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10 Ways To Let The Bud Of Creativity Blossom In Your Mind

10 Ways To Let The Bud Of Creativity Blossom In Your Mind

Creativity in contemporary culture has been cast up on a pedestal as an illusive pursuit meant only for “creative types”. Creativity requires our brains to make new connections between previously unconnected ideas and nearly everyone is born with this capability. How many truly uncreative children have you encountered? Probably not many (if any!) So the assertion that you’re simply not “the creative type” doesn’t make sense at all. You are! It’s just that your creative capacity has been struggling to breathe and grow in the vacuum that it’s been placed into.

Your creativity might seem shriveled and dry now, but here are ten specific ways to breathe new life into your creative self.

1. Embarrass yourself.

The fear of embarrassment or shame is what keeps people from being creative. You have to be willing to make a mistake, fail and look silly. In college I took an actin class that was very physical (pretending to be monkeys and things like that). At first I was so embarrassed that I would be sweaty and gross if I committed to the physicality of the exercises, but only when I decided the embarrassment was worth the creative gain did I really reach a new level of skill and freedom.

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2. Write by hand. A lot.

In a culture that is continually moving more toward the digital, it is not hard to go a whole day without writing anything down by hand. Heck! I make my grocery lists on my phone these days. But scientists have clearly proven that there is a strong connection between writing by hand and retaining information and generating ideas. The simple practice of slowly committing your hand to writing down your thoughts will over time foster new ideas that allow you to be more creative.

3. Pick a new hobby.

Learn to knit. Take piano lessons. Try your hand at water colors. Picking something that you’re unfamiliar with and struggling to learn a new skill helps to create healthy new pathways in your brain. The act of learning a low commitment creative act will breed confidence if your inner creative-self.

4. Play with a child.

The next time you get the opportunity to engage with a young child, really do it. Don’t halfheartedly race cars with your nephew, but learn from him! If he wants to play doctor commit to your role as a wounded sailor. Taking play seriously. Children have no inner sensor that keeps them from breaching social norms, and they create with more abandon than most adults. Learn from the creative abandon of the children in your life.

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5. Schedule it.

It may seem counter intuitive, to put ‘creative time’ on your weekly calendar, but it is unrealistic to assume that you will suddenly be able to channel creativity all day every day. By designating a specific time every week (or several times a week!) to be creative you are helping yourself follow through and be intentional about your creative endeavors. Plus, marking it on the calendar will make you more likely to actually do the deed!

6. Keep a notebook with you.

Keep a notebook handy with you at all times to encourage yourself to capture those unpredictable creative thoughts. Write down ideas, funny quotes, doodles and sketches. Make this notebook a judgement free place where you can hold all of those little creative glimpses that shimmer through our days.

7. Take yourself on a date.

Julia Cameron, author of the book The Artist’s Way stresses the importance of taking your inner-artist on a date. Take your creative self somewhere that will feed your creativity. Go to a museum! Go to a play! Take a coloring book and go to a local coffee shop! There are countless ways to take yourself on an artists date.

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8. Move your body.

Get up from the computer screen, turn off the t.v., leave your sketch book at home and work up some sweat. Go for a brisk 20 minute walk. Turn your music up loud and dance it out. Moving your body will help to break up the monotony of your day and the monotony of your thought processes. Regular exercise will lead to a more creative life.

9. Make lists.

List making might seem like an entirely uncreative act, but making lists will actually trigger unconscious connections and help you to generate new ideas. I’m not talking about a grocery list, but lists of ideas, memories, likes or dislikes. Creating a massive like of things you love will not only help you be more creative but it will help you learn about yourself as you see patterns arise in the things you write down.

10. Let yourself be bored.

I run from boredom like the plague. Any lull in my day I whip out my phone and scroll various social media outlets to keep my brain from sensing even a whiff of boredom. But if we let ourselves be bored we are giving our minds space to daydream. As they say, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ so if your mind is not being constantly filled with outside stimulus it will be forced to create it’s own stimulus.

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Don’t run from your creative self because of fear. Everyone is insecure. Just lug your insecurity along with you and allow yourself to be vulnerable anyway. Engaging in these ten things will help you explore your creative self and grow in your creativity.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Emily Myrin

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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