The Power of Brainstorming

Let’s talk about brainstorming today. It’s my favorite technique to use whenever a problem has me stumped, I don’t know what to do next, I feel overwhelmed, or I encounter some sort of road block. You can brainstorm by yourself, with a partner, or in a group.

To brainstorm, you simply throw out any and all ideas that pop into your head. Don’t judge, don’t edit yourself, just get it all out there. While a lot of what you come up with is utterly useless, it helps you refine ideas and start thinking creatively. The fact that much of what comes out of a brainstorming session won’t be used doesn’t matter because the few ideas that do work are well worth the time and effort spent.

When you’re brainstorming by yourself, it’s helpful to write down your ideas. You can brainstorm with a pen and notebook, use a word document on your computer, or other tools like mind-mapping software for example. The most important thing is that you have a way to record your ideas and then go back and organize them later.

When you’re brainstorming in a group, writing things down isn’t always necessary, but it can be helpful to have a few notes written down on a notepad, a shared digital document, or a white board.

The reason brainstorming works so well is because it allows you to quickly tap into your creative thinking. We’ve talked in an earlier post that you have to go past all the obvious answers before you can start to look at a problem with fresh eyes and from a different angle.

A lot of different ideas will come up in a good brainstorming session. Often something small will spark another idea and another. This is when you’re really starting to tap into the creative thinking part of your brain. It’s also why it’s important not to judge or discount thoughts in a brainstorming session. Get it out there and put it on paper. You never know what will spark the one idea that will turn out to be the perfect solution.

When you’re brainstorming by yourself, it’s OK to take your time. Get the first flow of ideas out there and then walk away. Come back a little later with fresh eyes and see what you can add. If you’re brainstorming in a group, it’s important not to judge or ridicule. Don’t dismiss an idea, no matter what. It doesn’t matter that you know this won’t work. What’s important is to get the thought out there and allow it to inspire the other members of your team.

Essential Oil: Brain Power™

Brain Power™ is a blend of essential oils high in sesquiterpenes—like Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Blue Cypress, and Frankincense—to promote a sense of clarity and focus when used aromatically. Diffuse up to 1 hour three times daily.

Time to Lose the Guilt

Let’s talk a little bit about guilt today. I’m sure you have your fair share of feeling guilty. We all do, and it’s not a great feeling. It’s a feeling that makes you feel powerless. It’s not a productive state of mind, and it certainly isn’t a positive state of mine. In fact, when you feel guilty, you focus on all the negative thoughts. That makes it impossible to think positive thoughts while you’re feeling guilty. Can you see why it is important to lose the guilt?

Guilt makes you feel powerless, and it takes away your confidence. Guilt makes you slow down and second guess yourself at everything you do. Guilt keeps you from taking action and making progress in all areas of your life.

Letting go of guilt isn’t an easy thing to do. There are two good strategies that have been working well for me whenever I find myself falling into the guilt trap. You can use one or the other depending on the scenario, or you can use both of them starting with the first one and then moving on to the second one.

Forgive Yourself And Move On

Often your best bet when you feel guilty about doing or not doing something is to acknowledge the feeling, forgive yourself, and then move on. We already talked about the fact that guilt isn’t a productive emotion. Why not make your peace and go get something done?

One way to forgive yourself is to realize that the past is in the past and that you did the best you could at the time. If you feel that you could have done better, take it as a lesson learned and promise yourself to do better or try harder next time.

Focus On Something Related That You’re Good At

Now that you’ve forgiven yourself, it’s time to switch gears and focus on something that you’re good at. Nothing resolves guilt like action and self-esteem. This works best if you can make it something that’s closely related to the thing you’re feeling guilty about.

Let’s say you feel guilty because you didn’t cook a homemade meal for your family after a long day at the office. Shift your focus and appreciate the fact that you work hard and make good money so you can stop and grab some healthy takeout on the way home from work. Appreciate the fact that your kids are fed, healthy, and you have plenty of time to hang out with them before bedtime.

Give these ideas a try, and get in the habit of letting go of guilt.

