The more you align your thoughts with your intentions the more great painting you’ll do! Here are some simple ideas for getting a better grip on your mind …
Do you feel mentally fatigued a lot? Feeling mentally fatigued isn’t exactly the same thing as feeling physically fatigued. Sometimes we’re mentally fatigued because we’ve been using our brain all day and we’ve so-to-speak used up our neurons – that’s pretty analogous to getting physically tired. But more often we get mentally fatigued as a result of feeling taxed by the work directly in front of us. That is, the work directly in front of us daunts us and its daunting nature tires us. The simple solution is to take a micro-break. Rather than straining some more and getting more mentally tired, leave the work with the intention of returning.
Do you tell yourself things like “I can’t paint today because the plumber is coming”? This is just a thought and as “just a thought” it can be disputed and dismissed. It is completely within your power to hear yourself say “I can’t paint today because the plumber is coming,” laugh out loud, and dismiss that thought with a new thought — for instance, “How ridiculous! The plumber isn’t coming for four hours! Off I go to paint!”
Do you leave your work too easily and too soon? Usually this happens because you’ve had a small, anxious feeling or a thought that doesn’t serve you, a thought like, “Gee, I don’t know what comes next.” Maybe you’ve gotten a little anxious because you come to a spot in your painting where you don’t know what happens next and you don’t want to do the wrong thing. That’s a place where painters typically find a reason to leave the painting. Instead of finding such a reason, you can say to yourself, “I’m going to walk around the house ten times and then come right back here.” That’s the essence of getting a grip on your own mind.
Maybe you think that true thoughts can’t be dismissed?—or even that they shouldn’t be dismissed? Well, often they can and they should. Just because you’ve had a thought that is objectively true doesn’t mean you have to give it a second thought. You might have a thought like, “Wow, it’s hard to get a gallery!”, which is a true enough thought – but if you give that thought a second thought and a third thought you’re likely to stop painting. If a thought like that flits through your mind, you must instantly dismiss it as not serving you, replace it with your “substitute thought” (which might be “Back to painting!” or “I’m perfectly fine!”), and get back to work.
Many other challenges that you’ve decided aren’t really in your power to fix are likely much more in your control than you imagine. Usually what is going on is that you are feeling anxious, which you must deal with using one or another anxiety management technique, and that you aren’t in habit of trying to get a grip on your own mind and so don’t know what to do. You can become a much smarter, calmer thinker and a much better self-advocate if you switch your head right now and make the decision to get a grip on your own mind.
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