The Creativity Cure

A do-it-yourself prescription for happiness

Insight, Creativity and Happiness

Ten ways to attain self-knowledge without psychotherapy

Made by Chloe Barron's Hand
 

 “To thine own self be true.” (Shakespeare) “The truth will set you free.” (The Bible.)  “Be yourself.” (Your mother.)

You have heard, but have you heeded? 

Insight is about knowing who you are and acting in accordance with your natural inclinations and abilities. Insight improves the situation because when you see and accept who you are, it clears up symptoms. Depression and anxiety abate.  You can make decisions with less procrastination. When you know what suits your unique constitution and how to best work with your own capacities, you can go far. You can be creative.

Some people maintain grandiose delusions and distortions about themselves. They suffer from a lack of insight. If one’s skills or talents are not in sync with one’s inflated self-image, a hard fall may follow. It is best to develop true abilities that secure the future rather than relying upon false beliefs that assuage in the moment.

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True Selves are usually happier than False Selves.

Insight helps you know how to choose a suitable partner, friend, career, pastime or pursuit. If you are on the right track with self-knowledge and life choices, not only will you feel better, you will be a finer companion, friend, family or community member and commuter. You will feel effective.

Psychotherapy helps you achieve insight but if time and money prohibit this, here are ten tips you can practice on your own. 

Just be truthful with yourself about your inner responses, even if they make you squirm.  Honor them, wonder about them and let them be there without judging.  Write about them. Curiosity about psychological discomfort leads to positive change.

Ten Tips for Achieving Insight:

  • Listen to podcasts or radio shows. When you identify with someone else’s experience, especially someone who overcame an obstacle, it can motivate you, set you on a proper path, and move you to a better place.
  • Play or listen to music, old and new. This might take you back to a time when you were vital, free, spirited, full of desire and your True Self. Joy and the desire to jump up and dance means a primal or past part of you is emerging.
  • Clean a closet. The removal of clutter can clear the mind and help you uncover what you need to see in your space and in yourself. When you handle sentimental objects and remove junk, you move closer to what matters within.  
  • Exercise your body. Take a leisurely walk or engage in a vigorous sport.  An active body gives rise to a receptive, observant, free mind. Ideas and insights surface when your body is moving.
  • Read a book. Read poems. Biblio-therapy is a valid treatment. Literature offers healing insights. If a character, idea, image or situation hits home, it feels good. Some people do better with books than a treatment room. It costs less too.
  •  Unplug for a while and wonder. Ponder. Daydream. Be bored and see what bubbles up in your mind. Insight involves being receptive to what rises from within. You might uncover some surprising inclinations. Sometimes you find out that you are not who you thought you were.
  • Note how your on-line (and off-line) life affects your mood and identity. When you login, do you feel titillated? Addicted? Connected? Out of control?  Competitive? Left out? Popular? Unsure? Swamped? Overwhelmed? Informed? Practice the  “connections” that enhance your wellbeing and that of others.
  • Talk to a trusted friend. A pastor. A wise family member. How many times has a friend or mentor helped you see yourself more clearly? How many times has this caused you to change your ways?
  • Understand your affect (feeling) and your desires. What makes you cry? What makes you angry?  What moves you or causes you to feel alive inside?  What gives you energy?  Is there a pattern?
  •  On Creative Insight or the “That’s it! ”Moment: Master a body of knowledge and creative insight will come to you.  As scientist Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” When you have a deep understanding of a field, you can reconfigure the elements in a more effective way and have an impact.

Insight empowers.

Carrie Barron, M.D., is a psychiatrist and co-author of The Creativity Cure: A Do-It Yourself Prescription for Happiness, which she wrote with her husband, Alton Barron.

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