The Importance of having a Creative Outlet

Do you have a creative outlet?

You may not know this but having a creative outlet is extremely important for our mental and emotional well being.

Whether it’s sports, writing, painting, listening to/playing music or singing; all of these activities and many more can provide an excellent outlet for us to express ourselves.

Funnily enough, the very reason I started this blog was to have a creative outlet to express myself.

It’s so easy to get bogged down in “life’s” little problems that we forget how important it is to have something that we can put our energy into.

I’ve always been a big fan of listening to music.

I’m very open minded when it comes to music so I’ll listen to just about anything that makes me feel good regardless of the style or genre.

But there was a time about 18 months ago that I actually stopped listening to music because I was so “busy”.

I don’t know exactly how long it was for but I reckon it must have been for at least a month.

Anyway, during this time I began to notice myself getting more serious and matter of fact about things and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

Then I eventually realised that I hadn’t been listening to music.

I think the reason this happened was because of the fact that listening to music activates the creative right side of our brain, which is also the side that enables us to feel positive emotions.

When I stopped listening to music I stopped stimulating that side of my brain and therefore became more “logical” and analytically minded.

As soon as I figured this out I vowed I’d listen to music every single day from then on, and now I do.

First thing in the morning I get up and put on some nice relaxing chill out music while I’m having my breakfast.

It really is a great way to start the day because it’s puts you into that relaxed and creative state which then sets your mood and attitude for the rest of the day.

Try it for yourself and see.

Anyway, the point I want to make is to start becoming aware of what activities you like doing that allow you to express your creativity.

Listening to music is a creative activity because even though you’re not doing anything physically, you are doing something mentally.

When we listen to music we remember and we imagine.

And if it’s a song that we love, that’s even better!!

Think of how great it is that a song can just shift our mood up a notch in a matter of seconds, it’s a great way to cheer ourselves up if we’re feeling down.

So having a creative outlet is crucial to sustaining positive mental health and we should all make a point of using this to our advantage.

Something worth knowing don’t you think?…..

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The Art of Handling Disappointment

How do you handle disappointment?

Disappointment in life happens to be one of those things we like to avoid at all costs.

The emotional feeling of disappointment is a feeling we’d be very happy to never have to experience again.

Sometimes we can get so excited and worked up over something that we really want to happen only to have it blow up in our face and fail miserably to work out the way we hoped.

I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s not a pleasant experience and it can leave you feeling powerless and helpless over the results in your life.

But the fact is disappointment is an unavoidable life experience.

Even if you’re the calmest, most patient person in the world, you’ll inevitably have to deal with disappointment from time to time in your life.
So how can we learn to deal with it in a way that helps us to feel more empowered, instead of feeling hopeless and distraught?

Well I think we need to take a step back and look at it from the outside to get a better perspective.

Something seemingly positive had the potential to happen that didn’t happen, and because it didn’t happen we felt disappointed and helpless about it not happening.

So when we look at it from the outside, what is disappointment?

It’s our own emotional reaction to an event or circumstance that didn’t happen the way we expected.

So what does this mean?

Well it means that disappointment is an internal, self created experience and not an external thing affecting us from the outside, even though it seems that way.

We create it within ourselves by how we are choosing to think about the situation.

Our thoughts of disappointment and hopelessness about the situation create the feeling of disappointment.

The reason we have such a strong aversion to disappointment is because as children we experienced it very strongly many times over.

Every time we didn’t get what we wanted we felt helpless, confused and powerless, and that’s why those same feelings seem to happen automatically whenever we don’t get what we think we really want and that creates the experience of disappointment.

So it’s the revisited memory of those past feelings of helplessness, confusion and powerlessness from when we were children that creates our disappointment.

So then really it’s a child’s reaction, not an adult’s.

We feel disappointment because we believe that we can’t do without whatever it was we were hoping to happen.

But we were already doing just fine without it, it was only until we started believing that we needed it to happen the problem was created.

It was our attachment to the outcome that caused the problem, not the outcome itself.

If we hadn’t have been attached to the outcome, we wouldn’t have felt so disappointed when it didn’t happen the way we wanted.

So what’s the answer to all this??

How do we crack the disappointment code? Simple, by creating objective indifference to things working out the way we want.

Disappointment only comes from being too attached to getting what we want, so in order to overcome it we need to be indifferent towards getting what we want.
Sometimes we use getting what we want as a tool of escapism, thinking that if we get it our life will change for the better.

But what we’re really doing is resisting things the way they are, and that can only ever bring us more of things the way they are.

So we need to accept things the way they are, be grateful for all the good in our lives (you can’t be grateful and disappointed at the same time), be indifferent about getting what what we want while at the same time being grateful for the possibility of getting it.

And if we don’t get it, we accept it and move on in the faith that something bigger and better will eventually come along.

Take a look back on your life to all the apparent failures and adversities you’ve ever had and then look at all the good things that eventually happened to you because of them.

If you look hard enough you will find that something bigger and better always happens eventually because of apparent failure and disappointment.

So maybe the experience of disappointment is just the universe showing us a better way.

And if we developed that as a belief, we would never be disappointed again.

