Category Archives: Novelty

It Is A Good Bet You Don’t Schedule This But You Should!

Horizons monarch-phil-koch

“You schedule doctor appointments, phone calls and meetings. You note down when you need to take the kids to their events. You schedule your mechanic appointments and oil changes for your car. The important things you probably put on your calendar.

How often do you schedule time to play?  Have you ever? I don’t mean your racquet ball, golf or tennis games. I mean time in which you playfully adventure, explore and discover. Free time to do nothing but let go, have fun and enjoy yourself. Smile more!

Play – Have Fun In Life – Really Enjoy It – You Are Never Too Old

This is time to skip and dance, smile and have fun. Take an hour or two just to feel good and delight. Spend time to  feel some fun feelings, some good time emotions. Laugh, let go, be a little kid. Pretend. This IS important time and perhaps you are lacking in it.

You schedule important things right? Isn’t it important to feel good, have fun and be happy? Isn’t it good to relax, destress and enjoy more of your life? Shouldn’t you create more room to play and enjoy life without having to have any reasons for play? Let go, laugh!

The Supreme Accomplishment Blur Line Between Work And Play

Your not playing to win a match you are playing to play. Be as a little kid again. Be innocent. Use your imagination. Draw, color, make pictures or mud castles. Can you imagine yourself doing this? If not then you really must! Take time to let go and discover new things.

When you can play as a little child does you can learn new things, build new skills. You destress, chill, relax and regain your energy. You actually use your time productively doing ‘nothing’ purposeful. You aren’t trying to win. You are enjoying the present moment.

The Time To Relax And Play Is When You Don’t Have Time For It

There are many benefits for your mind, body, and spirit. When you play and lighten up your mood becomes more positive and lighter. You relax. You feel better and can think clearer. You take a vacation from seriousness and that is a great opportunity. Plus, more!

Be present. Be playful. Be innocent. Be delighted. Be curious. Become fascinated. Get captivated. Fill yourself with awe and delight. Chase a butterfly and enjoy the romp. You can do this. Get out of your head. Give yourself permission and go have some fun. Celebrate everything!” Rex Sikes

Make each moment marvelous!

*** We are planning some new things! Soon  A Teleseminar with Rex  What are your questions, what do you want to know, what would you like help with? Use the comment section to let me know. I’ll let you know when, meanwhile, please let me know what you’d like. ***

Horizons photo used with permission of Phil Koch.

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The Secret To Success Few Realize: Actor’s Improv Training

horizons 1-footprints-phil-koch

“Among other things I am an actor. Since I was three. I love it. As an actor there are many forms of training. Scene work, theater or on camera, commercials, audition, and improv. Believe me, there are many other approaches to this art and craft too. I mention this because there is an important concept I hope you will grasp.

The art of improv means spontaneous, extemporaneous, think on your feet, (comedic as is popularized by clubs  but there is also dramatic improv) acting entertainment. So let’s deal with what most people might know. The improv club. You go, have a few drinks or food and watch people respond to audience requests.

Topics blended together in unique ways, chosen out of a hat, so to speak. Actors then work together to entertain. A rule of improv, an important rule, in order to advance the premise and the scene is to say ‘Yes’ to whatever is offered. Say ‘yes’ and you have forward progress. Say no and the scene stops.

Live Love Laugh Celebrate And Enjoy

A lot of training goes into getting talent to go for the ‘yes’ right out of the gate. It keeps the ball rolling as long as the actors say ‘yes’. This is not uttered verbally, necessarily, while it can be, it is a concept.

A principle for good improv. Whatever is offered you you accept it, say yes to it, and add to it. Steer it. Your partner respond likewise. Together you keep it moving.

I am quote, a wonderful current talent, Tina Fey, who posted, back in 2011 her ‘4 Rules Of Innovation’ from her book ‘Bossypants’. ‘The first rule of improvisation is to AGREE. Saying “no” grinds invention, innovation  (and improv) to a screeching halt.

‘Obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with what everyone says. But saying YES reminds you to respect what your partner has created and to start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.’

