Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

Blame game: roosters, virus and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

It’s the Year of the Rooster – I was born under the Chinese sign of the Rooster.  Always thought it to be a curse I was born under a sign that wasn’t fertile enough to lay an egg or two.

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According to my friend Sharon Bonin-Pratt (whose last post inspired this post) People born under the sign of the Rooster are hardworking, funny, trustworthy and talented.

I’m not hardworking, at times am funny, almost always trustworthy, and have latent talents that get laid but never hatched.

This Rooster year started off with a cold virus that delights roaming the cozy recesses of my sinus passages.   It’s day 11 (but who’s counting).  I’ve been a total slug – no energy, no resolve which gives me a perfect excuse for not making New Years’ resolutions.

(The truth be told, I never make resolutions for the New Year – learned long ago that when I inevitably fail to keep a resolution it leads to feeling badly.)  

What energy I have has been directed toward resolving to be more creative this year. 

In preparation I’ve been obsessively reading everything I can find on how to break my creative block and stop procrastinating.

Most everything I read about procrastination indicates that we procrastinate when we don’t want to do something that is not enjoyable.   Being a master procrastinator I also procrastinate with things that bring me enjoyment.

For inspiration, I read blogs of people who write, read or draw daily – all things which bring me enjoyment.  I feel badly I’m not like them  which leads me to read articles on procrastination and meeting goals (I know how to set them, just not meet them).

Finally the article below has liberated me! I know what to blame:

My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is lazy . . . not me.

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Creative block here’s neuroscience how to fix it.

by Elizabeth Shockman

“What is it exactly that helps us be creative? What fuels us when we get into an especially productive work flow? What makes the hours disappear when our brains focus on a task?”

“What, in other words, is happening in our brains when we’re being creative?”

“Cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says we know a little bit about what’s going on. Berlin studies the neuroscience of imagination, creativity and improvisation. And for those people who might be facing writer’s block? “There’s really no prescribed medication,” Berlin says. “There is no real magic pill.”’

Instead, she says, creativity depends on which part of the brain you might be using.

“When [people] are improvising, there tends to be a pattern of activation where they have decreased activation in a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,” Berlin says. “And that part of the brain has to do with your sense of self, your sort of inner critic, making sure that your behavior conforms to social norms.”

“Translation? When you’re at your most creative, “basically you lose your sense of self,” Berlin says. “You kind of release your inhibition. The second you become too self-aware that comes back online and you lose that flow state.”’

“In addition to losing inhibitions, people who are in a creative state have increased activation in a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, which has to do with the internal generation of ideas. In other words, the ideas are coming from within.”

“Some people, when they’re in the flow state … a lot of people say ‘It feels like it’s flowing through me. It’s coming from someplace else,’ you know, ‘It’s coming so naturally I don’t even have to think about it,’” Berlin says. “It’s called liberation without attention. You can only keep a certain number of variables in mind when you’re thinking about something consciously. But if you let it go, you actually can come to a greater understanding because the unconscious can do much more complex processing.”

“For those suffering from creative block, Berlin has some practical advice:”

“You have to take in all the information and then go for a walk,” Berlin says. “Go out, do something else. Because those people who sit there and just obsess over thinking about it too much, using your prefrontal cortex you’re actually limiting yourself. So letting it go can actually help you get over, let’s say a writer’s block or a creative block.”

I’d go for a walk but I have a cold.  Maybe some other time . . .

 

 

My Foolproof New Year’s Resolutions

I NEVER make resolutions because I’m afraid – afraid I won’t keep them and then I’ll feel bad and then I’ll feel guilty and then I’ll tell myself I’m worthless and then I’ll get depressed and then I’ll isolate myself and then I’ll lose all my friends and then I’ll spend the rest of my life a broken, lonely woman collecting old memories like shards of broken glass.  

Now that I’m 70 (almost) it’s time I stopped living a life of fear.  This New Year I made resolutions that I know I can keep. 

I RESOLVE to:

  1. Modify and/or eliminate any resolutions I don’t do, forget what they are or don’t suit my fancy.
  2. Enter the HGTV Dream Home sweepstakes to win a house that has been professionally cleaned. (I am not giving you the link because I don’t want to diminish my chance of winning)
  3. Floss  (Gotta do it anyway cuz as I age my gums recede and coffee gets stuck in my teeth.)
  4. Get 5 hours of sleep every night (I already sleep 8 hours)
  5. Feed Freddie.  (Freddie made me include this)

I’m feeling braver already. 

If you have foolproof resolutions PLEASE let me know – I’m planning ahead for next year.

