspective:

Necessity is the mother of invention. When there’s a problem, let it inspire creative efforts to find a solution. If there’s no problem, we coast along and don’t make progress. How can you engage your creativity even when there isn’t a problem?

Into every life, a little rain must fall. No one gets through this life without some difficulty or upset. Right now, it seems as if it’s pouring. But the storm will pass.

Make the best of a bad situation. Accept what’s happened. Then, figure out what tools you have to work with and get resourceful. How can you find something beneficial in the situation that makes things bearable or better?

This too shall pass. In early adulthood, this phrase got me through a very bad day at work. It became my mantra for the day. It was my lifeline. That day did end, as all do. Eventually, your crisis will also be in the past.

“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do” Robert Schuller. You’ve made it this far in your life, so you’re tougher than you know. You have the ability to make it through this, too.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What lessons can you learn from the current situation that you can use in the future?

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”Albert Einstein. Challenges get people to think about problems in new ways. Consider how people are now figuring out how to use 3-D printers to create vitally needed medical equipment. It’s unlikely that would have happened without this crisis. What opportunities can you find in life’s difficulties for yourself?

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This sums up the situation. We have a lemon of a situation right now, no doubt. But if you shift your perspective, you’ll be able to develop something sweet and pleasant.

What Are Your Next Steps?

This isn’t to say that you should ignore feeling scared or upset. Take the time to mourn what’s gone or not currently available. Acknowledge it and let it flow through you. Just don’t let the grief immobilize you. The longer you stay immobilized, the longer it will take you to start living again and moving in a positive direction.

Take a deep breath, and another. What steps do you need to take to move forward? Get creative. Life is always changing. You will get through this and the Universe will support your endeavors. And you can find a way to make the situation work for you, to come out of it stronger, and more resourceful. And you might even have some lemonade.

Affirmation:

The Universe will protect and guide me to my greater good. I know that something beneficial emerges from this for me. I don’t know what or how it will happen. That’s not my responsibility. My responsibility is to keep my thoughts positive and optimistic. As I do, the Universe finds a way to deliver my good to me.

Watch the complementary video, How to Get Unstuck and Reduce Stress.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

Trending Articles of the Week

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Nov 162019
 

Grand Canyon Train Tracks

One of Those Days: How to Bounce Back When Nothing Seems to Go Right
Everyone has had days that started out on the wrong foot, and just kept spiraling down. It’s hard to stop the cycle once it’s started, but it can be done. Discover how these three strategies can help you turn the day around.

Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work
Successful multitasking is a myth. You really can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.
It’s not like chewing gum and walking. You’re trying to split your cognitive resources, which means you only have half to give each task. This article goes much deeper into the research and the effects of it, like talking on the cell phone while driving is like driving drunk.

3 Simple Steps to Set Business Goals That FINALLY Come True
Goals are inspired by your wanting to fulfill more of your potential. But sometimes, you get blocked in your pursuit of your goals, feel frustrated and give up. But if you plan for the setbacks, you’ll be able to overcome the obstacles and achieve your desires. Use these steps to keep you on track for your goals.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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Oct 112019
 

Step Through Woods

Researchers Reveal That Messy People Are Actually Productive Geniuses
I know that people say you have to have a clutter free house and an organized desk. And I find it soothing to have that, to a point. But when everything is put away, I forget about projects I’m working on and my creativity dries up. This research shows why you need to strike a balance. It covers 6 reasons why messy folk are more innovative and efficient.

21 Simple Hacks to Massively Increase Your Productivity
Working harder doesn’t bring you the prize you want, but working smarter does. Some of these tips are ones you probably already know, but they bring something extra to them. I especially love Tip #7: The Power of “No.” If you put even half of these into effect, you’re going to have a smoother and more effective life.