Wake Up And Live

‘The second rule of improv is to not only say YES, say YES, AND. In improv, you agree and then add something of your own. If your partner starts with, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say “Yeah…” the skit has stalled. But if you respond with, “What did you expect? We’re in hell!” things keep moving forward.’

I’ll let you go find the other two rules, but I will nutshell it for you by briefly quoting her again. ‘Whatever the problem be part of the solution.’ and ‘there are no mistakes only opportunities. The next big laugh is around the corner.’  I love this and it fits so well with the philosophy and approaches I have been sharing in my blog.

I was reminded of this listening to friend and Casting Director, and expert, Amy Jo Berman implore actors to get improv training so that when things get switched up on them at an audition; when the sides (pages of script) are changed on them moments prior to going before the casting director, they are prepared, they are skilled, well trained talent and able to say ‘yes’. Nothing throws them!

Be Happy Smile More

I want to thank Tina and Amy for such great insight. I want to thank all those from ancient texts to modern day authors who have said the same thing, forever, in so many inspiring ways.

What we need to do is hear the message and then act on it. This is another reason why repetition is so necessary. Too often we miss what is really important!

As an actor in life we need to accept and affirm what is handed to us. Say ‘yes’ and add to it. Don’t let it stop there. We can steer it, just don’t resist it. Direct the energies in productive ways.

See it all the way through to the conclusion. Let go of preconceived notions of how things should be and go with the flow. Create some flow. Allow it to become better. Attitude is everything. Have fun and learn!

The more you practice these life skills the better you get at it, just as actors do practicing and rehearsing their craft. If you do it, repeat it, again and again, correctly, the logical outgrowth is you get better at it. You develop reliable, habitual skills. You evolve new neural pathways that serve you better.

Yes I Can

‘Start with a yes and see where that takes you’. Get in the habit of affirming life, of co-operating with others. moving forward, and adding value to all.

Keep moving it forward in positive ways. SO when life or someone throws you a curve ball you step in to bat. You aren’t thrown by changes.

Step up to the plate when life switches things up. Go for the run. Say ‘yes’ and move forward. Opportunity exists and the next big one is around the corner. Remember that! Set you attitude right and you can be, do and have anything. Live, love, laugh and say ‘yes’ to life! Celebrate! Rex Sikes

Enjoy each day more than the last!

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Horizons photo used with permission of Phil Koch.

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Today’s Mandate!

horizons heart-belongs-phil-koch

“Make today about you and loved ones. Make it a special day. Do something wonderful for you and family or a friend. Live a little. laugh a little, love a lot. Have fun, let go. Just because you can.

Let today be a day of rest and enjoyment. Allow delight and celebration to fill your moments for no reason. Simply relax and do nothing but special things for yourself. Make it a treat day.

Gift yourself. Gift your loved one. Accept from others too. Expect good things. Look for good things. Let them happen. Smile more. Turn of f the TV, let go of media, connect in person face to face.

Talk, share, read a book. Take a bath. Get a massage. Have a special get together or a meal. Go for a walk or a ride. See some thing new. Go somewhere you have wanted to go Be with another or be alone.

Live. Laugh. Love. Let Go and enjoy today for no reason but that you can. Be kind to yourself and to others.” Rex Sikes

Keep spreading the joy around!

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Horizons photo used with permission of Phil Koch.

GETTING CLOSER TO THE NEW SITE LAUNCH  – Inching our way up on getting it up and running. The site will have a new look and feel. If you get this blog emailed to you,  You will be able to subscribe to the blog and my new newsletter.

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A Lie Repeated Often Enough Get’s Substituted As The Truth

horizons green cloud burst

We all have beliefs as you already know. Some of them are useful beliefs that support us and help us do things important to us. Other beliefs we have do just the opposite. They limit us. The interesting thing is that a belief is just a thought. A mental packet of energy.

It literally is just energy. In the body it may be chemicals and electrical impulses. Why do we have such a difficult time with some of our beliefs and behaviors if it is just electrical, chemical, energy? It would seem the answer is in the fact that these mental packs of energy are tied to our feelings.

