What Is Creative Thinking?

I mentioned in the introductory post about this 30 day blog series that we’d be talking about both positive and creative thinking. So far, we’ve been focusing on positive thinking. Today, we’ll get started with creative thinking by taking a closer look at exactly what it is and how you can benefit from practicing more creative thinking.

Let’s start by going over what it isn’t. Creative thinking doesn’t really have anything to do with creative arts or hobbies. In other words, you don’t have to be a creative person to be a creative thinker. Instead, creative thinking is something that can be learned, and it is certainly something that will help you in all areas of your life. Creative thinking is “out of the box” thinking. It’s a way to look at a problem from a new angle or a new perspective and come up with a new (and hopefully better) solution for it. It’s a great skill to have in your mental tool belt.

Creative thinking often involves looking at all the facts in a new way. The fictional character Sherlock Holmes is a great example of a creative thinker. He sees the same things everyone else sees, but also reads between the lines and fits the puzzle pieces together to come to a surprising solution.

Creative thinking will help you in all areas of your life. It’s simply a good problem solving strategy. Let’s run through a couple of examples. I don’t know about you, but it’s much easier for me to grasp an abstract concept like this by looking at an example.

The Toothpaste Example

Let’s say you’ve been tasked to redesign toothpaste packaging to be more environmentally friendly. The obvious solution would be to use recycled materials in the cardboard box that the tube comes in. Maybe you could even reduce the size of the box and use vegetable ink. Those are all conventional ideas. Creative thinking will make you suggest to get rid of the box altogether, and instead, put a little safety film under the cap so consumers know it hasn’t been tampered with.

Children’s Pants Example

Let’s say your child has outgrown her pants again. Conventional thinking tells you to donate them and go buy new pants. Creative thinking has you getting out your scissors and sewing machine and spending 20 minutes to turn the pants into shorts.

In short, you want to think outside the box and find a solution that’s unconventional. You want to go beyond the obvious. Instead of finding a good or “good enough” solution, you find the perfect one.

The first step towards doing that is to simply realize that it’s OK to get creative. Throw out some ridiculous ideas and play with possible solutions. You never know when you’ll come across something that will not only work, but work better than the obvious answer.  We’ll go into more detail on how to get better at creative thinking and how to encourage it in others throughout this month.

Essential Oil: Common Sense™

Common Sense™ contains Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, Ocotea, Goldenrod, Ruta, Dorado Azul and Lime. Diffuse this blend for 30 minutes up to three times a day, inhale directly, or wear as a fragrance, to increase mental acuity, improve decision-making abilities, and strengthen everyday thinking skills.

How To Turn Negative Thoughts Positive

In yesterday’s blog post, we talked about negative thoughts and how they can slow us down. The key then is to stop thinking this way and focus on the positive instead. That’s what today’s post is all about. I’ll walk you through the process of turning your negative thoughts into positive ones. Of course, I’ll have plenty of actionable tips along the way.

Become Aware Of Negative Thoughts

Your first step will be to simply become more aware of your thoughts, particularly the negative ones. Monitor what you’re thinking. Stop yourself several times per day and audit your thoughts. You won’t be able to fix these negative thoughts until you become fully aware of them.

You’ll get better at this and catching various negative thoughts more often with practice. To speed up the process in the beginning, you can use the rubber band technique. Put a rubber band or hair tie on your wrist. Make sure it’s not too tight. Then snap it anytime you recognize a negative thought. The little sting from the rubber band makes you pay attention. After a couple of days of this, you’ll become aware of your negative thoughts without the rubber band to aid you.

Find Something Positive To Counteract The Negative Thought

When you catch yourself in a negative thought, it’s time to balance the scales with something positive. Acknowledge the negative and then come up with something positive. For example, if you find yourself thinking that you shouldn’t bother starting a garden this year because you have a brown thumb; counteract that with a mental statement about how good of a cook you are.

The idea is to not let the negative thoughts bring you down. You’re also simply acknowledging that the thought is there- not that it is right or valid. We’ll tackle that problem next. For now, simply get into the habit of following up negative thoughts with positive ones. The closer you can relate them to the negative one, the better. So an even better response to the earlier statement would be that you’re good at growing herbs on the window sill or that you have some of the prettiest houseplants around.

Finally, Replace The Negative With Positive Thoughts

Last but not least, it’s time to truly turn the negative into a positive thought. The key here is perspective. If you look hard enough, you can find something positive in every negative thought. Thinking that you’re not a good gardener also means that you have the opportunity to learn more. You get to play in the dirt and experience. You could even think about how fun it would be to get some help and tips from a gardening friend.

