Work Smarter by Harnessing Your Mind

Research shows that humans typically use about 10% of their brains. That leaves an enormous 90% unaccounted for. As hard as you work for your clients as a copywriter, as successful as you’ve been so far, imagine the heights of achievement you could reach with more access to that underutilized part of your brain.

Three Approaches to Getting More — From Yourself!

  1. Access and Impact Your Subconscious Mind.

    Our subconscious contains everything we’ve ever learned, heard, or seen … and beliefs we hold about ourselves that we don’t even know we have — but that impact our lives for better or worse.

    The subconscious mind is programmed early in childhood, and beliefs within it drive our lives. Changing a belief in our conscious mind, by using affirmations, for example, doesn’t affect beliefs in the subconscious. To change the subconscious, we must bypass the conscious mind. Hypnosis allows us to do this.

    Simple self-hypnosis techniques are effective in creating new beliefs, shifting stuck patterns, and moving past negative self-talk or doubts that may be getting in the way of your writing success.

    Hypnosis is simply an altered state of consciousness, one which we move in and out of naturally through the day. Watching TV, driving, meditating, making art — all are activities that can induce alpha brainwaves, or the trance state. Self-hypnosis is a conscious shift into this state.

    Try it! Sit comfortably and observe your breath for a moment. Let each breath release stress or tension. Be curious. Without moving your head or neck, look up as if you were watching a bug on the ceiling. Keep looking up. Soon you will start to blink more rapidly, and your eyes will want to close. Let them. Feel yourself sinking into a more relaxed state. Breathe and sink deeper, deeper, and deeper into your self. This is self-hypnosis!

    Once you have mastered the fundamental induction into the hypnotic state (see links below for more techniques of how to do this), you can easily create a “circle of excellence” to step into when you need to shift resistance or fear.

    Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) uses the “circle of excellence” as a core exercise for transformation. So, for example, if making sales calls or sending self-promotional emails sends you into a cold sweat, using the “circle of excellence” you design allows you to access confidence, empowerment, courage (or whatever positive feelings you have placed within the “circle”).

    Find a full description of the “circle of excellence” technique on this site:

    No longer the stuff of superstition or stage tricks, hypnosis is recognized and used by athletes, creatives, and high-level businessmen and women to move past fears, physical pain, addictions, and blocks. Einstein, Edison, Mozart, and Winston Churchill all used hypnosis on their innovative paths to success.

    Learn more about creative self-hypnosis here:

    For self-hypnosis and meditations created specifically for writers, check out Accessing the Writer Within: Your 21-Day Journey to Unlocking and Unleashing Your True Writing Potential. Annette Annechild, Ph.D., created this program specifically to be empowering, useful, and extremely affordable for all AWAI members.

  2. Go Old School.

    Our smartphones and technology make life wonderful, but they have also made us lazy.

    When was the last time you read an actual map? Did long division? Committed a phone number to memory?

    Science has shown that our brains are elastic — that is, they can change! By “exercising” our brains, we increase cognitive capacity and even create new brain cells. We naturally lose brain function as we age (20s and beyond!), but the manufacture of new cells literally refurbishes parts of the brain that are in natural decay. This keeps our minds firing fast with creative ideas and connections, and enhances memory (imagine remembering everyone’s name at Bootcamp!).

    Each day, find small ways to work your mental muscle:

    • do some math by hand, without a calculator
    • ditch the GPS and read a paper map to find a location
    • commit one phone number to memory
    • memorize a poem, or a favorite piece of writing, or a song
    • memorize your passport number, or credit card
    • try new things: doing something novel creates new neural pathways
  3. Breathe, Eat, Exercise, Relax, Sleep. Repeat.

    We’ve been hearing for decades that we should eat right, get plenty of rest, and exercise 30 minutes a day. Did you realize that these habits not only impact heart health and longevity, but brainpower as well?

    Take a breath. Brain research shows that just closing your eyes and paying attention to the breath — whether you call it meditation or not — has a measurable effect on mental clarity. Breathing deeply through the nose increases oxygen in the blood, which leads to enhanced ability to function.

    When brain fog sets in, get up from your computer and move to a new, comfortable seat. Take a few conscious breaths, letting frustration and tiredness flow out with your exhalation. Imagine your brain being bathed with oxygen. Feel clarity returning and then get back to your project.

    Food makes a difference. Though there are many supplements that help memory and clarity, such as Ginkgo Biloba, simply eating clean can significantly reduce brain fog and give us the energy to be curious and try new things — increasing our neural pathways.

    Sugar, chips, and carbs like pasta and white bread cause insulin rush and the resultant fuzziness and inability to focus.

    When you are on a deadline and have to put in several hours at your desk, opt for a green smoothie instead of coffee and a donut for breakfast. And — remember to drink water! Dehydration creates fatigue and an inability to concentrate.

    Exercise creates brain cells! Even 10 minutes of aerobic activity improves cognitive function. Endurance exercise, like running, cycling, or swimming triggers the secretion of proteins that in turn stimulate growth of synapses and new nerve cells, and ultimately preserves our existing cells.

    Can’t find the words for an important sales letter? Rather than stewing or distracting yourself with Facebook, get up and walk quickly around the block. It’s snowing? Try a few runs up and down the stairs — or how about shoveling the sidewalk?

    Relax. Reading, listening to or making music, and meditation decreases the stress which creates brain fog and memory issues. And, these activities provide an opportunity for us to use our imaginations, feel our emotions, and allow our brains to “stretch.”

    Creative pursuits access the right brain, used less often in our day-to-day tasks. The right brain is where we find inspiration and access our intuition — tapping into ideas for our careers and our clients.

    Get some zzzz’s. While our culture overvalues productivity and a macho approach to sleep (as in getting/needing as little as possible), new research shows that deep sleep is like a car wash for our brains, flushing out toxins and gunk that otherwise affects our normal brain function.

    If you need help getting sleepy, reach for natural substances and relaxation techniques (such as self-hypnosis!) before downing sleeping pills or Tylenol PM.

    Eating before 7 p.m., avoiding alcohol and caffeine at night, and banning electronics from the bedroom help the body sleep better.

As freelance writers, we need as much of our brains online as we can have! Fortunately, the act of writing also creates more “fluid intelligence,” so by virtue of pursuing our passion, we can also expand our mental power.

With a clear and curious mind, we not only create more compelling copy for our clients, but also have the capacity to enjoy our flexible lifestyles to the full.

Do you have favorite brain building or mind-clearing techniques? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Looking for more insight into productivity, goal setting, and motivation? Check out our archives for a variety of ideas. And, Platinum members also have exclusive access to a vast library of in-depth webinars, articles, and workshops that will catapult a writing career forward even faster. Not a member yet? Sign up here.

This article, Work Smarter by Harnessing Your Mind, was originally published by B2B Writing Success.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: December 11, 2014

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