Your Brain Is As Strong As Its Weakest Think

AND for some silly reason we think (mental energy again) if we feel a certain way, well that is it, it is written in stone. If we don’t feel like it then we just shouldn’t do it. Worse yet, if we don’t feel like it we can’t do it. Have you ever thought about this? We think some 60,000 thoughts a day most of which we thought yesterday.

We are creatures of habit. The same neural firings and pathways get activated. We routinely think and feel pretty much the same, day to day, with some obvious variations. Some things upset the apple cart pleasantly and some not so pleasantly. Something happens and we react.

Even then it is, most assuredly, the same way we usually react. After all we pretty much get mad the same way and usually about the same things. We get excited the same way and about the same things. You name it most of what we do is the same and automatic and it is all due to our electrical chemical squirts and pathways.

If You Really Want To  Do Something You’ll Find A Way

So are we doomed to live this way just because we have? For some the answer may be yes. Sadly, for some they will never opt for anything different. God love them anyways. ‘They know not what they do’. They just never wake up to the possibility that it COULD be otherwise. For them change may not even be a dream.

For others the answer is no, not at all. They can change and become whomever they want to be in life. They can do and have whatever it is they want. They can make profound positive, personal, lasting change that they enjoy now and into the future. For them change is real.

Then there are those who wish. They hope to have a better life but they do not do anything about it. The watch others succeed, have fulfilling relationship and enjoy happiness but they don’t think they can. The hope, they whine, they wish but for them it is only a dream.

If You Don’t Want To Do Something You’ll Find An Excuse

The bottom line is some will and some won’t. That is just the way it is. In the same way we have beliefs that limit us and support us. That is just the way it is. None of our beliefs are necessarily true. We think they are but the reality is they are things we believe.

Have you ever been wrong about anything, ever at all? If you are honest, then of course you have. Have your senses ever deceived you? You mistook someone for a friend? You sure thought it was her but it wasn’t. I bet you can come up with numerous examples.

The point is beliefs really are statements or assertions or declarations about ourself which don’t have to have anything with the truth. We just believe them, we believe that they do. Yes, they could have but they don’t have to have any resemblance to truth for us to have adopted and lived from them.

We Are Creatures Of Habit

That is why we believe things about ourselves that are negative, bad, harmful or limiting. We believe we are screw ups, worthless, unable to do things, bad, wrong and stupid. Why on earth would we EVER chose to believe those things about us. Guess what when we do we feel bad too. Heck, do you want to think and feel bad? I bet you don’t.

Without getting into long explanations as to why we have beliefs in the first place, or how we came to adopt beliefs through circumstances, peers and authority figures, or how they may help ensure survival etc. let us just admit we have them. Let’s also realize all of them are lies.

Lies repeated often enough may get substituted for the truth. If you adopted some of these at an early age and have been repeating them over and over to yourself, in one way or another, you have come to believe statements that can have absolutely nothing to do with the truth of who you are!

Thoughts Are Things

Except for the fact that you have embraced them, believed them and made them your own. You live from them, repeating them now because they are habit. Not that they are true they are just habit. They are reliable and automatic and they serve to keep you the same.

Your RAS looks for confirmation in the outer world thereby continuing the cycle of self deceit. If you believe things that aren’t true about you you are lying to yourself and accepting it as true. If that is the case CHOOSE better lies to believe. Choose lies that serve you to have everything you want in life!

SO while we are at it let’s admit we believe things about ourselves we may be better off not believing. We believe some pretty stupid and useless things sometimes. Henry Ford put it well when he said, ‘If you think you can or you think you can’t; you are right.’ Pretty much sums it up doesn’t it?

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

There are beliefs we think that begin with ‘I can’ or ‘I am able’ then there are those that begin with ‘I can’t’ or ‘I am unable’. Both result in feelings, different feelings, and both determine how we act and behave and what and whether or not we accomplish anything much. Our mindset determines where we go in life.

You can absolutely change what and how you believe. You can develop new habits. I won’t lie to you and say it is easy it takes some effort. NOT very much but it takes some. Most of the effort is in overcoming the inertia of living a particular way so well you are comfortable with it even if it is painful.

