Category Archives: treat your brain well

Sweet November Dreaming! Plus Free Download

Happy November my friends! With the change to winter time, it’s dark mornings and early sunsets, I felt the need to kick up the sparkle, focus on what’s moving and shaking and what I want to bring more of in my life and work. Soooooo….I did  my Full Moon Dreamboard a week early.

For those of you looking to start a dreamboarding practice, here is a quick tutorial about how to whip together the board of your dreams (the lo-fidelity version).

I have been using Pinterest for the last year or so to create my monthly dreamboards (so much inspiration, so few paper cuttings to clean up!) and suggest you give it a try too!

Here is my November Dreamboard:

I am feeling a lot of warmth and home-y-ness, sparkle, light and love in this board and can’t WAIT to see how the month evolves around these images. What do you see in this board?

Using this dreamboard image as my screensaver for the month keeps me fully engaged with my vision. If you would like to download a copy for your own screen, it’s my gift to you!

Happy dreaming!

Prescription: Art

wednesday afternoon art class at new moon gallery

I have had this tendency to shuffle art and creative time into the corner. Even as I recognize how much art fills me up, it still sometimes sinks to the end of the list. Maybe it is the gremlins that say how it is more important to do the “work” work things first, or maybe it is the perspective that because art feels so good, it must be self-indulgent.

But this I know: expression through art feels great. I am personally grateful for the research of Brene Brown which says that if we want to make meaning, we need to make art.  Popular opinion and medical research is finally showing up to speak about the benefits of the arts on mental health, too.

Thinking about art and Canadian Mental Health Week, my mind automatically went to my art teacher, Linda Lovisa, and not only the creativity that she cultivates, but also the community, connection and kindness that is fostered in her studio. Regarding creativity, Linda is clear, “Everyone has it, it is just a matter of exploring it…And it doesn’t matter what age you are.”

Linda’s classes are a big part of my feeling of connectedness to my new community and connection is imperative when it comes to promoting positive mental health. It goes beyond promotion to clear impact when Linda sees students who have reclusive tendencies use her studio as a testing ground for social interaction or bi-polar students who reap the benefits of learning to express themselves creatively in the positive, open environment she creates. Art changes her students, and Linda shares that she sees huge confidence boosts and perspective shifts:
[Students are] proud of themselves and their accomplishments…they have this confidence that they didn’t have when they started. They start to see the world differently, and notice things that they didn’t before: shapes of clouds, shapes of flowers, the light cast and how the shadows look, which is always something that they took for granted. They are quite joyful when they see it and it is the first thing that they talk about when they come into the class. How the clouds looked! That sunset last night! They really learn to see things differently.

For the sake of continuing to see the world differently, we need to make space in our lives for art. For connection, meaning and contribution, we need to create.

And for the love of fun and colour and joy and to celebrate Canadian Mental Health Week, take some time to get your art on this weekend.

treat your brain well

It is Canadian Mental Health Week and we at Gunsinger Coaching think that mental health is pretty freaking important. To put it in perspective, 20% of all Canadians will personally experience a mental illness and all Canadians will be indirectly  affected by mental illness through family, friend or colleague relationships.

We are celebrating mental health this week by starting where we are: sharing tools that positively impact mental health, with stories and perspectives, and with conversation.

The conversation is about treating your brain well. We run and do yoga, we join gyms and take vitamins and eat well and accept that treatment will benefit our physical health. Often we do not ask: what can I do to benefit my mental health? That mysterious brain, calling so many of the shots, how can I influence what is going on in there?

Waking up, I asked myself, “what can I do today that will positively impact my mental health?” so far, I came up with:

  • Breakfast of fruit (antioxidants), yogurt and hemp seeds (high in omega-3 which makes for happy brains).
  • Check in with my plant babies (gardening is a big stress buster for me).
  • Get my knit on later today (using both hands works both sides of the brain and is stress relieving too).

How are you treating your brain well today?

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edit: I forgot, and remembered, a great mood stimulator: dance! Taking inspiration from Jamie Ridler and adding “dancing to Adele (on repeat)” to my list today.