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Can you relate to this quote? I know I can! How many times have you found your mind drifting to the same old thoughts, feelings, & emotions? It’s almost as if you’re a broken record that doesn’t want to be fixed. One of the most powerful ways to overcome your “lazy” mind is through journaling. Now, before you shut this idea down, let’s explore what journaling really is, how to make it more powerfully affective & what it can do for you…

In his book, “Accidental Genius”, Mark Levy describes a form of journaling he calls “freewriting”.  Freewriting is a fast method of thinking on paper. You write continuously for a set amount of time (usually about 10-30 minutes), as fast as you can. You don’t worry about the content you are writing or whether or not it makes sense. You simply write down the thoughts that pop into your mind. If you hit a wall & can’t think of anything to write, you simply repeat what you have already written or write nonsense like “blah, blah, blah”. The key is to WRITE FAST & NOT STOP WRITING until the timer goes off.

WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOU? It allows you to access your subconscious mind…the place where your true “genius” lives. How does it do this? Normally when you journal, you automatically & subconsciously EDIT every word you say. Writing fast helps you to over-ride this internal editor & dig deeper. The content you’re writing may not be “deep”, but it’s allowing your mind to go deeper.

Let me say it an another way: It’s not about WHAT you’re writing, it’s about what’s HAPPENING as you write.

Tomorrow I’m going to go into more detail about “freewriting” & how to make it work for you. I highly recommend Mark Levy’s book, “Accidental Genius” for those of you who are interested in digging deeper into this topic.

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Last year I read the book “Your Brain at Work” by Dr. David Rock. I loved learning about the mind, how it works, & why. One of the biggest take-aways from this book was the need to live a balanced life, in order for the brain to work at it’s optimum capacity. We live in a time of information overload. We are constantly checking emails, facebook messages, texts, tweets, etc. This comes at a cost…especially when it comes to our mind & our ability to focus & feel mentally stable.

Dr. Rock (who is the Executive Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute), along with Dr. Daniel Siegel (Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute & clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine) have collaborated on a project called the “HEALTHY MIND PLATTER”. It’s kind of like a food pyramid for the mind. In their words: “The Healthy Mind Platter has seven essential mental activities necessary for optimum mental health in daily life. These seven daily activities make up the full set of ‘mental nutrients’ that your brain needs to function at it’s best. By engaging every day in each of these servings, you enable your brain to coordinate and balance its activities, which strengthens your brain’s internal connections and your connections with other people.”

The seven essential daily mental activities are:

#1 – Focus Time: When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.

#2 – Play Time: When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, which helps make new connections in the brain.

#3 – Connecting Time: When we connect with other people, ideally in person, or take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us, richly activating the brain’s relational circuitry.

#4 – Physical Time: When we move our bodies, aerobically if possible, which strengthens the brain in many ways.

#5 – Time In: When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, helping to better integrate the brain.

#6 – Down Time: When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, which helps our brain recharge.

#7 – Sleep Time: When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.

*You can read more about the “Healthy Mind Platter” here: www.healthymindplatter.com

Albert Einstein understood the value of asking questions. He was curious about the mysteries of life & didn’t just accept reality for what it “appeared” to be. Because of this, life revealed many mysteries to him.

The same law applies to you in your life. The more you ponder the “right” kind of questions…the more wonderful things you will come to learn about yourself & the world around you.

Today I’m including a few more of my favorite quotes from Einstein. Read through the quotes, choose one or two that you really like, & see if you can ask yourself some questions that will help you ponder it’s meaning for you personally. Write your questions & thoughts in a journal.

For example, the first quote is: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Some QUESTIONS you could ask yourself are: What does this quote mean?  How does it apply to me? What do I consider “reality” in my life? Is my “reality” different from those around me? How could my “illusions of reality” be hurting me or those around me? How could changing my “reality” help me?

Do you see how ASKING QUESTIONS can help you dig deeper? Just one of these questions could make you think about yourself & your life for hours.

So here’s some more quotes from Einstein. The idea is to get into the habit of asking questions. Once you’ve written down your list of questions to go with your favorite quote(s), choose the question that “speaks” to you the most & take some time to write down your thoughts about it. You might be surprised at what you learn!

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

“Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.”

“Life isn’t worth living, unless it is lived for someone else.”

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

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As you read through the Learner Vs. Judger questions, did you feel a difference between the two?

For me, the “Judger” questions drained my energy & brought up negative feelings & memories. They even brought up some feelings of guilt as I saw myself in some of them. They made me feel like a victim to my circumstances & other people.

The “Learner” questions filled me with hope & renewed energy. I wanted to be that type of person. I was more focused on myself & what I could do to change. I didn’t feel dependent on someone else for the solutions to my problems.

What was your experience? I love these quotes below by Marilee Adams. As you read them, consider how they apply to you & what you can learn from them:

“When conflict happens, most of us look at the other person and quickly sum up the situation in one thought: “What a jerk.” Usually we see the problem as the other person’s fault because we are so confident in the rightness of our feelings and perspective. Well I’m here to tell you, the responsibility is all yours. If you want to relate well with others, then take a step up on the emotional maturity ladder and begin to see conflict in a different light. Are you a judger or a learner?”

“If you want to improve your relationship with others, begin by taking a good, hard look at yourself. You can’t change that other person or their behaviors, but you can change your own. Begin by putting yourself in a learning mode. Be open to new ways of relating and resolving conflict. Your new behavior might just be the model for turning a judger in your life into more of a learner.”