People often times won’t do anything because it is uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable it shakes things up. It is uncertain. People ‘don’t feel like it’. Yes, part of the brain’s job IS maintaining homeostasis. It keeps everything the same because it has made all those habitual neural pathways to run.

Our Brains Crave Novelty

It loves and craves novelty at the very same time. It is a learning junky. The human isn’t. We don’t like it all very much. We want it easy and ‘hey, don’t rock the boat!’ So many people won’t change because they believe it will be or is ‘too hard’. They believe ‘it will take too much work’ or that ‘I can’t’ or ‘I don’t know how’ or ‘all of this is BS’.

When confronted with the opportunity to change often times resistance comes up. Those are all the beliefs trying to keep you the same. All the reasons why something is wrong, won’t work, why you can’t, why it isn’t worth it, why why why… excuses…excuses…excuses…

Habits, habits, habits. Habitual thoughts you have been thinking forever keep you from living your goals and dreams and having the life you want. If you want to change examine these limiting statements  You can change you beliefs and you belief habits, by developing new habits.

Habits Are Reliable And Automatic

Would you like to learn more about how to do this? More next time. BUT keep in mind ‘ a lie repeated often enough gets substituted for the truth’. What we think about we become. You can create new positive, powerful beliefs that serve you better and help take you where you want to go. AND THAT IS GREAT NEWS!” Rex Sikes

Celebrate today!


Horizon photo used with permission of Phil Koch.

GETTING CLOSER TO THE NEW SITE LAUNCH  – Inching our way up on getting it up and running. The site will have a new look and feel. If you get this blog emailed to you,  You will be able to subscribe to the blog and my new newsletter. Stick with me. I’d hate for you to miss anything when it switches.

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Are You Stuck? If What You Are Doing Isn’t Working Do This Instead!

horizons bench in snow red

“Do you ever feel caught up or stuck in a routine? Not much changes from day to day. Certainly, at times there is good news or bad news but after while everything returns pretty much right back to how it was. Do you sometimes wish there was more to your job, career or life?

There is a saying we have usd to encourage people for decades. ‘If what you are doing isn’t working do something else. Do anything else!’ The reason this is important is because we tend to be habitual patterned, chronic thinkers and doers.

Do Anything Else

It has been estimated that 95% of our what we do is on automatic. We are routine in nearly everything. From how we get up to how we go to sleep and everything in between we approach it the same this time as we did last time.

How and what we eat to how we get to school, work or home is the same. We have an order to bathing and dressing. We do the same activities, watch the same shows, listen to the same radio channels. We worry about the same issues. Little changes in actuality.

Whether the percentage is accurate or not it points to the need to spice things up. I’ve always said, ‘Add Novelty to what you do’.  If what you are doing isn’t bringing you joy, happiness or success you want, or the results you get then do anything else. Add novelty.

Does this mean switch jobs? It might. That may or may not be practical and realistic. I prefer to think it means change some aspect of what we are doing for the positive. Change your thoughts about it.

Add In New Enjoyable Behaviors

Change your feelings. Change some aspect that allows you to start enjoying it. Add something in or learn to do something differently that works and that you enjoy. I am not suggesting you throw the baby out with the bath water. I am not suggesting overhaul.

Anything you do, obviously it is important that it is safe, healthy and of positive benefit for you and all others. It should be legal and not cause anyone, yourself included, harm. Be smart and be wise about these things. IT should go without saying…

Another principle is ‘If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got’. So if most of what we do are the same things from day to day is it any wonder things remain mostly the same? If you love it then no worries. Keep it, delight in it.

Accentuate it if you like. BUT If you don’t enjoy it then this is a clue you need to do something different to get it working better for you. Do something else. DO anything else. There is another saying to keep in mind.

Results Originate Within You As Thoughts

The definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results’. These saying should remind us that we need variation. We need to learn to think and behave in new ways. We need to add to ourselves so we keep learning and growing or developing.

Many times I have written or quoted the reference number that at least 60% or better of our thoughts today are ones we thought yesterday and the days before that.  That alone indicates we certainly have room for some much needed changes, additions and improvements.

