This entry is part of my Rewiring for Creativity series. The series began last year with a general overview of how creativity can be used to promote neuroplasticity. I discussed the creative and neuroplastic benefits of doodling, as well as offered some examples on how music and dance supported my creative pursuits and rewiring journey. Most recently, I discussed how Photography helped me build new association and overcome certain phobias.
Every other Wednesday, I give more insight on tools I used to heal from chronic health issues, anxiety, and tap back into my creative self. I'm most excited about this next topic because it has been a multi-dimensional way to express my creativity and enhance neuroplasticity!
Welcome to the first of several posts to come on the topic of decorating!
If you've been following me on the @braingardening instagram page, you may have already heard how I used decorating projects as incremental training opportunities to shift from bedbound to being more physically active. 🏃♀️
Not only was it a fun way to engage my mind and my body, but it also served as a way to transform associations with my environment. Parts of my perfect storms took place in my own home and I built certain associations with different spaces in my home. At one point, I was living primarily out of one room of the house. My art studio was off-limits to me for several reasons, yet it was a space I yearned to use again at the capacity I had once known myself to do, but that felt like a distant memory at the time.
To get back into that space, one of the ways I implemented was to change the look of it. I needed to build new associations and visually was one of the easier ways to do so. As I trained elsewhere with other things, I found myself gaining strength physically and able to withstand more activity. I thought about ways I could modify the space to be closer to my training zone. I started to move things around and take out things that no longer had purpose or matched my intentions/goals. I started to make the space work for me at the point where I was, rather than reserving this space as one I could only access once I was recovered.
With things physically more in order and the looks of things improving in the space, I started to feel more at peace with the space. 🙂 It felt more welcoming, but I still had old thought patterns appearing. It was an opportunity to get a bit more creative. I needed to go deeper to change the emotional associations with the space. I needed to cultivate opportunities for more joy and playfulness. I started to do laughter yoga regularly in the room to shift my subconscious associations of it being a place associated with stress. That helped significantly, but in between sessions was still a challenge—until I got a little MORE creative. 😄
Maybe you've heard this quote or some variation of it already, but I decided to take this one a bit more literally. I transformed my work environment and art studio with rainbows and it was not as complicated as it might sound—in fact it was super simple!
I know the corgi is very cute in this photo, but you may also notice some dancing rainbows around her. 🌈
These rainbows were such a HUGE reframe of the space for me and something that would capture my attention, inspire, and shift past associations with the space. I loved seeing how the room would transform throughout the day as the sun shifted. It allowed for a very beautiful, playful, and neuroplastic environment!
I enjoyed seeing how the colors showed up in my space and interacted with things in my home. It totally transformed my view of them, both literally and emotionally.
Inspired by the effect of these rainbows on my journey to spend time more fully and joyfully in a space that was previously off-limits to me, I designed a limited edition suncatcher decal using state of the art materials that allow for MUCH MORE rainbows and colors! I'm really excited to share this decal design with the brain retraining community.
They are in production and currently available for pre-order for $10 (free shipping anywhere in the world). For more information and to purchase a decal, please visit this page.
Here's a sample of how many more rainbows they can create! (results may vary according to placement of decal and sunlight filtering through it).
If you're interested in trying one out yourself to help create new associations or just add more color or joy into your world, you can order a decal here.
Remember, we can create AND be the rainbow after the storm.
Until next time, friends!
Next blog topic: I will discuss my pursuits in gardening and how I found great parallel and inspiration in that process during the process of rewiring my brain!
Alina is a multidisciplinary artist who used brain retraining coupled with creative pursuits to recover from a lifetime of chronic illness. Her healing journey has inspired her to create Brain Gardening™, an online resource featuring resilience tools that are rooted in science and cultivated through the arts.
Brain Gardening™ takes neuroplasticity research and presents it through a designer lens using simple language and interactive materials, while reflecting the deep insight of Alina's personal experience navigating the journey herself. Through this platform for healing, Alina will be creating and curating evidence-based resources for cultivating wellness through neuroplasticity that can be incorporated into an existing self-care practice or serve as an introduction to neural retraining techniques.
Subscribe to the mailing list at Brain Gardening™ to stay informed as new offerings emerge.
If you're on Instagram, follow @braingardening where you can find Alina's "Mindful Moments in Nature" every Monday and "Ask Alina" on Tuesdays where you can submit your own brain retraining questions for answers on her Wednesday IGTV series.