Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reduce Stress By Nurturing Your Creative Mind

When you thing of "creative" people, you often thing of writers, artists, composers, inventors, but the fact is that you are creative every moment of every day! Your feelings, thoughts, and actions create the life you live, and what could be more important than that?!

Living with chronic stress can sink you into a pretty deep rut. A lot of what makes something stressful is how you perceive it. It's hard to change your point of view or see a way out when you are trying to cope with a seemingly endless stream of crisis after crisis whether the problems arise at the office, at home, or both.

The article below isn't exactly about stress relief, but shows you ways to change the way you think which can go a long way to help you shift your perception and finally get out of that rut. These excellent principles may be adapted to any situation, and will go a long way to reduce stress as well as empowering you to create the healthy, stress-free life you deserve!

The picture below is of a Mind Map. See the end of the article to learn how to use this effective tool. (Click on the picture for a larger version.)

Your Creative Genius Mindset: The Essential Qualities for “Outside the Box” Thinking

By Adam Sicinski, a qualified Life Coach whose areas of specialty include accelerated learning, cognitive psychology, NLP and mind mapping principles.

To be creative, is to have the capacity to think freely, openly, without limitations or constraints about problems and challenges confronting our life reality. When we are creative, we tend to see opportunities and possibilities that we would normally filter out of our personal experience. Creativity allows us to think outside of the box, around the box and through the box in an imaginative and free flowing manner.

In today’s day and age, our ability to think creatively about our life circumstances will help us to overcome the never ending problems and challenges that a “normal enriching” life throws our way. In retrospect, there are a plethora of strategies, techniques and tools that we could utilize to enhance our creative capacity, however for many people, these methods would be futile, because creativity first begins within the mind. If our mindset isn’t aligned and tuned into the “creative thinking channel”, than we will severely struggle to find the creative answers we are so desperately searching for.

The Mindset of a Creative Genius

A Creative Genius has a certain set of qualities, beliefs, methods of talking to themselves, asking the right kinds of questions and taking strategic actions that naturally cultivate creativity within the recesses of their minds. By consistently and persistently instilling these traits into your psyche, will help you to supercharge your mind and unlock your capacity for creative thought.

The Qualities of a Creative Genius Mind

Flexibility: A Creative Genius is flexible in thought, opinion and in the decisions they make on a daily basis. Flexibility naturally encourages “outside the box” thinking which expands possibilities and opportunities.

Possibility Thinker: A Creative Genius persistently thinks about the possibilities that are available to them at any one moment in time. They fully understand that focusing on “possibilities” will expand opportunities, conversely, paying attention to “limitations” will only attract a greater array of problems into their lives.

Risk Taker: A Creative Genius fully understands that without “risk” there can be no worthwhile rewards. They therefore take risks by thinking differently, by taking chances, and by utilizing creative techniques and strategies in a unique, untried and unorthadox manner.

Focused: A Creative Genius is fully focused and locked mentally on the goals they seek to achieve. They dare not break this lock until the moment their objectives are fully realized within their physical reality.

Imaginative: A Creative Genius utilizes the full capacity of their imagination to bend the laws of reality to find the answers and opportunities they need to overcome the challenges in their life.

Dedicated: A Creative Genius is fully committed and dedicated to the outcomes and objectives they seek to achieve. They simply will not allow distractions or circumstances to push them off course. If however they do get sidetracked, than they are quick to adjust their sails to the changing winds and alter their course accordingly.

Patient: A Creative Genius realizes that creativity is a process that involves patience and careful preparation. They don’t try to force answers, instead they proactively make slight adjustments in their approach to open up new perspectives and understandings that will unlock the solutions and opportunities they have been searching for.

Proactive: A Creative Genius is constantly moving forward towards their objectives. This doesn’t mean being “action oriented” 24/7. However, it does mean focusing your body and mind on tasks and activities that keep you moving forward towards your goals consistently every single day. They always ask themselves “Is this activity taking me closer to my goals, or is it pulling me away?” The answer redirects their thinking and actions towards their creative objectives.

Courageous: A Creative Genius is courageous in action and thought. They are always willing to try new things and break the rules and boundaries limiting the average mind. And it is for this reason that the impossible becomes possible within their perspective of reality.

Independent: A Creative Genius is an independent thinker and doer. Yes, they seek other perspectives, ideas and opinions, however in the end, it is their independence that allows for the flow of unique, insightful and creative ideas.

Intuitive: A Creative Genius is a very intuitive soul. They fully understand that some answers can only be realized when they have an intuitive understanding of the world and the problem they are facing.

