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How Creative Thinking Helped me Improve on my Well Being

How the Creative Experience can build a fluid, flexible mind

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In a complicated modern world, keeping our minds dynamic puts us up with the rapid pace of change. A flexible mind- being non-judgmental, open and receptive, makes us highly resilient. If there is an effective way that this can be harnessed, it is through creative thinking. What is the relationship between creative thinking and resilience that makes a fluid mind?

Creative Thinking

First, we may have to define what creative thinking is about. These are skills that any person can sharpen, whether they are from the arts discipline or not.  When we speak about creativity, does it mean that we should be able to draw, paint or sculpt to practice it? This is where the difference lies between creativity and artistry, to which the ability to make beautiful things is a product of the latter. When one is creative, it is not synonymous with being artistic. Creativity is a skill of generating ideas to solve problems in different ways and not with one answer alone. It is a practice of expanding your thoughts without being judged or limited, to which an authentic creative experience plays a part.

Convergent vs Divergent 

Think of an activity where you can make as many ideas as possible without being judged. Right now, the art world is viewed to be “licensed” to do that because artists are given the permission to be unique to the extreme of being peculiar with their ideas. In the world of art, a person is allowed to be fluent with their thoughts, to elaborate concepts, to explain things from their own point of view and even experiment on new ideas. This is why the mind becomes more fluid in a creative experience. There is no judgment on what ideas can be generated.

Sadly, anything outside of this creative world should otherwise have a correct and incorrect answer. Everything else should be convergent, which means that every problem has a corresponding answer- like Math and the Sciences. That may put the world in order, thus, making Convergent thinking valuable. But in the paradigm of relationship building, negotiating and new ways of thinking, a convergent mind may limit us in terms of our career choices and expectations towards others.

What creativity harnesses is the other side- divergent thinking. In a presented problem, there can be so many answers. Guilford talks about four creative thinking skills that promote divergence: Fluency, Flexibility, Originality and Elaboration.

Fluency is about generating as many answers to one question. Guilford’s Circles Test help one think of as many ways to visualize a circle. Elaboration is expanding a reference concept through adding details. The Mind Mapping Method is one effective way of increasing fluency and elaboration skills. What comes out may be original as it comes from an array of choices. Flexibility allows one to shift thought patterns and quickly adapt to new models. Flexible thinking can be harnessed through play and experimentation.

Flexibility and Resilience

Flexible thinking has a strong link with resilience. When one is able to quickly shift thoughts and emotions, it becomes easier to bounce back from sudden change. We easily bounce back from defeats and take account of our actions. We do not feel victims of outside situations. This has something to do with this world right now where change is always inevitable. If we aren’t flexible enough, how will we quickly adapt to setbacks, loss, new technology, unpredictable people and economic shifts?

Drawing from Spencer Johnson’s classic book, Who Moved My Cheese, he emphasizes the need to constantly find ways to adapt to change. As we increase our flexibility and resilience, we gain a wider acceptance of ourselves- to be more forgiving, accommodating and receptive to diversity. We get to be non-judgmental, understanding and flexible about our views of others. When we see that in ourselves, we see it in others as well. In our relationships at work and personal lives, we do not always control other’s responses to the point of driving them away.

Creative Thinking and Well Being

In Creative thinking, I began to view myself divergently. I realized that I am not defined by my work or my material possessions. I can be different persons in one.  This gives me the freedom to pursue my well-being and constantly assess my spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, social and occupational dimensions which are according to Dr. Hettler’s 6 Dimensions of Wellness. I periodically check myself on how I am faring with my wellness areas and how I can improve them. And what better way to assess oneself than through interpreting it in a creative experience? Art is divergent, offers multiple layers of expression and can be explained in different ways. By using art as a way of discovering how it can nurture the well-being, it becomes a rich source of self-discovery.

I focus on building a stronger self-concept that is solid enough to sustain and enrich my relationships. Being an effective partner, son, daughter, friend or colleague comes from strength within. This strength can emerge from as simple as letting creativity come into one’s life.