Music is created by sound vibration and silence spaced out. It you played the same note consistently it would not be appealing. In fact, after awhile, you would tune it out. It would become noise or white noise and your brain would eventually ignore it.

In noisy factories, often,  it is too loud for workers to speak or hear at first. After working in this environment for awhile people learn to talk and listen, nearly at conversational level, because the brain reduces or eliminates much of the background din. It no longer notices it because it is the same.

Change Your Thinking And Change Your Life

If we are so patterned and predicable as research suggests we need to begin to do somethings to maximize our potential and enjoy life more. It is sad when people don’t enjoy life as much as they could because they fail to realize and recognize everything there is to enjoy.

Another concept is, ‘Use it or lose it.’ The brain works much the way your biceps do. Exercise grows them. If you do nothing muscles and the brain tends to atrophy. If most of everything is the same most of the time it may be no wonder life is not as exciting and pleasurable as it could be. We need to exercise our BRAINS and Bodies.

There is a theory that the brain even produces calamity and dis-ease in order to have something new to do. It craves novelty and learning. Perhaps, this theory is correct. Perhaps not. As food for thought perhaps we should think and consider what we might do differently.

If what we are doing isn’t getting us what we want to be, do or have in life; If we aren’t experiencing the fullness of life as much as we want; If we are suffering from to much ‘trauma-drama’, things going wrong instead of things going right THEN perhaps we need to consider a change to what we are thinking and doing.

Begin Today Add Novelty

You can begin today. In these many blog pages are tips, suggestions, ideas, principles, practices, approaches and secrets that you can use to make yourself and your life more dynamic and vibrant, positive, powerful and wonderful. Smile more, laugh more that is a good start.

If you are not already using these to create the life you want then it most likely will remain the same until you do. You can practically bet on it staying the same. If you want changes in your life YOU will have to change things up. If you change nothing nothing changes.

Create the life you want and dream about. Stop dreaming about having it and actually have it! Make it happen. Take control of your thoughts and take control of your life. Have fun, have health, wealth and the kind of relationships you desire.

It won’t change without YOU changing it. You need to take charge and take control. You need to make it how you want it to be. Enjoy life, learn new things, do new things, think new thoughts.  Celebrate everything! Use the muscle between your ears to be, do and have anything you want. Make use of it today!” Rex Sikes

It is a new day. How will you enjoy it?

NEWS    NEWS     NEWS     NEWS     NEWS     NEWS     NEWS  

*Horizons photo used with permission of Phil Koch.

NEWS     SOON     NEWS     SOON     NEWS     SOON    NEWS    SOON

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Do This One Tiny Change And You Can Move Mountains!

take the first step in faith MLK

“Some people think in order to make positive, permanent, pervasive, change that they must change everything at once in order to get anything at all. That is just not true. What is true is you must change something but you don’t need an entire make over.

You have heard me say, or you have read in my writings a favorite quote, ‘drop by drop fills the tub’. Or I ask, how do you eat and elephant? Answer,  ‘Bite by bite’. You know the famous quote, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.

Small changes can be powerful. When NASA shoots a rocket to the moon its internal guidance correction system is making micro corrections all the while to keep it on course. That’s because if the rocket blasts off and is 1/10 of 1% off course near the time of lift off within a short while it will be hundreds of thousands, even millions of miles off course.

If you were driving straight in the salt flats and you turned your wheel just a tiny bit and locked it in right there soon you would be miles and miles away from the straight line you were traveling in. That small adjustment takes you way off in another direction.

So it is true if you are aiming at a target destination and you get off course by only the tiniest little bit you will be off course by a lot very soon.

The other truth is if you want to change your life it only takes a little bit of change to make a serious amount of large change. That tiny correction you make will take you very far in improving your life.

You exclaim, ‘I don’t have the time, the energy or the money to make changes right now!’  That is okay. Make one small change you can stick with and you will be amazed with the results you can get.

Whatever it is. Perhaps, it is dedicating yourself to reading a page or more of inspirational material each and every day when you get up. That isn’t much to commit to. 1 single page. Certainly, you could do more if you want but you could do at least a page.