Persistent: A Creative Genius is fully aware if they persistent long enough over a consistent period of time, that every problem can be solved in a surprising and creative way. For this reason they bring forth a resilient attitude to every challenge confronting their reality.

Curious & Playful Nature: A Creative Genius approaches every task or activity in a curiously playful manner. Reminiscent of a child learning something new for the very first time. A Creative Genius fully appreciates that only curiosity and playfulness is able to relax their mind and bring forth its fullest creative potential.

The Indispensable Beliefs of a Creative Genius

Belief in Self: A Creative Genius has full confidence and belief in themselves and their own ability. This confidence supports every aspect of their personality, helping them to approach problems with passion and excitement.

Belief in a Higher Power: A Creative Genius isn’t necessarily religious in nature (although they can be). However, they do believe that there exists a higher power - a collective consciousness or infinite intelligence of sorts - that helps spark the creative forces within their body and mind.

Belief in Learning from every Success & Failure: A Creative Genius essentially does not distinguish between success or failure. Instead, they only acknowledge the feedback they receive from personal experience, from the environment and from others. This feedback helps them to transform their creative approach when confronted with the same circumstances in the future.

The Strategic Self-Talk of a Creative Genius

Questions: A Creative Genius constantly and persistently asks questions that are focused on expanding the possibilities of reality and on solutions that will help them overcome the problems confronting their daily life experience.

Words: A Creative Genius speaks a language

that is optimistic and naturally reflective. They see the positives of every situation and approach it in a reflective manner that expands possibilities and moves them closer to solutions.

The Proactive Actions of a Creative Genius

Proactive Learning: A Creative Genius fully understands that life is a process of constant and never ending learning and self-improvement. They are aware that the more they know, the better they will be able to think about the challenges confronting their daily reality. As a result, they constantly and persistently seek out new knowledge, feedback and ideas about the world they live in.

Process Orientation: A Creative Genius always has an end goal in mind, however they are fully focused on the intricacies of their thoughts and actions within the present moment. They understand that within every moment lies the seed of opportunity that will help them expand the way they think and approach their life circumstances.

Journaling: A Creative Genius keeps a regular record of their life experiences, learnings and questions within a journal. The simple process of jotting their thoughts down on paper, helps to expand their understanding about themselves, others and the world around them. Moreover, the act of journaling progressively guides their thoughts gently down creative channels that naturally expand the possibilities of reality.

Mind Mapping: A Creative Genius consistently uses a set of accelerated learning tools that help to build strong associations between seemingly unrelated ideas within their minds. Mind Mapping is much like an “information process puzzle” that helps to piece together, organize and expand on thoughts in surprising ways - potentially leading to dramatic and life transforming creative ideas. [The picture is a Mind Map]

These Creative qualities are very much like muscles that must be trained and built over the course of days, weeks, months and years. The more time you spend flexing these muscles and utilizing them to expand the possibilities and your understanding of reality, the stronger, more creative, effective and efficient they will become. And it is only when you have these qualities ingrained deeply within your psyche, that your true Creative Genius Capacity will finally shine through.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Holistic Healing: How it works & Why it's better for You!

The excerpts below are from the book the Healing Power of Acupressure and Acupuncture by Matthew D. Bauer, L. Ac., The Penguin Group, NY, 2005, ISBN 1583332162

I am acquainted with Matthew; he and I belong to the same Yahoo!Group list. I heard a little about his book before it was published, and couldn't wait to get my copy when it finally arrived in my favorite book store. He wrote the book at the encouragement of his patients who wanted to know and understand more about the roots and the reasons behind the practice of acupuncture, the "how" and "why" it works. Matthew explains this in excellent detail in his book (which I am reading again – for the third or fourth time).

I happened to be reading the sections below at the time I ran into a person who thinks holistic medicine is quackery, herbal medicine belongs back in the Dark Ages, and hypnotherapy is a parlor game. People like this often demand to see the double-blind, scientific study that proves you, the believer in (or practitioner of) holistic practices, can make your case. Studies in the efficacy of holistic methods are being done all the time, but it can be a challenge to prove.

These excerpts from Matthew's book explain both why holistic medicine works, and why it works well! Heck, even the "side effects" are good instead of bad! He also explains why it's difficult to produce proof. Being an acupuncturist, he writes about Chinese medicine and acupuncture, but I believe his explanation of self-healing "Reaction Medicine" can apply to many holistic modalities, including stress relief.

