People with imaginational overexcitability have creative minds that need regular feeding. If we don’t get enough stimulation we can feel unfulfilled and bored by life. On the other hand, if we get too much stimulation we can have trouble switching off to relax and sleep at night.
And when we let our baselines get low, our active imaginations can create runaway anxiety, generating bleak scenarios in which our kids never make friends or learn to do anything except play videogames.
Here are 5 eclectic suggestions for how you might use imaginational overexcitability to nourish your soul:
1. Creative play
As busy parents we can find it hard to make time for our own creative needs, but doing so not only nourishes our souls but also shows our children that creative play doesn’t have to end in childhood.
If you’ve lost touch with your creative side, think back on what you used to enjoy before you had a family. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Art – Paint a picture, make a collage, draw a sketch, work a sculpture or try art journalling
Write – a story, poem, song, skit, blogpost, journal entry, or letter to a friend
Craft – flower-arranging, embroidery, woodwork
Design – a menu, garden, room, outfit, photo collage or app
Move – choreograph a dance, plan a workout or yoga sequence
2. Visit imaginary worlds
If you’re not in the mood for creating your own, let your imagination roam in someone else’s art by losing yourself in a story, watching a movie or play, or immersing yourself in poetry.
3. Solve problems by asking powerful questions
We can solve problems and work towards goals by asking powerful questions.
In his book, Secrets of Productive People: The 50 Strategies You Need to Get Things Done, Mark Forster writes, ‘At the heart of the questioning attitude is the simple psychological fact that once the mind has been asked a question it tries to answer it.’
Ways to use the questioning technique
Ask ‘Why?’ questions and follow up with ‘How?’ questions
If your child keeps having meltdowns at his gymnastics class, you might ask,
‘Why does Sam have meltdowns at gymnastics?’ then
‘How can I help Sam stay regulated during gymnastics?’
Ask the same question repeatedly over several days, without looking back on your previous answers. ‘Whenever a question is repeated it tends to start of a new train of thought in our minds,’ explains Mark Forster.
Use questions to generate ideas
Ask questions like, ‘What are my five best ideas for encouraging Ella to practise writing?’ or ‘What are my five best ideas for next year’s family holiday?’
‘In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have taken for granted.’
4. Guided visualisation
We all know about the benefits of meditation, but if you have a busy imagination you might find your mind wanders too much to be able to meditate in silence. One solution is to engage your imagination with a guided visualisation.
You might imagine walking down a beautiful path in nature, or by the sea, or exploring a lush garden. Either make up your own, or listen to a recording.
Guided visualisation resources
Website: Relax For a While lets you stream visualisations for free or you can pay to download MP3’s
YouTube: See 7 Best YouTube Guided Meditations or search for ‘guided visualisation’
Apps: like Headspace or Buddhify
Family visualisations: When my kids were younger we loved Christiane Kerr’s delightful enchanted meditations CDs
Books: Creative Visualization, Shakti Gawain (a classic that got me started down this path more than 20 years ago)
Relax Kids: The Wishing Star, Marneta Viegas
5. Improve a relationship with the meta-mirror
If you’re experiencing conflict in a relationship, try using this meta-mirror NLP technique to free up your thinking and help you get unstuck:
(1) Describe the problem from your point of view
(2) Imagine stepping into the other person’s shoes. Describe how they would view the problem (use ‘I …’ statements)
(3) How would an impartial observer watching this problem describe it? What would they see? (again, use ‘I… ‘ statements)
(4) Reflect on how these perspectives could help resolve the conflict
6. Play the ‘What If?’ game
This is a fun game you can play any time, any place with your kids. All you do is take turns asking and answering ‘What if?’ type questions.
‘What would you do if you had the power of invisibility?’
‘Where would you go if you could time travel?’
‘What do you think the world will be like in 2050?’
‘What would the world be like if cats were in charge?’
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How do you use imaginational overexcitability to nourish your soul?
I’d love to hear from you!
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You might also enjoy the other posts in this series:
Next in this series, I’ll be reflecting on how we can use intellectual overexcitability to nourish our souls. Leave your email address in the box at the bottom of the page to be sure of receiving that post direct to your inbox. 🙂 You can also like Laugh, Love, Learn on Facebook.
Photo credit: Jill Wellington