Watch “my” celebration!

“Dubai ushers in 2015 with world’s most-watched New Year’s Eve spectacle by Emaar and a Guinness World Records title. The ‘Largest LED-Illuminated Façade’ around Burj Khalifa was the centre of all glitz as it regaled the teeming spectators with one of the world’s brightest visual displays to date. Over 4.7 tonnes of fireworks were used for the fireworks display with 25,000 shots lighting up the sky!”

 

Take the Test. How Happy Are You?

Let it Roll, Journal Page

I was thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions. I wondered if  the real message behind New Year’s Resolutions is that if I reach them I will be happier with my life.

And, of course when I don’t reach my goals there is no satisfaction in failure.  Having no goals certainly takes care of that.

Now, I don’t believe that happiness should be measured by satisfaction or success or failure.  I don’t believe that happiness as a life-long state of being is attainable. My happiness comes in fits and starts, bits and pieces, tiny moments.

 I, also, don’t believe that a constant state of happiness is actually desirable. Why?  Because happiness breeds status quo.  When human’s are happy there is no impetus for personal growth, change or bettering the world.  Now I certainly am not for despair or misery. But dissatisfaction is not a bad thing.

So! How happy are you? This quick test will help you keep score. The Satisfaction with Life Scale was devised in 1980 by University of Illinois psychologist Edward Diener, a founding father of happiness research. Since then the scale has been used by researchers around the world.

Read the following five statements. Then use a 1-to-7 scale to rate your level of agreement.

1                     2                     3                     4                     5                     6                     7

1=Not at all true               4=Moderately true               7=Absolutely true

_____1    In most ways my life is close to my ideal.

_____2    The conditions of my life are excellent.

_____3    I am satisfied with my life.

_____4    So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.

_____5    If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

_____Total score
Scoring:

  • 31 to 35: you are extremely satisfied with your life
  • 26 to 30: very satisfied
  • 21 to 25: slightly satisfied
  • 20 is the neutral point
  • 15 to 19: slightly dissatisfied
  • 10 to 14: dissatisfied
  • 5 to 9: extremely dissatisfied
  • I took a minute to think about my overall score.  
  • Then I identified areas of my life that were at or above the neutral point
  • Then I identified areas of my life that were at or below the neutral point
Here’s what I asked myself:
  • In areas of my life that are above the neutral point, how motivated am I  to risk changing them and grow?
  • In the areas of my life that are below the neutral point, how stuck am I or reluctant to change and grow?

I think my answers – which I ain’t going to tell you – were verrrrrrrrrry interesting.  All I’ll say is I need to be less happy and more dissatisfied in all the areas of my New Year’s Resolutions!

https://judithwesterfield.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/recycling-resolves-resolutions/

Recycling Resolves Resolutions

It’s a problem for me to come up with resolutions every year.  I lead a pretty good life, I re-cycle paper products & plastic.  I exercise fairly regularly.  I’m kind to most people and all animals.

2012 I’m resolving to bring more creativity into my daily life.  SO!  I registered for Journal Art & Memory Keeping with Effy Wild to create a visual journal page daily.  NO FEE, NO pressure. I am not holding myself to HAVING to do it every day.

First step: You are to pick one word to focus on as the “theme” for the daily pages.  I’ve picked LOVE.  

Second step: Find an old book or journal and create the cover.

 I decided to re-cycle an old partially used journal for this project.  That way I didn’t have to take time to create a journal cover.  Although the picture didn’t photo very well you can see it’s generic enough for love.

Re-cycled Journal Cover

I did pretty good at keeping my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions.  It’s good to look back and feel a sense of accomplishment.

2011 I resolved to:

  1. Loose weight. I lost weight several times.
  2. Take better care of myself. I got my hair cut regularly and took showers.
  3. Stay on top of my billing and expense accounts.  I got on top of the first 7 months last month and my expense records are neatly thrown in a box and maybe other places.
  4. Eat healthier. Everytime I ate candy or cookies or ice cream I’ve washed it down with nuts (protein)
  5. Keep my desk organized. I’ve organized it several times a month (well, maybe every other month . . . or so
  6. Make How -To -Videos for this blog. I’ve thought about them A LOT.
  7. Re-cycle and cut down on waste.  I put ALL paper & plastic into the re-cycle bin, composted, and turned off the water when I brushed my teeth.

All in all 2011 was a pretty good year for resolutions, wouldn’t you say?

I think I will keep these same 7 resolutions all over again for 2012.

Maybe instead of “love” I should pick “re-cycle”?