Essential Oil: Forgiveness™

Forgiveness™ contains an aroma that supports the ability to forgive yourself and others while letting go of negative emotions, an important part of personal growth. Diffuse for up to 1 hour three times daily, and enjoy this blend of Sesame, Melissa, Geranium, Frankincense, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Coriander, Angelica, Lavender, furanocoumarin-free Bergamot, Lemon, Ylang ylang, Jasmine, Helichrysum, Roman chamomile, Palmarosa and Rose.

Words to Watch Out For

A lot of thoughts run through our mind on any given day. In the first post of this series, we talked a bit about the importance of our thoughts. Today, I want to pick back up on that theme. Instead of paying attention to what we should think, I want to make you aware of some key words you need to watch out for in your thoughts when you want to reduce and stop negative thoughts.

What Are “Negative Words”?

Let’s start by going over some of the words that should give you pause and check if you’re slipping into negative thinking. They include words like no, don’t, won’t, can’t, shouldn’t, and the likes. This is a short list of the most important ones.

You probably have a few of your own words that you know you use when you start to slip into negative thoughts. As you start to pay attention to your thought processes, you’ll recognize the words that are particularly important to you. Make a note of them and add them to the short list above.

Context Matters

Of course context matters. Sometimes thinking and saying “no” can be a very positive thing. The idea is to treat them as stop words. When they come across your mind, stop and examine if you’re still on track or if you’re slipping into negative thought processes. This gives you the control you need to literally change your mind.

Start by becoming more aware of the thoughts running through your mind, particularly when you start to “hear” these negative words. Stop and figure out if you are using them in a positive, negative, or neutral context.

Turning Negative Words Into Positive Ones

When you do find yourself using those negative words and catch yourself with those negative thoughts, it’s time to take action and do everything you can to turn a negative into a positive. Let’s say you find yourself doubting your professional abilities; you hear about a fun new project at work and catch yourself thinking that you “can’t” do that.

It’s time to turn that around and change your thinking process from “I can’t do that” or “I don’t know everything there is to know about this project” to “I know how to do parts A, B, and C and I know I can learn part D”.

The same goes for any other negative thoughts you have, including self-image ones, self-worth ones, relationship thoughts, and the likes. Instead of beating yourself up that the house isn’t perfectly clean, focus on the fact that you spent a fun afternoon at the park with the kids or that you now have the perfect opportunity to work on practicing chores with the little ones, and get everyone involved in house cleaning tasks.

Essential Oil: Motivation™

Motivation™ stimulates feelings of action and accomplishment, providing positive energy to help overcome feelings of fear and procrastination. Diffuse this blend for 30 minutes up to three times a day, and inhale the scents of Roman chamomile, Black spruce, Ylang ylang and Lavender.

Your Brain is a Muscle: Work It Out

The brain works a little like a muscle. You have to work on those creative and positive thinking processes on a daily basis, or you start to lose some of the progress you’re making. Think back on long summer breaks when you were in school. Study after study shows that kids lose much of what they’ve learned and how well they learn during a long summer break, unless they are encouraged to do a little something to work out their brains.

The same goes for you. Think about the first day back at the office after a two week vacation. You have a hard time getting into the groove, and it takes a while before you’re back to your regular thinking and processing speed. The longer you’re gone, the worse it gets. If you’ve gone back to school after a few years on the job or gone back to work after maternity leave, you have experienced this first hand.

The key then is to keep the mind sharp by actively working it out regularly. Honestly, this isn’t just about positive and creative thinking. It’s about thought processes and keeping your brain working well in general. The more you challenge yourself by reading interesting books, solving puzzles, and learning something new on a regular basis, the better your brain will perform for you in general.

We’ve already talked about the benefits of learning something new on a regular basis. Don’t stop there. Create some every-day challenges to work out your brain. Maybe it’s solving a crossword or Sudoku puzzle each morning. Maybe it’s surrounding yourself with critical thinkers who challenge you in conversation. Maybe it’s reading something uplifting each evening before bed.