Maybe you decide to listen to inspirational audio while you drive. That’s a great time to listen to motivational inspiring speakers. It is also a great time to shout out with enthusiasm your daily affirmations. It’s an excellent time for either or for both.

Or, you decide to spend 5 minutes focused on your goals first thing in the morning when you get up. You visualize yourself seeing yourself as already having all the changes you want. You imagine living and behaving in that positive reality.

Perhaps, you spend 5 minutes laughing when you arise. 5 minutes non-stop laughing. Or you laugh during your drive. You could commit to smiling more though out the day. Maybe, you commit to doing things each day that put a smile on someone else’s face.

You might decide to spice up your life by trying new things. You  use your opposite hand to eat, shave, comb your hair. You drive different ways to school or work. You walk places you have never been. You sleep with your head at the foot of the bed. Anything!

You keep a journal of all you are grateful for and as you list each thing you real spend a moment feeling the wonderful feelings. You decide to be nicer to the people around you.

You pay attention and really listen to people to understand. You monitor and manage your self-talk for a certain amount of time during the day. You meditate for 5, 20, 30 minutes a day.

You make it a point to stop complaining and blaming and you only speak about those things that uplift and make you and others feel good. You accentuate the positive. You speak only to bless, heal and prosper yourself and others.

You don’t have to do all of these.You could. Certainly they are all manageable.  But don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Pick one and commit to doing for no less than 30 days and perhaps a whole lot more. You will be surprised at what a difference it can make.

A little change, like a little faith, can move mountains.

Maybe, as you go along you discover you want to and can add in other things.  DO whatever pleases you and makes you feel wonderful.

But if you do nothing nothing will change.” Rex Sikes

Fill your day with delight!

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Challenge Is Good. Embrace Challenge!


“Challenge yourself! Do Something new. Learn a new ability or skill. It will keep you sharp and benefit you in many ways. Dedicate yourself to learning and growing all life long. Have fun discovering things you never considered before. Open up new doorways and move through them exploring. Find new adventures!

Take up singing, or music lessons. Playing keyboards and stringed instruments are great for keeping your brain agile and help increase intelligence. This is because you move your fingers which is a proven brain benefit. Dance, do yoga, exercise, walk, enjoy nature, get outdoors it is great for the body and the spirit.

Learn another language. Travel, go new places in your locale or around the world. Visit the theater, museums, festivals. Read and study areas of new interest. Play new games. Golf, volleyball, Monopoly or chess. Take up hobbies that make you think.

Act in your local theater or student films. Take up photography or painting or sculpting. Challenge your own mind set. Challenge your own beliefs, discover and uproot limitations. Go help out at a shelter or volunteer somewhere that can utilize your talents. Helping others is a great way to help yourself. Add novelty to your daily routines.

Plants are either growing or dying. The living plant stretches towards the sun. To feel fulfilled and stay healthy we need to do those things that not only add to our enjoyment but that stretch us and force us to use our mental and physical abilities. Just as a plant needs nutrition we need stimulation. We need to stay active!

Stimulation and challenge are greater predictors of success than IQ. Don’t avoid challenges or tough times. Embrace them! Develop the winner mindset that states ‘I can do anything!’  Recognize that you are a great learner and can extract the lesson and value from life’s harder moments. Make learning and enjoying challenge a habit.

Think and say, ‘I can learn to do anything I put my mind to!’ Then learn to do new things. Continue to develop and excel. A determined attitude and playfulness will get you farther than most anything else. Winners love a hard game. They seek people and situations that force them to do their best. They love to overcome the odds!

Be a winner! Actively seek the next biggest challenge. Don’t avoid challenges find new ones. When you develop a ‘bring it on’ attitude you discover you can more readily handle anything life throws at you. Though the journey may get rough at times you are mentally prepared to get to where you want to go. SO Keep going! ” Rex Sikes

Do something delightfully new and positive today!

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Your Brain Is Like A Muscle. Use It Or Lose It!

brain is like a muscle - carl sagan

“You can tip the odds in your favor and keep your brain healthy. There are simple things you can do. Eat right, avoid chemicals, pesticides and processed foods. Get enough sleep. Get fresh air and sunshine.

