• Jan Okonji

The Iceman


They arrived like clockwork and that night was terrible. One of my worst actually.


I had aching joints and my neck was extremely tight. My whole mind was in a fog. I recognize these symptoms instantly when they attack. It is quite simply put: anxiety.

And it comes especially just before or after a creative effort that has taken it's toll on me mentally. See, I have had this condition from my earliest childhood and as to its source I am yet to understand. In extreme cases my lower back pulses and I cannot get up. That is then followed by pulsating migraines and a tightness in my chest as I develop a fear over…..nothing.


So to reiterate, the anxiety I experience usually follows a great rush of creativity or general euphoria and happiness. In my earlier days I would medicate to manage it but realized the drugs were not solving the issue, only masking it and also leading to a dependency that predictably lead to other not so favorable results. So I stopped taking the anxiety medication. Albeit reluctantly.


Over the years I have leaned heavily on exercise, diet, breathing and meditation in a bid to replace the medication I was taking earlier. All of these alternatives have been amazing in helping me adopt a better, healthier and more focused lifestyle.


I have included a battery of rituals to manage my health (especially mental health) and further, to extend my life on this beautiful Earth. Why else should we get married, have children, make money and invest if we cannot live long enough to enjoy what we labour for? Some of these rituals have included no sugar or milk in my diet, little animal protein, no eating after 5pm, intermittent fasts and the dreaded cold showers! All this woo woo does sound strange but my take has always been this: do what you have to do to get what you must.


But who am I? I am no health freak or Adonis, I am just your average Joe, really. Perhaps better to hear it from this guy: Wim Hof, the Iceman.


Wim Hof (born 20 April 1959), also known as The Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. He has set Guinness world records for swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice, and still holds the record for a barefoot half-marathon on ice and snow. He attributes these feats to his Wim Hof Method (WHM), a combination of frequent cold exposure, breathing techniques and meditation. Hof has been the subject of several medical assessments. - Wikipedia

Wim Hof is nothing short of super human although he refutes this status and claims that what he does, breathing feats and accessing deep meditative states (which have helped him not only survive personal mental trauma but additionally, boosted his health tremendously) can be done by anyone. Anyone.

Back to that night I was talking about earlier in the story. How did I combat it? Did I just soldier through the pain? No. Perhaps it was desperation or curiosity, but that evening I returned to guided meditation and marveled as my muscles relaxed fully, all tension left my body, and I went into deep sleep to awaken the following day with a greater flood of creative ideas. My mind was free and my body had no pain.


Now there are a lot of things to clarify here some of which are:

  • meditation is a powerful coping tool

  • meditation does not solve all of life's problems

  • meditation is not a religion and I am not pushing for alternate religion here

  • meditation takes time, discipline, consistency and practice so my experience was not a magical happening but something that worked after I had been at it for some months, at first with little and then gradually, more success

One's search for creativity will inevitably introduce one's mind to a great deal of stress. I thought it much better today, to mention ways of dealing with that resultant stress before diving into ways of developing your creativity for your business, in other articles.


Yes, the most creative business will definitely stand out from the crowd and will most likely bag the contract and be the favorable brand. Thus, creativity is definitely a staple for your business success. A MUST HAVE.


But your mental health is way more valuable.


As we develop our creative selves, let us learn to take care of our minds too.


Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.

― Diana Robinson

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NUTS and BOLTS

Here are 4 ways to CALM the creative and anxious mind:


1. Pattern Recognition

Practice pattern recognition by studying math, nature or art or if you’re up for the challenge : learn a musical instrument


2. Games

Learn and play chess or alternatively take up a hobby like drawing/ coloring / painting or photography


3. Exercise

Yes, physical activity and body physiology have been shown to improve cognitive learning. So ditch the couch and sedentary living.


4. Relaxation

Do nothing. Rest. Relax.

When your mind is overwhelmed and tense learn to take a break. This allows for more creative ideas to flow in later.


Need to have these lessons in one quick-to-go-to guide accessible in soft copy?

Download my 100% free w-booklet, The Start-Up Survival Kit .


Download the book FOR FREE by clicking on the below image.

SUCCESS!

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