Amos V. Manlangit offers Well-Being Management Through the Arts, a series of seminar-workshops designed to help in visioning, personal leadership, expression, mindfulness, resilience and grit.  For more information, contact sir Amos at 0917-534 1780, or email amosmanlangit@gmail.com . Check his website www.amosmanlangit.weebly.com

Diversity from the Lens of the Social Model of Disability

  
In theory, order can bring harmony. It is typical for society to dream of everyone following the same rules, with everyone’s needs being equally addressed.
But that dream can come with some challenges. Some may not necessarily “fit” society’s expectations. There are people who turn out having a mental or physical disability. Some may happen to get attracted to the same sex. Others, because of being born in this milennium, think in a totally different way. Oops. Not everyone totally has the same needs. Some rules designed for the typical, such as using the stairs, a formal schooling system or even marriage, may not apply to everyone.  

This is the kind of world that faces us now. But in an attempt to place uniformity and order in how people should live, some groups of people are not getting the same opportunity like others do. They start to belong to what we call “socially excluded groups”. In 2017, Voice and Hivos published a situationer about the challenges of women, LGBT, people with disabilities, indigenous people, age-discriminated groups and older persons in the Philippines- with the gaps still going a long way before realizing these sectors’ aspirations. Even at this modern age, there are still a lot of barriers that limit their access. 

If we are going to use the social model of disability, which was developed to gain an overview of the issue of disability, a person is deemed “disabled” not because of the impairment, but by how society has put up barriers that exclude them. These are the attitudinal, environmental and institutional perspectives. First, our collective attitude is what influences our degree of acceptance to a person who we feel is different. Second, making the environment conducive for their integration and growth matters. Third, placing mechanisms such as laws and policies to protect their rights makes the efforts sustainable. The social model believes that difference is not an illness, in contrast to the medical model, that must be corrected. Homosexuality is not viewed as a sickness or a woman as a variation of the man. Old age is not a grim reality to resist or an indigenous person is not considered a second class citizen. 

If we are determined to make difference a part of today’s reality, this entails the acceptance of diversity. In a diverse world, not everyone’s needs are necessarily viewed as equal, but rather, equitable depending on their particular needs. Equity seeks to address issues in an individualized approach. Women have different biological needs from men and would need provisions for their maternal health, but men may also have needs that are not present in women which should be likewise addressed. People with physical disabilities should have access to ramps or lifts and the typically abled persons should be made to understand it. 

In order to achieve this kind of inclusionary practice, there should be a higher sensitivity to the needs of socially excluded groups. This means increasing our awareness and knowledge of what has limited them from realizing their aspirations. We can use the social model of disability as a way of acquiring the lens to analyze the attitudinal, environmenal and institutional barriers surrounding them- and see how we can strip them down. We should also ensure their participation into all aspects of society and not be treated as separate issues or concerns. We can look into the areas of education, health, labor, mobility/transportation, justice and suffrage- the different components of inclusion- to increase their integration.

Ultimately, what every human wants is to be socially included even if he or she is different. Opening our minds and hearts to divergence will eventually redefine order. It will now mean respecting differences and achieving harmonious relationships while embracing this reality. That will be the moment when love (for humankind) will truly win. 

Amos V. Manlangit is an educator, artist and resource speaker advocating for inclusivity in education and the workplace. He holds seminar-workshops on topics about divergence, creative thinking, well-being and inclusion. His online site is http://www.amosmanlangit.wordpress.com

Visioning on Personalized Mandala Making

Mandala Plate Painting June 24

On June 24 (Sunday), Sir Amos Manlangit’s “Landscape Painting and Mandala Plate Painting Classes” in Maginhawa Street will be conducted this time at the well known sweets establishment Cupcakes by Gremlins.

Sir Amos’ Landscape Painting classes have been popular for kids and most adults, while the featured Mandala Plate Painting Classes have been generally participated in by adults. Either way, each painting class held has been relaxing yet engaging to the participants as it enhances focus, concentration and motivation.

The Mandala Plate Painting class designed for adults is a visioning exercise that serves as an opportunity for participants to assess their present selves and increase self-awareness using a creative approach. This activity offers multiple layers of expression, thus, making it a rich avenue for communicating a vision.

In history, Mandala Making has been a creative activity based on symbolism and is revered as a universal form of semiotic that encompasses writing and visual imagery. The creative process also induces relaxation due to the meditative qualities inherent in the experience.

Coupled with delectable concoctions for the sweet tooth baked at Cupcakes by Gremlins (100 Maginhawa Street), the art classes are set to bring out one’s creative juices that will nourish both mind and soul.

Sir Amos advocates for emotional and mental well-being in which he has integrated his Fine Arts Education at U.P. through creative approaches in education and training. Enhancing his advocacy is his Masters Degree in Special Education also earned in U.P., which makes his classes all the more inclusive for all. He has conducted Mandala Making seminars/workshops on various corporate offices, government, the education sector, socio-civic organizations and more.

