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I had a brainstorm. I’ve changed URL as well!

Technological Brainstorm

You might be wondering what this new website address is all about! I had a brainstorm, and below I’m sharing what I wrote about it over at http://nikolahoward.com/blog/brainstorm/

I had a business mentoring session with Ross MacKenzie last week. It turned into a massive brainstorm of new ideas. And it is no understatement to say that it was a transformative two hours.

What did I learn?

I’d been keeping my “day-job in IT” to one side whilst I worked on mindset and nutrition change. This has been giving me an incongruency, as I’m as passionate about women in STEM as I am about mindset and nutrition change!

Because I was so in the middle of it, I didn’t connect my own dots. My mentor immediately pointed out that as well as people that need help with the technical side of setting up a new online business, there are young women that need inspiration to get into STEM. Women already in STEM that need mindset help, nutrition change and leadership guidance. Dieters that love gadgets and technology that help them with their journeys.

He showed me that there was actually a very natural overlap between all my passions.

What happens now then?

So, I’m shifting the content of http://nikolahoward.com  into being technology focused. The content will also cross over between my other passions. The brainstorm demands nothing less!

I’ve moved the mindset focused content over to this new website: http:/mindsetmaven.co.uk.

I’m happy that I’ve made these shifts, even though it’s work, they feel right. I’m definitely feeling far more congruent and focused. I don’t have to suppress or hide what is a large part of my knowledge and experience anymore, which fills me with joy.

I’m looking forward to the next steps in my journey and working with you!

Pick a craft, any craft…

craft room

Oh my,  last weekend has been hectic, and not in a good way, my partner had a rather awful healthcare experience, mostly in terms of “lack of human touch” quality to the care given by some of the overstretched hospital staff rather that the actual health issue itself. As “Pick your craft/Find your Bliss” is exactly what I had written as last week’s article title, life provided me with the inspiration to write the article, even if the experience wasn’t actually that great in itself..

Hence I’m a week later than I wanted to be in getting a post on this this topic written and out to you all. However, as we sat on the ward, rather bored and awaiting the needed medication bag so escape could happen, both of us wished that we had our knitting with us to keep us occupied, rather than just an iPad to stream media on.

The stress of the tedious not knowing what was going on was rather high, and , any craft that was small enough to be portable would have been a good way to engage the limbic brain “in the now”, rather than allowing the Neocortex to loop around in “what if???” circles. This is because watching a TV show is simply a passive activity, rather than an engaging/active one.

I know that knitting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I do advocate that everyone should have a craft; something creative that can be played in and around with, as often as possible. As well as knitting, I dye yarn and fibre, muck around with watercolour pens and Sharpie(TM) markers (drawing is very much not one of my skills, but I like the “art-sy doodles” I produce), coo and fuss over my orchids (because helping them grow them is definitely an art!) and write, both on my websites and in my journal.

As adults, we generally leave play behind us; it’s seen as childish, a waste of time and something that should no longer be required in the adult world of responsibilities. But this lack of joy through play and creativity is very harmful to us.

Engaging in these craft activities gives me “flow” (“flow” being what psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes as “a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation … A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.”) – moments of mindfulness where all my brain is doing only one thing, leaving me totally wrapped up in “the now” of the creative moment.

I know that finding flow and having my playful craft activities enhances my day-to-day hum drum. Since I’ve been crafting more, I’ve become generally happier, more able to concentrate, both at home and at work and I find it easier to resolve problems and issues because my attitude is more relaxed and playful about “things”.

So, I want to challenge you to find your bliss as well. What type of craft do you to already that you could find time to enjoy more? Or, is there a playful activity that you’d really like to try? Take action to find that bliss, and then leave me a comment below about it, so we can start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!

Image used, Craft Room by chrissy.farnan
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Being creative – the path to fun and mental clarity

Get Creative - A colour wheel

I feel that finding your particular creative “thing” is very important – because creating is all about focusing in the now.

Being creative talks directly to your Limbic brain. This the part of your brain that has no language, no sense of time, and can put no context to anything you experience. It’s where your gut reactions, your “feels” originate.

When you say “That doesn’t feel right, but I don’t know why” about something, that’s your Neocortex (or Rational/Cognative brain) trying to rationalise and contextualise the emotion being passed to it by your limbic brain in that moment – and failing. Because you can’t rationalise gut feelings. They just are.

The Limbic brain responds to images, colours, smells and textures – It’s working with the information your senses provide it in that moment, and only in that moment. Which is why mindful/positive thinking and creativity are so powerful.

The limbic brain responds to creativity by producing a state of happiness, a “this feels right” vibe – As a result, these positive vibes translate into your “this is how life is now” vibes, rippling and manifest themselves through your whole life.

By doing your chosen act of creativity –  painting, cooking, dyeing, knitting, origami, bonsai, decoupage, etc. etc. –  you are being fully committed to the moment. Consequently, this creates “good feels” in your Limbic brain. Which ripple wonderfully out into your life.

Me? I get my creative on by dyeing and by knitting. I love playing with colour, feeling the textures of the fibres, creating wearable art.

Want to get creative at home?
Watch my tutorial on dyeing with food colouring:

So, how do you get creative? Has my video peeked your interest? Do you now want to throw colour at things? Or do you get your art on in a totally different way to me? Leave me a comment below and we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!