Come up with some simple little things you can start to do regularly to make sure your brain stays active and sharp. Find a new hobby that challenges your mind. Make new friends. Learn a new language or skill. Sign up for an online brain training game.

Make training your brain just as non-negotiable as eating a healthy diet and getting in your physical exercise. You’ll be happier and healthier for it for years to come, and it will really pay off big time as you get older. You can do a lot to combat the loss of cognitive function by actively working out your brain.

In addition to working out your brain in general, do as much as you can to encourage yourself to think positively and creatively. Solve some interesting puzzles. Come up with creative solutions to imaginary problems for the fun of it. Practice your daily affirmations, write in your journal, and remind yourself to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. The more you practice, the easier it will become; and you’ll actually be able to reshape your brain towards positivity and creativity.

Essential Oil: En-R-Gee

Fresh and herbaceous, En-R-Gee essential oil blend offers an invigorating aromatic boost when you need it most. Diffuse or apply it topically during your morning routine or before any activity to enjoy the stimulating, spicy-pine fragrance of Rosemary, Juniper, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, Balsam Fir, Clove, and Black Pepper essential oils.  Combine with Clarity™ essential oil blend and diffuse during long drives or late night study sessions for an invigorating aroma that will help you push through.

Keep Your Eyes Open: Creative Solutions are Everywhere

Vintage style black female author writing and sitting on a chaise loungeAs you start to become a little more aware of creative thinking and creative solutions and start to do a little more of it yourself, you’ll start to notice things here and there that you can use and implement. It’s a pretty amazing feeling and, of course, quite helpful when you need an out-of-the-box solution. It’s a skill that will come to you eventually, but why not speed things up a little bit by keeping an eye out for creative solutions. They really are everywhere.

I’m an online business owner and marketer; so naturally, I’m always looking for new and creative ways to share content and present offers. I’m also a shopper or consumer. Some of the things I buy are very specific like supplies for my favorite hobby. Then there’s the everyday stuff like groceries, clothing, and once in awhile, purchases like a new car or washing machine. You get the idea. We all buy a lot of different things and, as a result, we’re bombarded through various advertising, emails, newsletter, magazines, social media posts, and the likes to buy the latest and greatest product.

Since I am also a marketer and always looking for fresh and creative ideas for my business, I started paying attention to what offers grab my attention. What emails am I opening? What Facebook or YouTube video has me go out and look for a product? What makes me laugh or sit up and pay attention? Those are the creative solutions out there that catch my eye.

Often it’s something that has no direct or obvious place in what I do with my business. It could be a tool, crafting supplies, some fun clothes, an interesting offer for some books or magazines, or even a great spin on how to use oils. Something will catch my eye and I figure out how to include it in my own marketing.

Let me give you an example. Suppose a grocery store sent out a flyer early this spring with some spring cleaning deals and tips in it. Not only might that  inspire you to do a little spring cleaning around your  house, it also might motivate you to organize and declutter your digital files and emails. That in turn, could inspire a new information product and coaching program about cleaning up what you’re doing online to increase profits.

Creative ideas and solutions are everywhere around you. Start to look for them and find a way to incorporate them into what you do. You don’t have to have your own business to benefit from this. Creative thinking will help you around the house, in your marriage, work, school, and any other aspect of your life. Go out there and get creative.

Essential Oil: Tangerine

Tangerine essential oil (Citrus reticulata) is extracted by cold pressing the rind of the tangerine fruit. Tangerines, which are part of the Rutaceae family, likely originated in Southeast Asia and have since spread to subtropical areas around the world. Like the fresh citrus fruit, Tangerine oil is loved by children and adults alike, with its delightfully sweet aroma that can create a happy, contented mindset.

Because of its appealing aroma, Tangerine oil uses include a wealth of topical and aromatic applications. Use its cleansing benefits in your morning skin care routine for an added boost or apply it to your temples before study time or meditation. Its fragrant, calming aroma also makes it an important part of Young Living favorites such as Peace & Calming®Joy™, and Citrus Fresh™.