For slot reservations, please contact us 0917 534 1780 or E-mail us at amosmanlangit@gmail.com.

Like us at FB: Thoughts by Sir Amos

Landscape Painting starts at 10 am, and Mandala Plate Painting at 1 pm. There is a “Mid year 10% discount” for first 5 confirmed participants. Fees for the classes conveniently include the art materials needed, and snacks from the establishment as well. . Walk-in participants are also welcome. Let’s paint!

 

Guarding Yourself from Depression: Nurturing Your Multi-Dimensional Self

  Who would ever think that the biggest threat to our lives can actually come from within ourselves? 

Depression can come like a thief in the night. One day we might just realize that we have lost the pleasure of living, suddenly taking away the interest for activities that we once had. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, having depression as a disorder is different from being sad or depressed, however, can lead to it if it persists for a prolonged period of time. Depression is a medical illness that affects 1 in 15 adults, with 1 in 6 people experiencing it at some time in their life.

For some though, the impact of depression might just be too late. We hear stories of individuals who seem to be happy, successful and living their dreams, only to reveal their real situations through tragic suicides. In the US alone, Save.org discloses suicide as the 10th leading cause of death for all ages. 

No one is spared from the risk of depression because every person is faced with a difficulty and tries to respond to it. The determination to overcome life challenges may be affected by different factors. One of them is the medical factor, since it may be in one’s biochemistry or genes especially if a history of this illness may run in the family. Another is the environmental factor such as upbringing and other situations that cause a person to go into depression. They may have been bullied, experienced loss or pushed to the brink that they simply cannot bear. 

Aggression towards others or the self can be the result of unaddressed issues. In my research on profiling different cases of aggression in school campuses, facts reveal a pattern of how it has evolved in a person. An inability to express and be heard can lead into depressive states and vindictive behavior. Without the necessary intervention, it can eventually turn into a mental health issue. This disables a person from thinking properly, manifesting self-destructing behaviors that can affect his perceptions. If not medically intervened, this can lead to catastrophic results which include suicide or hurting others. 

Even as a motivational speaker and wellness coach, I also struggle and deal with such trying times. I have gone through emotional pain and rejection that has made me feel weak and helpless. At some point, the zest and passion for living has robbed me opportunities due to the absence of gratitude. This battle drove me to constantly look for answers, the reason of which I am advocating it in my talks. The insights I share are actually the ones that I practice myself. I realize that preventing myself to go into depression is my accountability, and I have to seek ways on how to keep my mental and emotional health intact. 

I came up with three personal resolutions that I have been keeping in check:

1. Taking care of my multi-dimensional wellness needs- Dr. Hettler espouses the 6 Dimensions of Wellness that can guide a person in attaining a more balanced life. These are the spiritual, emotional, social, physical, intellectual and occupational facets. They are interrelated, and when one of them is left behind, it can affect the other dimensions. For instance, emotional resilience can be pushed down when spirituality is also at a low. This may be the reason why a lot find difficulty bouncing back when their spirits are down. In my seminar-workshops, I ask my participants to make their own wellness meters to assess their different areas. We discuss them and become more aware of what we can do to enhance these areas. By striving for a good emotional well-being, we increase our motivations to exercise, eat right, sleep and do well in our work.

2. Having a personal vision- a clear visualization of what you want to be can be empowering as it allows you to identify the targets to strive for. These targets will increase your motivation. Motivation allows for focus and discipline to overcome difficulties. Discipline translates to performance, and performance leads you to a flow. Flow, as recognized in positive psychology, is the key to living a happy life. When you lose yourself in what you do and get to maximize your potentials, you find your passions trickling into your everyday life. As Stephen Covey said in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Beginning with the end in mind” allows a person to continually strive for his end state, gaining a very optimistic stance in how he views difficulty. 

3. Finding my creative outlet- Not everyone can easily express themselves in words. Some cannot even accept verbalizing what they truly feel. This is not a hindrance to emotional wellness if they know how to release pent up emotions in other ways. In my work as an artist-helper, I have witnessed how valuable creative activity serves for self discovery and for a release of unprocessed feelings. I have seen how people dance, perform, write, paint and play music as a way of disclosing themselves without the need to be understood. We just observe how it comes out in the creative process. Creative activity is not just for artists and we do not need to make masterpieces to effectively express ourselves. Making art as an outlet for stress, sadness or anger can help significantly.  

