Living a creative life goes much deeper than expressing ourselves through art, music and dance–it is designing our lives, our work and ourselves in a way that brings us peace and a profound sense of joy.
Our nervous systems are wired to PROTECT or to CREATIVELY DESIGN every aspect of ourselves and our lives. When our nervous system is in protection mode, all that is possible to visualize are emotions that promote survival: anger, fear/anxiety, sadness/depression and ultimately stagnation. This is also known as fight or flight. A world in fight or flight mode is barren of creative and solution oriented thought. It is a world where survival is the sole focus and all resources are shunted towards this effort.
Everything that elevates our heart rate, shortens the breath and rushes us with adrenaline triggers the state of fight or flight (Sympathetic Nervous System). Whether it’s a near traffic accident, a conflict with a loved one, a deadline for work, a real or IMAGINED threat–all of these things collapse our world into a tiny, black and white fraction of our full potential. It’s the equivalent of looking at the world through a narrow tube and seeing only what’s within that limited scope when in reality there are endless options that surround that one view. This physiological state makes us feel like we are out of choices and ultimately become completely stuck in patterns of behaviors that only further contribute to our state of powerlessness.
The amazing news is that we are all equipped with an alternative, regenerative nervous system state. This innovative state, known as the parasympathetic nervous system, literally heals and generates new cells, muscles, emotions and, most importantly, IDEAS. By learning how to turn on the parasympathetic nervous system we expand our view to the endless possibilities that exist within all aspects of life. We go from the paralysis of fearing and protecting to solving, growing and creating. This state develops an innovative and colorful life full of hope.
So how do we activate the parasympathetic nervous system? The first step is to cultivate awareness–to recognize and identify all of the behaviors that create a perceived threat. By isolating the beliefs, thoughts and actions that turn on the protective, fear based state, we begin to make the adjustments necessary to shift into a broader view based on possibilities.
There are many strategic techniques that I find to be effective in training and strengthening the muscle of awareness. My personal favorite is the implementation of Mindfulness as outlined in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that focuses on the integration of the extremes found in black and white thinking. This mindfulness template provides a step by step approach to arrive at more balanced, non threatening perspectives. These perspectives ultimately relax the body back into the creative state of the parasympathetic nervous system.
The more we experience the physiological state of innovation, the further it infuses every component of our lives. We start to produce more unique work, our relationships thrive as we leave fear and defensiveness behind and begin to show up from a place of love and possibilities. Living an innovative life does not magically dissolve all conflict, it just makes us equipped to resolve them with an elegant and effective approach that leaves us all in a better, more beautiful place.
To begin designing your creative life, schedule a consultation with Dr. Lamb today.