Engage, Interact, Create, Feel!

Everyone Has Feelings. Everyone Has Emotions.

Did I just say the same thing twice? Not really. The words emotions and feelings are often used interchangeably. But there is a subtle difference between the concepts of feelings vs. emotions. Feelings are usually triggered by something external to ourselves - like hot, cold, wet, dry - things acting on our senses. Emotions are states of consciousness that can be affected by external stimuli or can be completely internal - like happy, sad, nervous, excited - emotions are things that come from inside our minds and bodies. Feelings are often of short duration, such as the sensation of touching a hot kettle on the stove, this sensation will go away when we withdraw our hand. Emotions can be quite long lasting, sometimes lasting an entire lifetime - like love, hate, fear, and joy. The important point is to realize that our emotions are generated internally, even though they can be triggered by external events and feelings. Emotions have a lot to do with how we perceive the world and can be quite subjective. There is a complex interplay between feelings, emotions and perceptions and it is the subjectivity of these things which can make life seem happy or sad, easy or difficult. It is in that area of subjectivity where, if we pay attention to it, we can change how we feel, how we emote and how we perceive different things and events.

Emotional Eating And Food Addictions Are Disengaging You From Life.

When we are addicted to foods or are using foods to regulate our emotions we are, in essence, avoiding aspects of our lives. It is normal to want to avoid unpleasant emotions and feelings. But when we do that to the detriment of our health or well-being then it behooves us to do something about it. Instead of running away from life, I invite you to run towards it, embrace it, live it! Regain your power over your own eating habits. You deserve a long, healthy and happy life.

Be More Creative!

Every human was born to be creative in some way. It is one of the prime human characteristics that separates us from other animals. It can be argued that our innate sense of creativity is what has made humans so successful as a species.

What does creativity have to do with eating healthy and losing weight? If you are being creative then you are engaging with life instead of avoiding it. You are probably doing something interesting and perhaps exciting. Being creative ultimately feels good, although some parts of the creative process may require us to accept moments that are uncomfortable. Most important is that when you are being creative you are laying down a template in your personality that reinforces positive human traits or strengths that can globalize to other purposes - such as eating better and losing weight. Depending on how you apply your creativity, it can serve as a positive distraction from negative emotions or, even better, increase the quality of your life. And in the end, isn't that what it is really all about? Having a good quality of life - living a healthy, interesting, meaningful and purposeful life. A life where you are no longer living as a victim but are living in an empowered state.

Useful Characteristics.

The study of highly creative people has revealed a number of characteristics that creative people have more than the rest of us. Surprisingly intelligence was not at the top of the list. Some of the most creative people manage to do so with just normal intelligence. I have worked with people who were severely mentally ill or intellectually disabled who were very creative.

In their book, Understanding Creativity (1998), John Dacey, PhD. and Kathleen Lennon, PhD., list ten characteristics of highly creative people.

The number one characteristic of highly creative people is something called Tolerance of Ambiguity. When faced with an ambiguous situation, creative people find the strangeness of the situation interesting and exciting instead of being fearful or terrorfied. Say an alien spacecraft landed in a field. A creative person might find this situation interesting and want to know more about the spacecraft - where it came from, how does it work, who is in the spacecraft. Other people might interpret the situation as dangerous and would react with caution and fear and then run from the situation. Now there is nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution, but if we constantly interpret things from a fear-based perspective then we spend our lives running from what we fear, the result of which is we may miss out on much of what life has to offer.

The second characteristic of creative people is a thing called Stimulus Freedom - which basically means that creative people do not assume that rules exist in ambiguous situations. A stimulus-bound person will follow rules religiously, even inventing or assuming there are rules when there are none. A stimulus-bound person fears making a mistake, or being wrong, more than anything else. Notice that word "fear" again. There is no more effective impediment to creativity than the fear of being wrong.

The third characteristic is Functional Freedom. Functional freedom is the opposite of functional fixity in which things cannot be thought of being used except for their normal purposes. In this light a functionally fixed person would only use a hammer to hit or pull nails while a person with functional freedom could use a hammer for any number of creative purposes. Again, in the functionally fixed person there is an inhibition, or discomfort, to thinking outside the box when it comes to problem solving.

The fourth characteristic is Flexibility. Flexibility has to do with being open to the world, open to change, and open to bringing about such change. It is being able to see all the components of a problem not just a few selected parts. That idea of being open instead of closed is essential to understanding flexibility. It is being able to bend to the situation. It is about doing things in a different way. Some people are uncomfortable with being flexible. That discomfort inhibits personal growth.

The fifth characteristic is Risk Taking. In particular, here we are talking about taking calculated risks. Uncreative people are adverse to taking risks while creative people are much more willing to take sensible risks. Again the idea of inhibition or fear enters the picture. Uncreative people are more fearful, or risk avoidant, than creative people. Creative people, on the other hand, are more willing to take sensible risks and thus gain greater rewards as a result.

The sixth characteristic is called Preference for Disorder. This does not mean that creative people are messy people or slobs. But it does mean that they prefer complexity and asymmetry over the simple and symmetrical. They find interest in the complex while less creative people become anxious around disorder or chaos.Creative people can see things from a different perspective in which they can create order out of disorder. Again the idea of uncomfortable perceptions thwart people from being more creative. That inability to withstand emotional discomfort is the opposite of what is needed to be truely creative.

The seventh characteristic is Delay of Gratification. This is the ability to "endure the stress of prolonged effort so as to reap higher pleasures in the long run." It is why you put off spending money today so you will have money when you retire. It is being able to put off immediate temptations in order to reap a greater gain down the road. It is why you don't eat the chocolate now so you can feel better tomorrow. Once again we see that creative people are better able to withstand the discomfort of not giving in to immediate gratification because they have longer term and more important goals in mind.

The eighth characteristic is Freedom From Sex-Role Stereotyping. Volumes can be written on this topic. But in short, creative males need to have more of a sense of female sensitiveness of feeling to others while creative females need more of a sense of male assertiveness. There has to be some willingness to step outside traditional sex roles. Many people are reluctant to do that - become uncomfortable at the thought. That is too bad because it comes at the expense of not only personal creativity but of experiencing life in a more fulfilling manner. Again there is that idea of being uncomfortable with your own emotions and thoughts. Not being able to step beyond the traditional at the expense of the self. It has to do with ideas of inhibition and lack of self-actualization.

The nineth charateristic is Perseverance. This is the idea of being able to face frustrations and obstacles that might ordinarily felt to be overwhelming. It is the ability to hang in there when the going gets tough. It is the ability to say to yourself that you matter and your goals matter and they trump immediate gratification. It is believing in yourself and your ideals to the point where they override whatever disappointment or negative thought you are having at the moment. It is about having a higher goal, something that has meaning to you, something that feeds you energy and conviction.

The tenth and final characteristic is Courage. Courage is not being afraid to be alone. Courage is being able to face undefeatable odds. It is standing up for your own beliefs. It is standing up for your own welfare. It is standing up for the welfare of others because they are not different from your own. Courage is the opposite of giving in to fear. It is not that you feel fear, but that you overcome your fears. And so at the end of this description of the characteristics of creative people we once again touch on this topic of fear. Fear is the anathema of creativity.

In Conclusion.

If I look at those characteristics of creative people, it sure seems like they mirror what is mentally healthy. It all looks like good stuff. The encouraging thing is that all of those characteristics are learnable and get stronger with practice. I believe that they lead to a more exciting and fulfilling life. One in which you are more in control than being controlled. One in which you have more healthy options. A life that has more meaning, more pleasure, and more freedom. A life of fewer regrets. Start today being a more creative you.