the creative individual

People are more creative than others and are literally bubbling with ideas, while others rarely or never show signs of creativity. What should we look for when searching for creative people? creativity1

Creativity can quite simply be defined as the capacity to come up with new ideas to serve a purpose. Creativity is thus one of the most important sources of renewal. Creativity contributes to innovation and improvements in working life, commerce and industry.

No wonder employers want creative employees in areas where it is essential to come up with proposals for new products and services, and new ways of doing things.

The creative personality

Professor Øyvind L. Martinsen at BI Norwegian Business School has conducted a study to develop a personality profile for creative people: Which personality traits characterize creative people?

The study was conducted with 481 people with different backgrounds. The segment consists of various groups of more or less creative people.

  • The first group of creative people consists of 69 artists working as actors or musicians in a well-known symphony orchestra or are members of an artist’s organization with admission requirements.
  • The second group of creative people consists of 48 students of marketing.
  • The remaining participants in the study are managers, lecturers and students in programs that are less associated with creativity than marketing.

The creativity researcher mapped the participants’ personality traits and tested their creative abilities and skills through various types of tasks.

creativity-e1352824581399Seven creativity characteristics

In his study Martinsen identifies seven paramount personality traits that characterize creative people:

• 1. Associative orientation: Imaginative, playful, have a wealth of ideas, ability to be committed, sliding transitions between fact and fiction.

• 2. Need for originality: Resists rules and conventions. Have a rebellious attitude due to a need to do things no one else does.

• 3. Motivation: Have a need to perform, goal-oriented, innovative attitude, stamina to tackle difficult issues.

• 4. Ambition: Have a need to be influential, attract attention and recognition.

• 5. Flexibility: Have the ability to see different aspects of issues and come up with optional solutions.

• 6. Low emotional stability: Have a tendency to experience negative emotions, greater fluctuations in moods and emotional state, failing self-confidence.

• 7. Low sociability: Have a tendency not to be very considerate, are obstinate and find faults and flaws in ideas and people.

Among the seven personality traits, associative orientation and flexibility are the factors that to the greatest extent lead to creative thinking.

“Associative orientation is linked to ingenuity. Flexibility is linked to insight,” says the professor. The other five characteristics describe emotional inclinations and motivational factors that influence creativity or spark an interest in creativity.

“The seven personality traits influence creative performance through inter-action,” Martinsen points out.

Øyvind L. Martinsen. The Creative Personality: A Synthesis and Development of the Creative Person Profile. Creativity Research Journal, 2011; 23 (3): 185 DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2011.595656

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relapse stages

I’ve been working with adults in recovery and in active addiction for many years. Going from recovery to relapse is process that could take days, weeks, months. The process is generally not paying attention, getting overwhelmed, ignoring your own thoughts/feelings and the input from others, and decided at some level of consciousness to use again. Below is one of the hand outs I use with relapse prevention groups.

Step 1: Getting Stuck In Recovery

Many of us decide that alcohol or drugs is a problem, stop using, and put together some kind of a recovery plan to help us stay sober. Initially we do fine. At some point, however, we hit a problem that we are unwilling or unable to deal with. We stop dead in our tracks. We are stuck in recovery and don’t know what to do.

Step 2: Denying That We’re Stuckf-263

Instead of recognizing that we’re stuck and asking for help, we use denial to convince ourselves that everything is OK. Denial makes it seem like the problem is gone, but it really isn’t. The problem is still there. It just goes under ground where we can’t see it. At some level we know that the problem is there, but we keep investing time and energy in denying it. This results in a buildup of pain and stress.

Step 3: Using Other Compulsions

To cope with this pain and stress, we begin to use other compulsive behaviors We can start overworking, over-eating, dieting, or over-exercising. We can get involved in addictive relationships. These behaviors make us feel good in the short run by distracting us from our problems. But since they do nothing to solve the problem, the stress and pain comes back. We feel good now, but we hurt latter. This is a hallmark of all addictive behaviors.