Find something positive and start to focus on that. Think of shortcomings as opportunities for improvement. Once you get into the habit of turning your negative thoughts around, you open yourself up to a lot of happiness and almost unlimited possibilities.

Essential Oil: Gratitude™

Gratitude™ is designed to elevate, soothe and bring relief to the body while helping to foster a grateful attitude. It is also nourishing and supportive to the skin. The New Testament tells us that on one occasion, Christ healed 10 lepers (Luke 17:12-19), but only one returned to express his thanks. This blend embodies the spirit of that grateful leper. Diffusing this oil up to 1 hour three times daily, or inhaling directly, may be helpful in times when you feel particularly negative.

How Negative Thoughts Slow You Down

In yesterday’s post, we talked about the benefits of positive thinking. One of them is that you get more done and become more skilled at what you do, when you think you can. Today, we’re going to look at the flip side. When your thoughts turn negative, they have just as much impact as positive ones. However rather than helping you accomplish your goals, they slow you down and can even bring you to a complete standstill instead.

Let’s take a look at exactly how they do this. Going forward, I want you to start to pay more attention to how your thoughts and attitude affect you in both a positive and a negative way. Going forward, we’ll work on having more positive and less negative thoughts.

Negative Thoughts Undermine Your Confidence

When you think you can’t do something or convince yourself in your mind that you’re not going to succeed, you’re also hurting your confidence in yourself. Without that confidence, you don’t have the drive, energy, and desire to make progress. Your thoughts run more along the lines of “why bother, it’s not going to work anyway.”

As a result, you tackle things slowly, if at all. Your progress comes to a standstill all because of your negative thinking. Don’t let that happen. Some positive thinking and self-confidence will get you back on track and moving forward.

Negative Thoughts Make You Doubt And Second Guess Yourself

Along with this lack in self-confidence and your own abilities, negative thoughts also make you doubt yourself. You’re not sure if you’re on the right track or doing things the right way. What do you do when that happens, and you start to second guess yourself?

You stop, or at least slow way down, so you can reevaluate if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You get a second opinion. You try something else to see if it works better. In short, you slow down or even have what you’re working on come to a standstill.

Compare this to times when you’re thinking positively and know exactly what you are going to do. You breeze through those projects and get them done ahead of time. Don’t let negative thoughts rob you of that.

Negative Thoughts Take Something Fun And Turn It Into A Chore

Think back on a time when you had to tackle a big project. Let’s take cleaning out your closet as an example. If you’ve just finished reading a great book on decluttering and refreshing your wardrobe, you’ll be excited to get in there and sort through all the clothes you own. It’s a positive job and something you are tackling with lots of positive energy.

If on the other hand, you go into it with a negative attitude and think it’s something you have to “get through,” then something that had the potential of being a positive and empowering task becomes a dreaded chore.

And, you’ve known since childhood that dreaded chores take a long time to complete. Don’t let that happen. When you find yourself dreading something you have to do, find something positive in it and turn it into a rewarding experience.

Essential Oils: Awaken™

Awaken™ is a blend of five other blends. Expertly formulated to help you become aware of limitless potential when used aromatically, Awaken is the first step toward making positive life changes. Diffuse it up to one hour 3 times daily. Oils contained in this blend of blends include: Coconut, Almond, Furanocoumarin-free bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Sesame, Geranium, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood , Neroli, Tangerine, Lemon, Coriander, Black Pepper, Frankincense, Melissa, Lavender, Jasmine, Roman chamomile, Lemongrass, Hyssop, Helichrysum, Blue Cypress, Davana, Lime, Rose, German Chamomile, Blue Tansy, Ocotea, Grapefruit, Spearmint.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Yesterday, we talked a little about why and how it is important what you think about. We looked at the impact both positive and negative thinking can have on us and those around us. Today, I want to focus a little on the power and importance of positive thinking.

Let’s start with a little secret. You can do and accomplish anything that you think you can. Let that sink in for a minute. Read it again. I call it a little secret, but once you start to recognize the truth in this statement and start to live your life by it, it can have a huge impact.

You have actually seen it in action lots of times. You see it in the preschooler who’s told by his dad that he can ride a bike without training wheels. You see it in athletes who run faster, jump higher, and accomplish more now than ever because they can see themselves doing it before they approach the start line. You see it in your friend or neighbor who sets out to build an internet side business and creates something valuable out of nothing.

