When are you at your best? When are you most creative?

I can tell that a good dose of caffeine makes me talkative, actually, happy. My words flow very easily. I find myself driving and wish I could write something down, or I wonder where that iPod recording attachment is…. It’s deceptive though, because caffeine makes me feel a bit too smart, too funny. And normally I’m not too much of either.

Over the last month, I can tell that even without caffeine, there’s a point in the morning when my mind becomes much more clear. I brighten up and ideas begin flowing, but instead of just sitting on them like I do when I’m distracted, the ideas need to come out. This happens at about 9:30 or 10 o’clock. I can’t help but think that the caffeine disguised this feeling and postponed the discovery. Knowing this, other distractions can be, hmmm, controlled? at least diverted (meaning 10 a.m. is puzzle or movie time for the kiddies, the little darlings) and my time used more wisely. Likewise, I can use caffeine before a group activity because it makes me more sociable.

When are you at your best? When are you most creative?

I recently started a helpful book, Training Your Brain in the Teach Yourself series:

For creative and imaginative thinking, force every last bit of breath out of your body, especially by squeezing the muscles of the stomach and buttocks. Hold this state as long as you can and then allow the breath to rush in and appear to fill all the cavities of your body, from your abdomen up to the upper regions of your chest. Raise your shoulders to suck in the last breath. Hold as long as you comfortably can. Repeat three times.

It goes on to combine physical prep with writing exercises, almost comically. I look forward to really putting these to the test. Someone looking through the window would be really curious to see it all.

The book toggles between details in research and practical applications, explaining in understandable terms why the brain acts as it does and how to get the most out of it. My favorite application so far is how I can arm my children for learning. Because emotion is linked to learning, believing in a positive outcome greatly influences a child’s (or adult’s) chances of first success, influencing future success. Imagine a first failure and the difficulty one has in getting ahead on the next try. This means building them up in confidence. Also, when I drop them off at school, I no longer say, “Have fun.” I know they’ll have fun. Fun is what children are all about. I deliberately say, “Listen to your teacher.” or some other nugget of wisdom they’ll appreciate some day.

Train Your Brain also supports wonderful things I already knew, such as eating good chocolate, the darkest you can. If it’s not your favorite, gradually move up in cocoa percentage. I’ve gotten used to it and find that I’m quickly satiated with just a bit of dark chocolate. Eat meat for breakfast. I love getting breakfast from the fried pork tenderloin I made the night before, cold from the fridge. More to come.