I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is Q is for Quiet Your Mind.
Recently a friend came to drop off a meal after my husband had a round of chemo. As soon as she entered our home, she lowered her voice to just above a whisper. She probably figured Dan was resting (which he was). Just before leaving she remarked, “Your house is so quiet.” I got a bit of a chuckle out of that and chalked it up to the fact that our daughter, Summer, wasn’t there. Summer is a force of life that you can’t ignore. She enters our house each night after college and work, like a parade. The truth is, that over the years, many people have remarked at the quiet atmosphere in our home.
There are a few things that add to that:
1. The TV isn’t running. We get plenty of screen time, but throughout the day and most evenings, the television set in our living room (the only TV in our home) is turned off. When our kids were young we limited television use and didn’t have cable. Now that they are older, there is an unspoken rule against watching the TV without a good reason.
2. We don’t have a stereo. This is actually a bummer sometimes. It’s not even an intentional decision, but it does add to the peace and quiet in our home.
3. “We don’t have a dog.” This is what my daughter Emily said when I asked them why our home is quiet. She’s right. When I was younger, we had dogs and there was always barking or running across the floors. The most noise came from my mom yelling at the dogs for one thing or another. My daughters have lots of allergies, dogs and cats included, so the only pets we have are fish and gerbils.
4. Headphone use. When someone is using a computer they wear headphones.
A home’s peaceful atmosphere can help quiet your mind. When you quiet your mind, you will find it is more focused. This is one of the reasons it’s essential to creativity. You can’t strive to work in a creative endeavor if a distraction comes knocking on the door of your mind every five minutes. How do you go about quiet your mind?
I’ve written about multitasking before when I did my Digital Detox series. Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart wrote this very succinct article on the dangers multitasking poses to your brain. As a recovering multitasker, I can tell you there is a definite improvement in creative and cognitive functioning when you eliminate multitasking from your life. It was the second most difficult thing for me to give up on my digital detox.
Take a walk
The researchers at Stanford University looked at how taking a walk affected creative output. They learned that it increased participants’ creative output by 60% versus when they were sitting. Walking is a meditative activity. My husband and I walk in our neighborhood and I often find inspiration is easily plucked from the air during these times.
Controlled Breathing to Quiet Your Mind
Breathing can have a profound effect on your mind. Often when people become anxious, they forget to breathe. When they do something difficult or frightening, the hold their breath without even knowing it. I learned about the power of breathing from a physical therapist who was helping me with chronic pain. After teaching me the theory of breathing being important in controlling your physical well being, he put me on a stationary bike that took my pulse as I rode. We watched as my heart rate increased. Then he told me to do my controlled breathing. As I did, my heart rate began to drop! I was amazed. This exercise will quiet your mind and enable you to think more clearly.
Controlled Breathing Exercise
- Inhale through your nose 5 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 2 seconds.
- Exhale through pursed lips for 5 seconds.
- Repeat until you have done this 10 times
Take a Silent Retreat
I take an annual retreat to Pacem in Terris, a hermitage north of the Twin Cities. During my time away, I am able to relax and let the cares of the world drift away. There’s no email, no squabbling kids, no worries that I can’t hand over to God. In fact, one of the greatest gifts you can get at Pacem in Terris is when you are being dropped off at your cabin. The host asks you if you have any need of prayer. You can tell them what’s on your mind and they pray for those needs specifically while you are there. I find that very freeing. Whatever way you use to quiet your mind, you will find that you can then hear the muse you need to be creative.
While you’re here, sign up for my email list to get a periodic email newsletter to encourage your creativity.
What are YOUR thoughts?
I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!
I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My books The Memory Maker’s Journal and Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, are available at Amazon.com.
I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.