Letter from the Publisher
Jan 30, 2012 10:15AM
I had a bit of a mental block this month as I sat down to write my letter from the publisher. Our main theme in this issue of Natural Awakenings is mental health and things that make your brain happy. Yet all that came to mind was a scene from the old TV show, Monty Python, in which an odd chap named Gumby says, “My brain hurts!” while hitting his head with bricks. Not unlike facing a blank page on my monitor some days.
So, what causes a mental block when under pressure? According to The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, most people do quite well juggling the millions of facts and tasks that face them each day—until lack of concentration, tension, anxiety, repetition or a similar circumstance gets in the way. Lack of sleep, too much caffeine or sugar, bad diet or other physical condition can also cause a brain lapse, say other experts. After a moment of forgetfulness or lack of ideas, anxiety over the result causes the actual block. You go from the idea of needing to accomplish a task about which you are hesitant or uncertain to thinking about your circumstance and not knowing where or how to begin. This block is self-perpetuating; the more you think about it, the less likely you are to be able to perform the task!
The Institute goes on to say that relaxation is the best way to get past your mental block. But what if “just relaxing” doesn’t do it? Here are some tips I gathered while looking for an answer:
Joke about your block. Humor relaxes your mind and laughter helps to ease tension and anxiety.
Change the topic. Give your tired thoughts a break by going for a walk or listening to favorite music. Often, the new mental pattern will clear the block and your words will flow.
Face your fear and just start somewhere. Any movement frees up your thoughts and sets a new mental course to fresh ideas.
Bounce ideas off someone else for a fresh perspective. Change your language. Rather than saying, “I just can’t do this,” focus on progress with a phrase like, “I am moving ahead and am no longer blocked.”
Good brain health is important to all areas of your life: including daily thoughts, self-image, healthy body movement, positive attitude, relationships and the aging process. This month, we examine ways to nurture and feed your brain for optimal wellness. We’ve gathered a fabulous group of local and national writers that offer their advice for keeping your mental self in top shape, as well as for nurturing the brains of our children and families.
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that the practioners, businesses and service providers advertising here in Natural Awakenings allow us to keep providing you with great information about health, wellness and sustainable living here in the Tucson area. Please tell them thank-you by supporting their businesses with your shopping and health-related dollars. And thank you for continuing to read Natural Awakenings and for sharing your copies with family, friends and coworkers.
Happy Valentine’s Day!