Step 4: Experiencing A Trigger Event

Then something happens. It’s usually not a big thing. Its something we could normally handle without getting upset. But this time something snaps inside. One person described it this way: “It feels like a trigger fires off in my gut and I go out of control.”

Step 5: Becoming Dysfunctional On The Inside:

When the trigger goes off, our stress jumps up, and our emotions take control of of our minds. To stay sober we have to keep intellect over emotion. We have to remember who we are (an addicted person), what we can’t do (use alcohol or drugs), and what we must do (stayed focused upon working a recovery program). When emotion gets control of the intellect we abandon everything we know, and start trying to feel good now at all costs.

Relapse almost always grows from the inside out. The trigger event makes our pain so severe that we can’t function normally. We have difficulty thinking clearly. We swing between emotional overreaction and emotional numbness. We can’t remember things. It’s impossible to sleep restfully and we get clumsy and start having accidents.

Step 6: Becoming Dysfunctional On The Outside:

At first this internal dysfunction comes and goes. It’s annoying, but it’s not a real problem so we learn how to ignore it. On some level, we know something is wrong so we keep it a secret. Eventually we get so bad that the problems on the inside create problems on the outside. We start making mistakes at work, creating problems with our friends, families, and coworkers. We start neglecting our recovery programs. And things keep getting worse.

Step 7: Losing Control:

We handle each problem as it comes along but look at the the growing pattern of problems. We never really solve anything, we just put a band-aides on the deep gushing cuts, put first-aide cream on seriously infected wounds, and tell ourselves the problem is solved. Then we look the other way and try to forget about the problems by getting involved in compulsive activities that will somehow magically fix us. 10501634_10152483771078046_6376046067124349017_n

This approach works for awhile, but eventually things start getting out of control. As soon as we solve one problem, two new ones pop up to replace it. Life becomes one problem after another in an apparently endless sequence of crisis. One person put it like this: “I feel like I’m standing chest deep in a swimming pool trying to hold three beach balls underwater at once. I get the first one down, then the second, but as I reach for the third, the first one pops back up again.”

We finally recognize that we’re out of control. We get scared and angry. “I’m sober! I’m not using! I’m working a program! Yet I’m out of control. If this is what sobriety is like – who needs it?”

Step 8: Using Addictive Thinking

Now we go back to using addictive thinking. We begin thinking along these lines: ” Sobriety is bad for me, look at how miserable I am. Sober people don’t understand me. Look at how critical they are. Maybe things would get better if I could talk to some of my old friends. I don’t plan to drink or use drugs, I just want to get away from things for awhile and have a little fun. People who supported my drinking and drugging were my friends. They knew how to have a good time. These new people who want me to stay sober are my enemies. Maybe I was never addicted in the first place. Maybe my problems were caused by something else. I just need to get away from it all for awhile! Then I’ll be able to figure it all out.”

Step 9: Going Back To Addictive People, Places, And Things

Now we start going back to addictive people (our old friends), addictive places (our old hangouts), and addictive things (mind polluting compulsive activities). We convince ourselves that we’re not going to drink or use drugs. We just want to relax.

Step 10: Using Addictive Substances:

Eventually things get so bad that we come to believe that we only have three choices – collapse, suicide, or self-medication. We can collapse physically or emotionally from the stress of all our problems. We can end it all by committing suicide. Or we medicate the pain with alcohol or drugs. If these were your only three choices, which one sounds like the best way out?

Step 11: Losing Control Over Use

Once addicted people start using alcohol or drugs, they tend follow one of two paths. Some have a short term and low consequence relapse. They recognize that they are in serious trouble, see that they are losing control, and manage to reach out for help and get back into recovery. Others start to use alcohol or drugs and feel such extreme shame and guilt that they refuse to seek help. They eventually develop progressive health and life problems and either get back into recovery, commit suicide, or die from medical complications, accidents, or drug-related violence

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Learning healthier ways to manage stress

anger-management

If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.

Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s

Change the situation:

Avoid the stressor.

Alter the stressor.

Change your reaction:

Adapt to the stressor.

Accept the stressor.

1. Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed.

Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them.

Avoid people who stress you out –Limit the amount of time you spend with people that cause you stress. 

Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off.

Avoid hot-button topics –If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.

Pare down your to-do list –If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.”

2. Alter the situation

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future.

Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way.
Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same.

Be more assertive. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them.

Manage your time better. Plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself.

3. Adapt to the stressorfeelings-01

If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective.

Look at the big picture. Will it matter in a month, or a year?

Adjust your standards. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”

Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts.

4. Accept what you can’t change

Some sources of stress are unavoidable, in such cases; the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.

Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth.

Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist.

Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes.

5. Make time for fun & relaxation

You can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for healthy fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors.

Healthy ways to relax and recharge

Go for a walk.

Spend time in nature.

Call a good friend.

Exercise.

Write in your journal.

Take a long bath.

Light scented candles

Play with a pet.

Work in your garden.

Get a massage.

Curl up with a good book.

Listen to music.

Watch a comedy

Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.

Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule..

Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. msclip-038

Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.

Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself.

6. Adopt a healthy lifestyle

You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health. 

Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress.

Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat.

Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.

Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary.

Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.

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Carl Jung – BBC – 1959

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earth’s intelligence

“If we surrendered To earth’s intelligence We could rise up rooted, like trees.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

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Food & Mood

There are 4 brain chemicals that can influence mood.

Four chemicals directly impact mood and are present in higher concentrations after meals than between meals:

  • Serotonin, released after eating carbs (sugars and starches). This “feel-good” chemical enhances calm, improves outlook and lessens depression. The key is to consume complex carbohydrates (whole grains, beans and vegetables) and not simple carbohydrates (cookies, candy, etc.). “Simple carbohydrates give you a quick burst of energy because they increase blood sugar,” says Ms. Jamieson-Petonic. ” But that burst doesn’t last long. Complex carbohydrates provide a longer-lasting effect.”
  • Dopamine and norepinephrine, released after eating protein (meats, poultry, dairy and legumes). These chemicals work together to increase your energy level, enhance your concentration and make you more alert. “Choose lean proteins, which are not only better for your heart but also are easier to digest. They won’t leave you feeling weighed down like fried or high-fat food choices,” she says.
  • Acetylcholine, produced from a B vitamin called choline found in wheat germ and eggs. This chemical is believed to influence learning, memory and mood.
The ideal meal veggies

The best meal to enhance your mood is one that combines complex carbohydrates with lean proteins, such as:

  • Tuna on 100 percent whole wheat bread
  • A turkey meatball with whole grain pasta and red sauce
  • A lean piece of beef with brown rice and vegetables

“Vegetarians can opt for soy or quinoa,” says Ms. Jamieson-Petonic. “These are both complete plant proteins that offer all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) you need.”

Foods that spoil your mood

Meanwhile, avoid foods that may taste good at first but won’t leave you feeling your best:

  • Lunchmeat submarine sandwich on white. “The white roll will reduce serotonin levels and leave you feeling drained, and the tidal wave of salt from the lunchmeats will make you tired and bloated,” says Ms. Jamieson-Petonic.
  • Bag of chips, bottle of regular soda and a cookie. “I’ve seen folks buy this for lunch,” she says. “The chips are high in saturated fat (which tends to increase inflammation inside blood vessels) and low in serotonin. And tons of added sugars in the soda and cookie will trigger a protein cascade that will leave you feeling low, low down.”
  • Fried fish sandwich with french fries. “Fish is normally a “feel-good” food, but not when it’s coated with white flour and deep-fried in a vat of oil,” says Ms. Jamieson-Petonic. “Both the fish and fries are high in fat and sodium, which will zap your mood quicker than a dreary day.”

If you’ll be making changes in your diet, be patient. It may take two to three weeks to see an improvement in your mood.

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What Don’t You Do That You Should Be Doing?

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