Stress makes you look and feel old. I promise that the easy, safe, and effective stress-relief techniques that I teach you can help you look younger and feel great! Just fill out the contact form in the sidebar to get started with your free consultation!


Pages 98 – 103 Action Medicine vs. Reaction Medicine

Whenever a healer does something to a patient in an attempt to help the patient's health, the healer is, in effect, taking some sort of action. The healer is manipulating or changing the patient's status quo. When such action is taken, there will be two basic consequences. The first will be the direct consequence of that action, and the second will be the body's reaction to having its status quo changed. To put it simply: every action causes a reaction.

Modern medicine's use of drugs and surgery are examples of action medicine – the intervening approach. When a drug such as an antibiotic is introduced into the body, its direct consequence is to kill bacteria. It will do this in a laboratory petri dish as well as in the human body. Unlike a petri dish, however, when such a substance is introduced into a living system, including the human body, this will also cause some sort of reaction. If this reaction causes harm, it is called a side effect, also known as an adverse reaction. Whether or not the body's reaction to a drug such as an antibiotic causes enough noticeable harm to be called a side effect, there must be some sort of reaction as the body adjusts itself after having its status quo changed.

With action medicine such as drug therapy or surgery, the hope is that the direct consequence of the action will be to improve the patient's problem and that the body's reaction will be minor and of little or no consequence. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is a type of reaction medicine – the self-healing approach. In the case of reaction medicine, the goals are the opposite of those for action medicine – one now hopes the direct action is of little or no consequence and that the reaction will improve the patient's symptoms.

Researchers around the world have been discovering that acupuncture can cause the body to produce a wide array of natural substances, including those that reduce pain and inflammation, enhance immune function, balance hormones, and produce feelings of well-being. The brain imaging research being done by Hang-Zee Cho and others strongly suggests that these effects result from the stimulation of key brain centers that exert control on the body's ability to produce these and other body-regulating substances. This is how reaction medicine works – by stimulating the body to produce its own medicine, as opposed to intervening in place of the body's healing process, as it is done in action medicine. The possibility of stimulating healing reactions is almost completely unknown to modern medicine but actually provides an important complement to action medicine.

As an example of the difference between action and reaction medicine, consider the gardener who wants to control some pests, such as aphids, that are destroying a garden. One method would be to spray the garden with an insecticide that kills aphids. This is usually a pretty reliable way to get rid of the pests, but it can also cause some undesirable effects, such as damaging plants and leaving toxins on plants one may wish to eat. Another method to deal with the problem would be to release ladybugs within the garden or, better yet, grow plants such as dill, cilantro, or caraway that will attract ladybugs to the garden naturally. As aphids are a natural food for ladybugs, having ladybugs in one's garden is a natural way to deal with aphid infestation. The first approach, using insecticide, is similar to what is done in action medicine: employing a manmade agent to intervene on nature. Releasing or attracting ladybugs into the garden is similar to the reaction medicine approach: facilitating nature's own means to control a problem.

Think of the human body as a garden and the bacterial infection as the aphids. Introducing an insecticide into the garden to directly kill the aphids is essentially what happens when antibiotics are used to treat a bacterial infection. Some infections, however, can be successfully treated with acupuncture. In this case, however, the action taken – performing acupuncture on the body – does not directly kill the bacteria but rather stimulates the body's immune response, helping it to do a more effective job of fighting the bacteria itself. This is somewhat like using plants that attract ladybugs to an aphid-infested garden.

Another method that may be used to treat a bacterial infection in Chinese medicine is to use herbs. In the case of Chinese herbs, there is a very wide range of actions. Some herbs are potent substances similar to drugs and work as an action medicine that in this example would directly kill bacteria. Other herbs are very mild substances that work as a reaction medicine by stimulating the body to heal itself. This would be like introducing ladybugs into the garden to eat the aphids. The vast majority of Chinese herbs are of the very mild variety that stimulates the body to heal itself. Many of these herbs have been deemed ineffective when tested by modern researchers because they were tested as though they were action medicine drugs – for example, putting an herb extract in a petri dish with bacteria and them proclaiming it ineffective because the bacteria were not killed. Testing herbs this way is as senseless as placing some acupuncture needles in a petri dish filled with bacteria and then reaching the conclusion that acupuncture is ineffective after the bacteria survive. Reaction medicine works via the body's reaction to a mild stimulus and so can only be studied by observing its effects on real, live subjects.