7 Smart Ways to Deal with Toxic People
Some people who are hard to deal with may simply be having a hard time and need understanding, support and encouragement. But there’s another type of person who uses their distress to manipulate and control others. Like the person who rages whenever something doesn’t go their way. These are self-involved people who don’t care how they affect others.These are some excellent tips on how to handle these noxious people.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Sparks of Insight

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Oct 072019
 

Sparks of Insight“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” – George Bernard Shaw

It’s the circle of creation. Before you can create anything, you have to have some idea of it in mind, it may be a desire or even something you don’t want. As you continue to imagine it, it gains energy and structure. It draws to you that which it’s like – whether positive or negative. And eventually, you get to experience it in your physical world. So keep your imagination focused on what you want.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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Sep 062019
 

Meditate

What Most People Have Wrong About Achieving Goals
According to Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, if you do not create and control your environment, then your environment creates and controls you. Other people, circumstances, or habits will get in the way of what you’re working towards. Before you create strategies, start with your vision of how you want your life to be. Then think about the design and plan.

The Meandering Path to That ‘Aha!’ Moment
Recent studies at a University indicate that our moments of breakthrough happen after we’ve left a problem alone for awhile. Picking at the problem generally delays the inspiration. Letting it go, and doing something else, sparks that moment of creativity.

Neuroscience shows that 50-year-olds can have the brains of 25-year-olds if they sit quietly and do nothing for 15 minutes a day
Here’s more evidence for the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. Not only did they improve the quality of their brains, the researchers found they the part of the brain associated with fear, anxiety, and aggression shrank. The article also covers how long a person had to meditate to receive these benefits.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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Jul 042019
 

Peace

Don’t Like Meditation? Try This Instead
Many studies show that Mindfulness Meditation can improve concentration, creativity and give you a new perspective on finding solutions. But people shy away from meditation, either because they don’t have the time or they’re intimidated by the idea. You don’t have to find a quiet space and empty your mind to have the benefits of meditation. This simple exercise can allow you to get the benefits and fit into your day.

6 Myths and 6 Truths About Perfectionism
Unfortunately, many cultures encourage a toxic view that perfectionism is beneficial. It doesn’t help you to be or do better. You’ll never be able to reach that impossibly high standard. And failing that creates a sense of shame. Stop chasing after perfectionism and understand the uncomfortable truths about it.

119 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier
We all strive to be happy, but sometimes we fall short of that goal. It doesn’t mean it’s unreachable. It just means you need to implement some new strategies. This article has investigated research on the subject and brought together tested ways you can incorporate into your life. It covers 9 different areas of your life that you can address.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

As a vision strategist, speaker, coach, and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and businesswomen who feel stuck to get a clear vision, focus on strategies, and gain control so they’re able to
accelerate to the next level of their business. Sign up for her FREE guide, Take Control of Your Day.

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Jun 072019
 

Woman with outstretched arms

How to Regain Your Energy Throughout Your Day
An M.D has identified seven types of rest you need to stay healthy and productive. When she helped her patients with them, it improved their overall health. She asserts that sleep isn’t the same as rest, and replenishing these seven areas will restore your balance. In this article, each type has a specific tips on how to reestablish your energy.

Forget time management: focus on energy management
We all have a limited number of hours we can work before we get worn out. Research shows that today’s creative or information driven worker are only productive for about three hours a day. It just takes too much focus and thought. There’s more to productivity than putting in hours. Here’s how to work smarter, not longer.

7 Mental Hacks to Be More Confident in Yourself
Confidence is the cornerstone of leadership. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can others believe in you? Here are seven ways FBI agents learn to boost their confidence.Each tip has a way for you to apply it in your life. I especially love the one about thinking more positively.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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May 102019
 

Peace

How to Make Mindfulness Part of Your Daily Routine
Instead of running on autopilot, you can train your brain to be more self-aware. This is a key skill for leadership by impacting your career and improving your performance. Learning mindfulness allows you to rewire your brain for the self-awareness that can lead to greater success.

6 Habits That Will Help You Build Mental Strength
Life happens. You’ll experience substantial stress from major events at times in your life. Being able to deal with it and recover quickly requires mental strength and resilience. Improving your mental fitness means you can be more resourceful and handle stress more calmly. As you establish these 6 habits, you improve your mental ability to handle opportunities and challenges.

How listening to music ‘significantly impairs’ creativity
This was a surprise to me. Although I knew I couldn’t be creative with music with any vocals, this research contradicts the popular view that music enhances creativity. Psychologists investigated the impact of background music on performance. Apparently, background music, with or without lyrics, significantly impaired people’s ability to complete verbal tasks.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart