Put Your Dreamer in Charge and Feel Really Good

beauty of your dreams

 

Put Your Dreamer In Charge and Feel Really Good

 

When you were a kid, you didn’t have any “real-world” duties, so it allowed you to spend your time inventing games, talking to imaginary friends, making tents out of blankets, being a superhero, a ballerina or an astronaut.  Basically doing whatever you wanted to do for most of the day. You lived in the realm of your imagination…you dreamed…A LOT.

Somewhere along the way your teachers said stop day dreaming, get serious, stop playing…and you did.  Now,  you have obligations and responsibilities that help make sure that everything runs smoothly. You map out logistics and build routines that create a sense of comfort, security and stability for you and your family. You have serious goals but are you really happy?

While those elements are essential to being a grown-up, we still need to dream and play and creatively express ourselves in order to maintain our sanity and build a life worth living. Scientific studies have proven that play does a body good. When we play, we send a beautiful chemical called endorphins cascading through our bodies, which makes us feel really good. Getting into a state of dreaming  and wonder opens us up to new possibilities. Creative expression allows us to generate new ideas and inspire new conversations and instills in us a general sense of well being.

Here are a few simple steps to help you put your dreamer back in the driver’s seat.

  1. Play Like A Child. Maybe doing cartwheels is no longer in your wheelhouse, but you can still run across an open field with your arms out like an airplane. You can sit on  swing and reach for the stars. You can lay on the grass and imagine the passing clouds as mermaids or castles in the sky.
  1. Love Your Friends. Before we learned to guard ourselves against rejection and heartache, we laughed openly with our friends, told them how awesome they were, and gave them lots of hugs. Guess what…you can still do all that. We need physical contact to feel connected to something other than ourselves and to feel a little less alone, especially in times of need. Hugs reduce the levels of cortisol in the body and lowers our stress level and therefore improves our mood. AND IT IS FREE.
  2. Creatively express yourself. We were all born creative  that is until someone told us “cows weren’t purple. If you want to be taken seriously you need that power suit.”  Creativity is your authentic soul yearning to be free. Take some time and scribble and doodle with crayons and see what emerges. Indulge your senses with a new cologne, find an accessory that says clearly who you are. You can put on your favorite dance music and rock out. Try out a new recipe for a spinach souffle or a decadent chocolate cake. Creative expression is your birthright.creativity1
  3. Be Curious. All too often we let our brain go on autopilot through rigid thinking.Don’t rush through your day, rather indulge in wonder. Ask open ended questions. What would I love? What feels better? What can I do with what I have to to experience more joy and happiness?
  4. Dream BIGGER.  Sure, it makes sense to put “realistic” goals on your list, but what about your “impossible” dreams? Let your imagination run wild and your curiosity guide you…What if you could end world hunger? What if you could have numerous homes all over the world? What is you could make the world safer for women and girls? What if you could  make a fabulous living only working four hours a day? Or lead the cause that ended global warming?   Let your mind become limitless again…and just see what happens.

One of the biggest keys to happiness is to do the things that you enjoy. Chances are, they are the simple things you’ve done ever since you were a kid.

 

How will you put YOUR dreamer in charge TODAY?

Join the creative activist community and collaborate with other big picture thinkers. Share your big dreams on https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeActivists/

Creatively Constipated? 3 Ways That Play Can Clear That Right Up

Creatively Constipated? 3 Ways that PLAY can clear that Right Up

By Alissia Thompson, LCPC

Have you ever had the experience of being under deadline? There you are, sweating the minutes of the clock ticking by, desperately searching for a great (or even mediocre) idea to put forth before you turn into a pumpkin. The pressure is on-you have to produce, yet your imagination has gone into lockdown. Nothing is happening. Your creative flow is effectively backlogged. You feel frustrated, fatigued, and fed up. Yes, you’re creatively constipated. The ideas are stuck. You push harder, but that only seems to make things worse. Now the panic sets in. The clock keeps ticking. How will I get it done?

Creativity is a vital life force-one that I contend brings us closer to the Divine-but is also equal parts stubborn. Sometimes it just doesn’t want to cooperate, much like nature on occasion (see Chicago winter this year).winter So does that mean we go into hibernation until it passes? Recently someone reminded me that inspiration is for amateurs. He suggested that we design our own conditions to create. So let me ask you: when it plunged into the double-digit negatives in January, did you: a) focus your energies on trying to change the temperature, or b) simply put on more layers, to keep yourself warm and safe?

We can’t change the weather, and we can’t force creativity. What we can do, however, is lay the foundation for those conditions that lend to creativity. Just like we can put on an extra top to stay warm, we can take measures to effect creativity where we have influence-and that is in our actions. We can choose to act in ways that are conducive to our creativity. This is where play comes in. Play is an equally Divine life force to creativity that can be considered its right-hand (wo)man. Put into action, play can supercharge creativity, and alleviate that painful, anxiety-provoking constipation. Play and creativity are a 1-2 punch! Here’s how:

1)      Play does a body good. When we play, we send a beautiful chemical called endorphins cascading through our bodies, which makes us feel really good. It relaxes us and makes us feel happy and euphoric. When we play, we set our bodies up for creative receptivity, unlike stress and its chemical counterpart, cortisol. Play really is healthy, and puts us in the mood for creating.

2)      Play clears our minds. Research in rats shows that play enhances memory, improves problem-solving abilities, and actually builds a bigger brain! While not much research to date has been compiled on humans, study after study suggests that us humans are influenced much the same. A playful brain is a sharper brain. A sharper, more relaxed brain is apt to be more creative than that of a dull, overwhelmed brain. We actually need play to stay focused!

3)      Play reduces stress. I know I touched on it above, but stress really is a killer and deserves mention of its own. When we’re stressed, not only are our bodies flooded with erosive neurotransmitters (like cortisol), but we literally contract. Our minds go into tunnel vision, our bodies grow tense, and our spirits disconnect from the Infinite. How conducive is this state to creation? I used to throw a ball around with some of my staff when we were brainstorming/problem-solving, and it took the edge off the process. Ideas flow when stress is low.

Whether faced with a deadline or simply aiming to complete a creative project, try using a little play when you start to feel all stopped up. See how moving around a bit, lightening up, and having a little fun influences the process. Play can be so transformative; unfortunately not enough of us leverage this as part of our healing repertoire. Not you, though. I know you see it; and I know you’ll play long.

 

alissiajayneAbout the Author: Alissia Thompson is a psychotherapist and teacher whose work is to transform individuals and organizations through play. She offers workshops and individual sessions on the importance of play as part of personal development. You can learn more about Alissia at www.alissiajayne.com.