Exercise and move your body more than you sit or rest. We were designed to move not to sit in artificial light all day and night. Move more during your day. Take breaks, get up and walk.

Add novelty! Break up your patterns and routines. Try new things. Take different routes to school or work. Do things differently, use your other hand. Play games, work out math problems, put puzzles together.

Cross crawl, do your finger exercises as previously described. Write with paper and pen more. Writing by hand is marvelous for the brain! Keep active!

Improve your concentration. Gaze at a candle or dim light and keep your attention on the light. Whenever you become aware your attention wandered return to concentrating on the light. Do this in increasing time increments.

Start with five or ten  minutes and work your way up to thirty. Pretty soon you will be able to concentrate on what you want to concentrate on with fewer self distractions.

Focus on your breathing. Place your attention either at your nostrils or at your belly. Pay attention to the incoming and outgoing breaths. Relax and keep your attention on your breathing. As with the previous exercise whenever you notice you have wandered or drifted off bring your attention back. These exercises are for training and refining your concentration and awareness.

There is great reward in recognizing when we go astray and gently bringing our attention back to where we first placed it. We  ‘break the wild horse’ and tame it. We learn that we have the ability to determine what we think about rather than living as a victim of our thoughts or feelings. We become the person in charge!

You grow in any ability faster when you encourage and validate rather than criticize what you don’t do right. So whenever you notice your mind wandered or you aren’t doing what you intend to be doing stop, notice it and keep your self talk positive. “Hey, you noticed you were off, good for you!’ and pat yourself on the back. You will make changes much more swiftly when you are positive.

You can look over and reflect on your present life experiences and find all there is to be grateful about. Discover all that you feel truly thankful for. Make a list and enlarge it daily. Celebrate and feel the gratitude fully.

Immerse yourself in the positive wonderful feelings of appreciation. Feel joy! Feel incredible! The feelings are the most important part of this practice so feel them all FULLY!

Reflect on life experiences from the past or present and extract the positive lessons and opportunities. Look these over to find lessons you may have missed. Notice how and where the potential benefit was or is.

Learn from those times instead of feeling less than glorious. Re-code them in light of life lesson’s you can now use. You can re-frame anything!

Memorize something each day. Numbers, names, faces and places. Act, get in a play and memorize your lines. Memorize songs. Keep working your memory. Take dancing lessons. Read more and watch TV less.

Use your imagination to generate images instead of having them provided to you. Utilize all your five senses in imagination. Visualize lots! Consider all the good things you can think of.

Meditate. There are different definitions of mediation. Some approaches use concentration as when you repeat a mantra. Some methods are about aligning with frequencies and vibrations by generating or listening to sounds. Some stimulate the imagination as when you stare at a mandala. Try many different ways and enjoy each.

Some are physical as when you dance with such abandon you stop thinking. Some involve just being the activity you are doing. For example, just wash the dish and do nothing more in mind or body. Sit and gaze at the wall and do no more or no less. There is a wide variety of beneficial meditation approaches you can discover.

Another way is to be the watcher, the witness, the impartial observer. Sit or lie back relaxed and watch your thoughts. Whatever they are just notice. Don’t judge. Look as they come and go. Positive or not. Avoid getting hooked. As leaves float down a stream or river so do our thoughts. Let them float by on the screen of your mind.

Merely watch them flow by. Don’t engage with them. If you get caught up in judging or entertaining any thought when you notice what you are doing simply return to witnessing without criticizing yourself for having gone astray.

Everything is okay. Free yourself from the need to criticize or comment on how you are doing. Let it go and just do the process. Validate instead of negate!

We have the ability to manage our thoughts. We can chose what we want to think about.  This is positive thinking. Keep focused on positive thoughts and affirmations. Keep your self talk and mental images positive.

Whenever you notice yourself thinking less than positive thoughts stop and return to thinking positive. Train your brain to do what you want it to do. Your brain should be your servant! Validate yourself as you succeed in these exercises.

When you notice new things own your observations and awarenesses. Validate yourself for your positive insights and awareness. Learn from these. Keep at it, keep playing with new ways of being and doing.

