I’m sorry, but true to form and tonality of Dr. Ronald Alexander’s new book – I’m going to summarize his literary profile informally, and in my view, creatively. This guy is the man. I love that someone in a position of medical authority, depending upon your point-of-view one of the most fundamental authorities, is embracing for once the unhinged, beautiful tenets of what makes up the tortured artist’s mind.
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Or in Dr. Alexander’s case, true to professionalist form, the titular Creative Mind. “Everyone stops to gaze at the sky or smell the roses to some extent. But when Henry David Thoreau took long walks through the woods near Walden Pond, he came up with the book Walden while someone else might emerge from the forest with no fresh ideas, having spent their time ruminating unproductively.
If you want to avoid that and make your downtime work for you, establish a mindfulness practice and learn from the stories in this book about valuable mind-sets and habits that can prepare you to achieve creative breakthroughs,” Dr. Alexander writes. “(A) myth people have heard about creatives is that they are depressed, mentally unstable, or both. Creativity has many benefits, including increased happiness and decreased depression and anxiety. While some studies have connected creativity with a higher rate of bipolar disorder and depression, the vast majority of studies show no connection and, in fact, demonstrate that creative people are less likely to be mentally ill than people who are out of touch with their creativity.
Research has shown that the key brain difference between very creative people and others is having more neural connections among different systems within the brain. Highly creative people are able to activate and use these systems simultaneously, which contributes to their innovative abilities. It’s possible that some people are born with more of these connections, but it’s likely that all of us can develop them regardless of how talented we might think we are.”
It’s through this kind of rhetoric that Alexander taps into something deeper. Something that can be explained through medical inquiry, but at the same time transcends it. There’s a soulfulness to the creative mind Alexander writes, the kind of opposing side of the coin for cold pragmatism, and cause-and-effect, ironically helping one alter negative cause-and-effect.
“To reclaim your creativity from the past, any losses have to be acknowledged. This way, you can avoid repeating mistakes of the past and finding yourself in the same old situations. All change and transformation requires allowing yourself to grieve and feel your sadness so you can move on to experiencing excitement, joy, and enthusiasm as you begin to create anew,” he states. “…Feelings of sadness accompany any loss, even if the loss is part of a larger life transition that is overall positive. If you’ve ended a relationship or sent your youngest son or daughter off to college, if you’ve been let go from your job or had to adapt to changes like working from home, or if you’ve experienced any other significant loss, it’s possible that you’ve resisted fully feeling your emotions and letting them go.”