Death – An Objective Look

One of my brothers friends passed away this weekend.

He was in a car crash.

I won’t go into the details of what happened but it got me thinking about the objective truth of death and why we have such a hard time coming to terms with it.

In our society, the philosophical concept of death is something that’s really swept under the rug.

In other words, we only contemplate the meaning of death when we have to, when we’re directly affected by it.

We see the superficial aspects of it all the time in movies and t.v. shows; but when something happens to someone we know or know of, we’re suddenly thrown into an dark abyss of thoughts and questions about the meaning of life and the inevitability of our own death, as well as thoughts and concerns about those close to us.

In our everyday lives, death is the very last thing we want to think about.

Even writing this now, I feel a compulsive need to stop and just get on with my life; but I really think death is something we all need to come to terms with in some way or another.

The fact is; we can only ever leave this world through death.

That’s it, there’s no other way for us to leave.

That’s a scary thought isn’t it?

Or is it?

Every night when we fall asleep, we leave this world behind.

How could death be any different?

Do you ever remember your everyday life when you fall asleep?

Does it ever bother you that you don’t remember?

How can you miss something that you’re not conciously aware of?

Why are we so afraid of death anyway?

What is it that we’re actually afraid of?

Do we even know?

Have we ever really thought about it?

What if there’s nothing to be afraid of?

The only reason we’re afraid of dying is because we don’t know what’s going to happen to us when we die.

But if you look back on your life to all the things you were afraid of when you were young because you didn’t know what they were; eventually when you learned the truth about them, you stopped being afraid.

Might death not be the same thing?

Maybe death is a realisation.

A realisation of truth.

A realisation of love.

A realisation of home.

Maybe our negative perception of death is all wrong because we can only see it from one side, our side.

Maybe it’s a necessary stage in our spiritual evolution.

Maybe it’s the contrast that we need in order to appreciate the true value of life.

Objectively, we don’t really know what death is; so ultimately it’s not death that we’re afraid of, it’s our concept of death that we’re afraid of.

But that concept is our own creation.

Even to this day there are ancient cultures around the world that celebrate death, and accept it as a natural part of life.

They consider birth and death as doors into and out of this physical plane of existence. Kind of makes sense if you think about it.

I recently saw a quote that said ” We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, we are spiritual beings on a human journey.”

I don’t know about you, but when I saw that quote there was something inside of me that really resonated with it.

Kind of like my soul or spirit was in agreement.

I love it when stuff like that happens, it’s almost like spiritual deja vu.

So maybe death is just the doorway back to wherever we came from, maybe it’s just a shift in our consciousness from this physical plane back to the non-physical.

Whatever it is, it’s a necessary something that allows life to be.

Everything in the universe has an opposite, and without death there could be no life.

I think the best thing we can do with death is; instead of fearing it, commit to use it as a contrast to appreciate the fragile value of life, and to treat life as the truly fragile and valuable thing that it is and never take it for granted or complain that it’s not good enough.

That saying “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is never any clearer than when contemplating the loss of life.

But I think if we could live our lives through that realisation, our world would be a much brighter place.

Life is what you make of it, and in this context so is death.

So I think we can use death to live life more consciously and appreciate it all the more. Most people take their lives for granted in one way or another, myself included.

But if we can remind ourselves just how lucky we are to be here and enjoy it while we are, then we can give life the respect it deserves by being grateful and living it to it’s fullest, the way it was meant to be lived.

A little note on Adversity

I’ve been on an incredible journey of self discovery for the past few years.

Even though it’s been a relatively short time, deep down I’ve always known myself as spiritual even though I wasn’t aware of it intellectually.

When I was a teenager I was very sensitive and introvert, I was very depressed much of the time and sometimes I used to stare up at the stars at night and think to myself “there has to be more to life than this, there has to be”.

I didn’t know it at the time but I was referring to mediocrity and my mind made subjective reality that I had come to accept as truth.

It’s incredible to look back on your life to a time when you were really down and see it in hindsight.

When we’re experiencing it, we really believe that the way we see things is the way they are, but when we look back often times we discover that it wasn’t at all.

Anytime I think back to a perceived bad time, I often catch myself saying “If I knew then what I know now…..”

But the truth is I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for those seemingly difficult times.

Adversity always provides insight eventually.

Those bad times forced me to look inside myself, and it was in doing so that I began to find answers.

The introspective process is an incredible thing as long as you know how to use it to your advantage.

Instead of asking yourself “Why are things this way?”, ask yourself “What do I need to do to change them?”.

Instead of looking for a meaning in the problem, look for a solution outside it.

Einstein said “You can’t solve a problem at the level of consciousness it occurred”.

So asking the second question gives you more choice in the situation and forces you to look for a way out of it, instead of a meaning or justification for it.

Nothing has any meaning except for the meaning you give it, so you may as well give meanings that empower you.

Objectively, reality is the same anyway because the event is still the event, only your perception of it is now different, which changes your experience of it and ultimately how you feel about it.

If you train yourself to give the most beneficial meaning to every event, it will make life so much more rewarding for you.

You will then realise that you really are the only person who controls how you interpret things, and that is a realisation that will change your life for the better.