When you train yourself to think positively, you increase the opportunities that open up to you. It makes you more confident and causes you to say “Yes” more often when those opportunities knock on your door. In short, positive thinking can make you more successful.

Let me illustrate with a simple example. Two middle school girls audition for a part in the school play. The first – let’s call her Jane – thinks there’s no way she’s getting the part she’s auditioning for. The second one – let’s call her Jill – practices positive thinking and visualizes that she already has the part.

When Jane auditions, she’s timid and shy. She doesn’t put a lot of energy into her performance since she’s convinced she won’t get the part. It shows in her audition, and unsurprisingly, the play director passes on her and assigns her a minor background role instead. Jill, on the other hand, walks in with confidence, and while her performance may not be flawless, the director sees an attitude and talent that he can work with. Jill gets the part. That’s positive thinking in action.

It’s not all mumbo-jumbo and attracting positive energy from the universe. It’s about creating a positive attitude, promoting self-esteem, and believing enough in yourself to push further and try harder. Positive thinking isn’t going to heal your broken leg, fix the leak in your bathroom, or make an extra $500 per month fall into your lap. Instead, it helps you get through recovery and physical therapy with a better attitude. It makes you call the plumber or get out the tools to fix the bathroom leak. And, it encourages you to ask your boss for a raise or promotion and actually get one!

Essential Oil: Clarity™

Clarity™ blends Basil, Rosemary, Peppermint, and other essential oils for an aroma that invites a sense of clarity and alertness. These qualities are important for monitoring our thoughts and focusing them on thinking positively rather than negatively. Diffuse Clarity for up to 30 minutes three times a day.

30 Days of Positive and Creative Thinking

Over the coming 30 days, we’ll be talking a lot about positive and creative thinking. It has a huge impact on every aspect of our lives and something we should all strive towards. Come back daily for more blog posts and information on the topic here at The Joyful Oil Life. Each day I’ll also include appropriate essential oils to support you in that topic area.

Today, I thought we’d get things started off by taking a look at why what you think is important. Our thoughts have a lot of power over our attitude, what we get done, how we perceive the world around us, and even how we impact others. In short, it really is pretty important to pay attention to what we think and how we think.

Over the course of the month, I would like to challenge you to pay attention to your own thoughts. If you find yourself thinking negatively, work through the tips and strategies I’m going to share with you to turn it around. Make an effort to start thinking more positive.

We’ll also be talking quite a bit about creative thinking. It’s just as important because it helps you think outside the box and find solutions that aren’t obvious. Combining the two will have a huge, positive impact on your life at home, at work, and in general.

We like to think of our mind and the thinking we do as something isolated and separate from our body and our environment. After all, what could our thoughts have to do with our overall health or how well we do in school or at work? How could our private thoughts impact our relationships with loved ones? They are just thoughts. As long as we don’t voice them, they shouldn’t have an impact on anything at all, right? Wrong.

What you think has big effects on your body, your environment, and those around you. You actually know this. When you watch a sad movie or recall a sad memory, you start to cry. Your thoughts affect your emotions and your body. When you think about the huge amount of work that’s piling up on your desk or the meeting you have with the new boss in the morning, your heart rate speeds up and you may even feel a little sick to your stomach. You can’t sleep well and, as a result, feel groggy the next day.

When your thoughts are going in a negative direction for awhile, you may find yourself getting depressed and suffering from all the physical symptoms that go along with it. Thankfully, the opposite is also true. You can lift your mood by thinking positive thoughts. Study after study shows that positive thinking helps our bodies heal faster. Think about the famous placebo effect. By thinking you’re getting a pill that will fix you up, your physical symptoms improve. I could go on and on. The point is that our thoughts have a direct impact on our bodies. And it doesn’t stop there…

How you think and what you think also affects those around you. Think back on a time when you had a boss who was always in a good mood and had nothing but positive things to say. Then think about one that was always focusing on the negative and maybe even seemed depressed. This person can “infect” and influence an entire team. Are you starting to see why how and what you think is important and the true impact it has?

Essential Oil: Envision™

Envision™ contains scents that stimulate feelings of creativity and resourcefulness, encouraging renewed faith in the future and the strength necessary to achieve your dreams. The ingredients are Black spruce, Geranium, Orange, Lavender, Sage, and Rose. Diffuse for up to 30 minutes three times a day.