My Brain Waves to Yours
I have nothing to say, but a blog without words is a canvas with no paint.
Blog. Such a science-fictiony word. Tell me if it doesn’t suggest something you
wouldn’t want to fall into, eat, or sleep with. We know what it is, right? Well, I wanted a
real definition, being enamored of dictionaries and encyclopedias. These books made
with paper and leather were my generation’s reference media decades before
computers on a desk or in the palm of a hand. I found that most definitions of blog were
fairly similar. The one I like best, I came upon while searching online. Credit Artem
Minaev, on whose blog site I discovered it. 1 He writes:
A blog (a shortened version of “weblog”) is an online journal or informational website displaying information in reverse chronological order, with the latest posts appearing first, at the top. It is a platform where a writer or a group of writers share their views on an individual subject.
Thank you, Mr. Minaev. It makes me smile to think that the connections we make
via the internet can lead us to friendship, exhaustive (sometimes exhausting) reservoirs
of knowledge, and discoveries we didn’t know we were seeking. Right now, instead of
soaking myself in the comfort of an informative and welcome tidbit, I intended to soak
myself in late afternoon sunshine during a long, productive walk. The day has gone all
pouty, from intense heat to serious rain. The exercise I looked to for my physical and
mental health is snatched from me, given me to think what compensation I can make.
This brings me to two points. Let’s take them in order. The first is that whether
frazzled by heat, rendered stiff by cold, or unwilling to risk washing away in the deluge,
you find your creative energy is nowhere. You knock on the door of your brain. In my
case, that means throwing my hands in the air and letting out a ladylike scream (which
modified tantrum considers the response a full-throated holler might evoke from my
husband and the tourists). My being blocked does not entitle me to act like a blockhead.
The thing is, walking is what unblocks me more than anything except swimming
and dancing. I carry a cell phone during a walk, so it’s easy to jot a reminder to self if an
idea occurs, but that’s dicey while dancing and screwy while swimming. Note the
obvious: walking, dancing, and swimming are activities that require the burning of
physical energy, which produces endorphins. It’s fairly common knowledge that
endorphins are feel-good hormones. These are released during a number of activities,
especially exercise that induces perspiration and deeper breathing. Beyond positive
feelings, exercise provides an increased supply of oxygen to the brain. This contributes
to more restful sleep and clearer thinking.
When you are awake and engaged in vigorous exercise, a small biomolecule
called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is expressed in the brain. In my
experience, this “flood” helps to elevate mood and my cognitive ability. I think my
waking (conscious) brain communicates with my sleeping (unconscious) brain. Elaine
K. Howley, in an article written for www.usms.org/, writes:
Short for brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF is a protein generated in your brain that can help repair cells and support the growth of new ones. Long gone is the idea that we’re born with all the brain cells we’ll ever possess. It turns out that humans can generate new ones as adults. But it seems we have to work at it. The science is still evolving, but it appears that BDNF supports the maintenance of cells in your brain and can be generated during vigorous physical activity. John Ratey, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” has described BDNF as being like “Miracle-Gro for your brain.” 2
There is a goodly amount of information about this, if you are stoked and want to
further study it, which is what scientists the world over are still doing. It’s reasonable to
deduce that what’s good for both your brain and body powers must be a boon for your
creative powers as well.
I’m hungry, so let’s wrap this up, shall we? Recall, I mentioned two points. . If,
despite all your best efforts and practices, your creativity remains in a stupor, DO
SOMETHING ELSE. Wash the dog, your car, the floor, your hair. Write a letter to mum
or your patient best friend. Paint a wall a daring color. Blow bubbles from a perch in a
tree. Stand in front of a mirror and let fly with criticisms of everything you dislike (this
might give rise to hysterical laughter, which also steps up the endorphins). Dead-head
the flowers in your neighbor’s garden. 3 Sit in a tub of ice cubes. Make a list of all the
things you could do during your stuck time. It might be so long that by the time you
finish it, your malaise will have shrunk to a memory.
If all else fails, write about malaise. Please, let me know what happens.
1 https://firstsiteguide.com/what-is-blog, updated June 17, 2022
3 You might want to ask first, in case your neighbor is a curmudgeon.