Tag Archives: exercise

Oh Muse, Where Art Thou?

Photo courtesy Nicole N

Inspiration.

Imagination.

Creativity.

All three are words attributed to the occasionally elusive creature called the Muse.

While us artist-types rely on the Muse to inspire our current artistic endeavors, we aren’t the only people with muses.  Everyone has creativity, and needs creativity to solve problems.

Through the creative process, we move through the mundane to come up with unique and original ideas.  We use this process every day, from when we determine an alternate route when our traditional route to work is blocked, to deciding what to have for dinner.

How creative we are is influenced by our intelligence, memory, personality, attitude, mental health, and physical health, among others.  While some of these factors are beyond our control, many of them aren’t.  By altering those over which we have control, we can sharpen and develop our creativity.  We can grow our muses.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the fastest ways to influence creativity, for several reasons.  First, exercise decreases the effects of stress by releasing endorphins which positively affect our mental health.  Positive mental health leads to a positive attitude.  A positive attitude leads to increased mental flexibility, which makes it easier to be creative.

Exercise improves every aspect of cognition, including creativity.  There is something about activating the right side of the brain that enhances creativity, and instead of trying to explain it, I’m giving you the link to a fascinating article about it here.

Work on Your Working Memory

Working memory is also called short-term memory.  It is the part of our brain that stores information for short periods of time so that we can manipulate the information to understand and reason what we saw, learned, etc…  Exercising your brain, whether through brain games, chess, word puzzles, etc… you can increase your working memory.

Become a Brainstorming Genius

In the article “How to Get Mindpopping Ideas,”  Michael Michalko likens creativity to the universe, and creative ideas to the subatomic particles found throughout.   He gives three ways to harvest all those millions of ideas and thoughts while brainstorming.

Photo by Free Digital Photos

Observe and record each thought as a possibility.  The key word here is observe.  Don’t place judgment or value to anything your subconscious brain puts forth.  When we judge the value of our thoughts, we snuff out creativity.

Become inclusive.  When brainstorming, accept every thought as important and potentially valuable, no matter how crazy or random it seems. Creativity is the combining of elements in new and unusual ways.

Keep a written record.  Writing down our thoughts and ideas moves them into long-term memory.  Even if we aren’t consciously thinking of the idea, our subconscious is, and will create more and more ideas.

What are some ways you increase communication with your muse?

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Weigh the Method, Relish the Outcome

If  you visit my Life List, you’ll find a simple goal: Lose ten pounds.

If you don’t visit, you’ll miss all the thrills and sizzle and eye-popping pink on my website, but still be able to keep up with this post.

Moving right along…

I won’t divulge my actual weight except to say I am ten pounds over my ideal healthy weight for my height and age.

I’m fortunate.

No, I don’t expect to look like I did when I was twenty, and I don’t expect to wear the clothes my daughters wear. I’m 47, and a grandmother to boot. This isn’t about ego (much). This is about health: physical and emotional health.

Will I feel good emotionally when my clothes fit well? When I don’t have to undo the top button of my jeans so I don’t cut off my circulation when I sit down? When people stop asking when my baby is due?

You betcha.

But more, this is about health. May marks my sixth year of glorious remission. I know what it means to be without health. I know what it feels like to lack the strength to get out of bed. And, I know how good it feels to know that, sad and difficult as that time in my life was, that time is now a memory.

Ten pounds is not a lot of weight to lose. I repeat, I am fortunate.

And if it weren’t for fear of this little bug called complacency, I’d be, well, complacent.

Complacency means ten pounds would turn to twelve would turn to fifteen would turn to twenty-five would turn to fifty and soon, what had once seemed doable will become an anxiety-ridden nightmare.

I choose to take action now. Hence the entry on my Life List: Lose ten pounds.

First, I must clarify. I officially joined Life List Club in April, but this life list goal went live in January. Ten pounds in one year? Why, that’s less than a pound a month!

Totally doable.

So doable, in fact, that I hardly had to lift a finger. So I didn’t.

In January, I was ten pounds away from my target weight. In February, I was twelve pounds from my target weight. In March, thirteen pounds.

See a trend here?

End of April, I am ten pounds away.

Before you haul out the bazooka and honk me a victory tune, remember, this is exactly where I was four months ago. Conceivably, I could have been seven or even six pounds away from my target. Instead, I’d accomplished nothing. Instead, I stood still, literally, and stood still in the march toward my target.

Such a simple goal, an easy, attainable target, and yet, my train was chugging in the opposite direction. Why?

The explanation is simple. It was too easy. It was too ‘doable’. As life coach and guru Tony Robbins would say, I wasn’t ‘disturbed’ enough to effect the change I needed to make to meet my target.

Time to raise my standards and up the ante. Which leads me to wonder, if you want to be a champion limbo dancer, do you have to ‘lower’ your standards?

I digress.

What does this epiphany mean? First, ten pounds in four months, roughly, half a pound a week.  No, that little red needle on the bathroom scale still ain’t moving at super sonic speed, but I want healthy weight loss.

Diet is not the problem. Nutritionally, I’ve been good. I don’t eat processed foods. I am aware of my carbohydrate intake, but not fanatical–I do not advocate slashing any nutrient from my diet willy nilly. I eat good fats like avocados and cashews, but tempted as I am, I do not eat a full can of cashews at one sitting. A quarter cup of mixed nuts are a treat I am allowed to indulge in every second or third day. I eat between meals to keep my energy up so I do not binge later, but I measure my snacks. Eight corn tortilla chips with tomato salsa fills the void, yet eight chips measured on a plate means I do not fill my face. Dr. Oz advocates colour in our food choices, so dinner is protein on one side of my plate and colourful veggies on the other.

Now, it’s time to exercise. It’s time to reverse bad habits. It’s time to haul my keister out of bed when the alarm goes off and put on my running shoes. I sit all day in front of a computer, so when I switch to the television screen, it’s time to get busy and use that exercise ball and lift those weights and do those squats.

If blog-hopping were an actual physical activity, I’d lose those ten pounds today. With a click of your mouse you can explore the sixties in my Wildflower post, A Woman’s Place, or read a review of Eloisa James’ A Kiss at Midnight at Romance & Beyond.

Thanks for listening, thanks for keeping me honest, thanks for sharing your exercise challenges and successes in a comment, or just say ‘hello’.