Another example that can put reaction medicine, especially acupuncture, into perspective is to consider a group of people with mild sinus congestion. One way to treat these people would be to administer antihistamines, an action medicine drug that directly blocks the production of the body's histamine response. The histamine response is a natural function of the body that causes cells to react to allergens, such as sinus cells that produce mucus to flush allergens out of the body. Nature gave us the ability to flush out allergens with the histamine response for good reason. Many of the symptoms we suffer in health problems are part of our body's natural response to the cause of the problem – for example, when our bodies try to flush out an allergen with mucus. A good percentage of action medicine approaches simply short-circuit our body's natural response to a problem. This can make us more comfortable, but does nothing to get at the root of the problem.

Imagine, however, that this group with mild sinus congestion could clear it with a good sneeze (I know this is far-fetched, but please play along so that I might make my point). A sneeze is another response the human body has developed over countless generations of evolution to help clear the sinuses. If one were to take a feather and tickle each person in this group under the nostrils, some, perhaps 20 percent or so of this group, would respond by sneezing, thus clearing their congestion. Acupuncture works very much like the feather – it stimulates the body to initiate natural, self-healing responses that nature has endowed us with over millions of years of evolution. Sometimes, for countless reasons, the body is not able to make full use of all the healing resources nature endowed it with. Good reaction medicine helps the body to make better decisions about how to utilize its resources.

I hope these examples have helped to explain these two approaches to healing. Now I can go on to explain some of the characteristics of each approach, as understanding these will help answer many questions about how to utilize Chinese medicine.

In the foregoing example, those who used the action medicine approach of taking antihistamines would probably experience a high rate of relief for their symptoms. Perhaps 70-80 percent of those who took that medicine would experience a reduction in their congestion. However, every action will cause a reaction, and some who took antihistamines will end up with side effects – that is, adverse reactions. The most common of these adverse reactions would be minor things like dryness of the mouth, throat, or sinus. Although it is rare, some who took antihistamines could experience severe reactions such as hallucinations, convulsions, or even cardiovascular collapse.

The point I wish to make here is that the direct consequence of taking action is easy to predict, while the subsequent reactions are difficult to predict. The same will be true when using a feather to cause a sneeze. The direct affect of this action – a slight stimulation of the skin cells touched by the feather – would be largely the same for all the subjects. The number of those who react by sneezing would be much smaller. So here, as in the example of the use of antihistamines, the direct effect of the action was the same for a large percentage of the subjects and thus predictable, while the reaction was much more varied and difficult to predict. Who, exactly, will sneeze when tickled with the feather, and who, exactly, will get what side effect from the antihistamine? Such questions regarding reactions are difficult to answer and thus explain why so many people are seriously harmed by drug side effects; we cannot predict beforehand who will get reactions that are worse than the original problem. If we could predict this, we would not give that drug to those individuals, and drug side effects would not be killing tens of thousands of Americans, as is the case in the United States today.

As action medicine's desired therapeutic effect is a direct result of the action taken, this action must be relatively strong and will thus be relatively easy to predict. That is one of action' medicine's greatest strengths. One of its greatest weaknesses, however, is the high rate of undesirable side effects that are much more difficult to predict. In the case of reaction medicine, the desired therapeutic effect takes place as an indirect reaction to the healer's intervention. This intervention will be milder than that used in action medicine, and there will be few if any undesirable effects, but the desired therapeutic effect, being a reaction, will be difficult to predict. Thus, one of the strengths of reaction medicine is its safety, while one of its weaknesses is a relatively greater degree of unpredictability in obtaining the desired therapeutic effect.

Pages 110 – 111 Additional Benefits of Reaction Medicine

[These are a couple of brief quotes from this section]

One of the most important and often overlooked strengths of reaction medicine is the potential to provide benefits for problems other than those being treated; that is, to cause good side effects. Because of the nature of holistic interconnections and the fact that reaction medicine takes advantage of these connections in helping the body to help itself, helping one problem with reaction medicine often helps others as well. …

Finding that other health conditions improve in the process of treating the primary problem is common occurrence in the practice of Chinese medicine. Often these additional benefits go unnoticed by the patient at first. Because reaction medicine helps the body to better adjust and heal itself naturally, many people do not realize that the cause of their sleeping better, catching fewer colds, experiencing more energy, and so on is the treatment they have been having for other problems. If someone continues to be treated with reaction medicine approaches over long periods of time, the improvements in overall body balancing they experience can also help to prevent future health problems.


Get started with your holistic stress-relief today! Just send me a note through the contact form in the sidebar!