Monday, February 12, 2018

#182 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life; Allow the good things to soak in.

"Art Can Heal" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
Most of our positive strengths (like resilience, feeling appreciative, relaxed, emotional balance and compassion) have grown in us from positive experiences. Dr. Rick Hanson has observed, however, that our brains have a negativity bias, which is actually there to help us stay alert to danger, to survive. Our brains are "Teflon for the good" experiences but "Velcro for the bad." To counteract this negativity bias, he suggests we really take a little bit of extra time to let the "good" soak in. Dr. Hanson describes his Heal steps for "taking in the good," or turning a passing positive experience into a lasting neural structure in this brief but clear Ted Talk.

So I tried his steps with my daily art practice.
Have - Notice a positive experience, or remember a positive experience. (I thought about a positive experience while working on this collage.)
Enrich - Notice your body sensation when you think about this experience. Help the experience last. Open to it, let it sink in for 20 or 30 seconds. Appreciate it, enjoy it. (I tried to allow the character in this collage express this positive experience and then imagine the character's feeling.)
Absorb - This can overlap the Enrich step, but really visualize "putting a jewel into the treasure chest of the heart."  Allow for and observe a positive shift as it occurs. (This one can happen if we look at our art work and truly feel and appreciate what is expressed.)
Link - This is an optional step where you can keep the strong sense of the positive experience, while being aware of some smaller negative material, so that the positive can be bigger and stronger than the negative. Let the positive outweigh the negative, causing the negative memory to weaken and to be affected by the positive feeling tone now attached to it.  (We can print out art work that reminds us to allow the good to soak in, and look at it, feel the good, especially when there is negative material to deal with.)

Try using your daily art practice to grow greater well-being, relaxation, mindfulness, emotional balance, and feeling appreciated in your brain and in your life.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

#181 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life; Allow your inner 5 year old to play.

"Creativity Is SO Valuable" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
There was a fun post on FaceBook the other day, describing how we are born creative geniuses based on the research of George Land.  He had begun investigations into stimulating and directing creativity in the late 1950's. He developed a creativity test which was used to select the most innovative engineers and scientists ("creative geniuses") to work for NASA. The instrument and assessments were successful, and he decided to adjust it to test children. “What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.” His conclusion is based on testing the creativity of 1,600 children ranging in ages from three-to-five years old. He later re-tested the same children at 10 years, and again at 15 years of age. The test results:
  • 98% of 5 years old tested at the genius level.
  • 30%  of10 years old tested at the genius level.
  • 12% of 15 years old tested at the genius level.
  • 2% of 280,000 adults tested at the genius level.
He gives an inspiring Ted Talk on his research, explaining why we tend to lose our creativity so quickly.  He concludes that for the human to continue to evolve or even survive, we need to allow our inner 5 year old's out to play, a lot more often.  Which is really easy if we are doing a daily art practice. We can help our species survive and have a great time as well.

More on George Land.
You can test your creativity here. (It's very fun!)
Lots more on boosting your creativity here.