The mind is like a muscle it grows with exercise. Our muscles grow from repeated regular exercise and so does our brain. AND so does your ability to change easily and do new things.

Many of our abilities fall into the ‘use it or lose it’ categories. So keep at it. Don’t let yourself get rusty. Keep healthy and facile in mind and body by daily devoting time to healthy practices.

The return on your investment of time is well worth it. If you want to enjoy greater health and over all well being then do the things that bring it about. Stay young and energetic!” Rex Sikes

Have a beautiful day!

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How To Keep Your Brain Healthy And Make Changes Easily

Super brain

“The reason some people find it difficult to change is because most people don’t change much. We live routined, patterned lives. Moments differ and things come up but essentially our days are defined by sameness. We stopped growing and learning long ago.

We aren’t handling difficult jungle survival challenges we are going to work or school, doing the same things, our routines, then coming home, dining, relaxing in the same manner and repeating the next day. We are known by our habits and our routines. People can find us and count on us because we do the same stuff over and over.

Researchers estimate that we think an excess of 60,000 thoughts a day and most of those are the same thoughts we thought the day before. AND the day before that and… This suggests that we aren’t stimulating our brains to think new thoughts and do new things. We aren’t giving it unique problems to solve.

We are patterned and routined by design so life is easier. Just as the creases in a folded piece of paper make it easier to refold in the same way our patterns are habits serve us.  These are well worn neural pathways that we repeat because it is the path of least resistance.

Whatever the reason for their development we will engage in reliable healthy behaviors or reliable unhealthy negative behaviors. We do whatever we have learned to do. The brain is designed this way so we don’t have to relearn to do mundane things over again. We don’t need to learn how to open a door each time we encounter one.

Since most of us haven’t been encouraged to learn to have many new habits as we grow up we get comfortable and familiar in our routine and stay there. That can become a rut. We don’t venture out, we limit our options, we make fewer choices, we may even get so comfortable we fear doing things we wouldn’t have at one time.

We might want to change but as a result of living in the comfort zone for so long we aren’t sure how. We have been one way for so long doing something different seems hard. It is and it isn’t that hard. We have to get used to doing something new and that might be tough because we can’t sit back and coast as we have been doing.

It becomes easier to change when we add in novelty and engage in different healthy behaviors than those we are used to. If we make doing new things a reliable useful positive habit we will fear change less and find it gets easier as we go along. It is only difficult because we become rusted. It doesn’t have to be.

As we become used to mixing things up adding in positive new behaviors it gets easier overall.  It won’t be so difficult because you will have made positive changing a reliable habit. You become more flexible. Novelty is anything new and different to us. Add spice to life and become accustomed to adding positive changes and you will change more readily as necessary.

We want to develop new, positive, healthy habits. I have described some things you can do in previous blogs. More great practices for your brain health include taking up piano or keyboards, violin, and guitar playing, sleight of hand or needle point. Any practice that utilizes refined finger movements is a great exercise for the brain.

Finger exercises such as touching each finger tip to the thumb quickly and repeatedly, back and forth is useful. These are important. Writing with pen and paper and not on a computer stimulates the brain. As we learn anything new it helps keep the brain young and resilient. We age faster because we stop learning.

‘Brain Gym’ or ‘cross crawling’, is wonderful too. Contra-lateral movements are ones in which you make contact with the opposite side of the body with the opposite hand. For example, touch left knee with right hand and right knee with left hand. You can read about it on the internet. Yoga is great for this.

The goal is to not be afraid of changing but to welcome change and to a dd novelty into our lives so we become accustomed to doing things differently. Our brains crave novelty while at the same time run on doing the same things we have learned to do reliably.

We have learned many incredibly useful things and live well as a result. We have also learned many useless things, or things that were important for a time in our life which now no longer have a beneficial use. It is time to update and learn new wonderful habits.

We want to be the master of our habits and not have our habits master of us. Our subconscious is reliable and we need to learn how to steer it so we can be, do and get get what we want. Make change enjoyable and fun and you will change faster and easier.” Rex Sikes

More next time.

Today, become more curious. As a child would be.

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