I do not wish to promote self-cure for depression, but rather would like to present ways in dealing with depressed or sad moments that typically occur. It is also not advised to diagnose oneself with depression simply by checking its symptoms on the internet. If you feel like you are struggling with depression that has gone beyond just being sad, consulting a health professional is always the best course of action. There is no reason to be afraid, and you may even ask a family member or friend to accompany you. Remember too that you have every right to keep things confidential and you do not owe the world an explanation for what you are going through. 

As an artist, educator and wellness advocate, Amos V. Manlangit has worked with individuals with different conditions and ages in his art programs. He has realized the immense value of creative programs im helping people deal with stress, emotional problems and self assessment. He holds workshops for visioning, emotional wellness, creativity and stress management. 

Why Mandala Making can be Good for You

  

Have you ever wondered why Mandala making has become an important activity from then until now?

Mandala art goes way back our history and ancient artists have done this kind of practice for the longest time. In the advent of psychology during the 20th century, Mandalas were found out to be helpful in processing emotions. Whichever the mandala serves a purpose to its maker, it has become an activity of intense value that encompasses culture, philosophy and time.

What is a mandala? It is a diagram created by patterns, symbols, shapes and representational elements arranged in a uniform manner, showing balance and a harmonious design. But this is just not an ordinary arrangement of a two-sided balance. It talks about symmetry in four sides or quadrants.

The first area by which Mandalas becomes valuable is through its artistry and aesthetic experience. By arranging them in fours, you can achieve a radial pattern that stabilizes the composition from any of its sides. It gives a certain kind of harmony that balances the work in multiple levels. Colors will also need to balance each other, thus being applied in synchrony on the quadrants. Finally, the rich use of pictography and symbolism personalizes the process. The center sets the theme of the mandala and all images should relate with each other in order to unify the whole.

Another dimension why people make mandalas is for its psychological importance. Mandalas are said to help in contemplation, discernment and self-discovery. Psychologist Carl Jung made extensive studies on mandalas and realized how deeply rooted circles are in the process of centering – unifying one’s thoughts and feelings. One can achieve self-reintegration and balance by exploring dualities, dreams and inner thoughts inherent in the creative process.

Finally, Mandalas are revered for its cultural and spiritual significance. All over the world, they are present- whether in churches, temples, mosques or even on the streets. It plays a role in various religions such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism among others. Mandalas are universal forms that can be appreciated for its value in culture and faith.

Today, mandala making can provide a holistic experience that can rejuvenate from the stress and disorientation caused by the modern world. It has a mindfulness benefit especially when the art-maker is induced to a creative flow. Placing in meaning and emotions can help in communication and self-expression. It is said that ultimately, one’s art is an extension of the self, thereby allowing mandalas to manifest the inner character. Indeed, mandala making can be a good opportunity to create art with meaning.

Sir Amos teaches mandala painting for self-discovery by letting participants use personalized symbols and paint it on capiz plates! He will be holding a workshop under the 1st Coron Art Experience organized by contemporary artist Carmela Geisert. This will be on November 11, 2018 (Sunday), 1pm at the Asia Grand View Coron, Palawan. Register at 0917 550 7375 or 0917 5341780. For more information about mandala plate painting, visit http://www.amosmanlangit.wordpress.com.

  

3 Ways That Art Impacts Disability

   
In what ways can art be purposeful to a person with disability?
Art engages every person in various ways. For many, it may start from as simple as a relaxing and meditative experience. Others find it as a channel to communicate and express their ideas in different forms. Art empowers a person in a way that goes beyond its traditional purpose of being decorative or for its own sake.
In society, art reflects the sentiments and experiences of its people. Art making should therefore be participated by everyone if it seeks to represent collective thoughts.
But in the paradigm of disability, persons with physical impairments or learning difficulties may not able to creatively realize themselves due to the restrictions set by their environments. They may find it limiting if the process entails methods that do not correspond to their needs, or if their disability becomes a reason for their exclusion. This becomes a barrier for them to pursue their passions and contribute to their society’s creative aspirations.
In my experience working with people with disabilities, I have witnessed how some managed to get through these and achieve an enriched form of creativity that levels the playing field with their able-bodied counterparts. There are impressive painters, musicians, singers, dancers, dramatists, writers and performers who are recognized for their artistry and not because of their disability.
In my recent participation in the 2018 Arts and Disability International Conference (ADIC) in Singapore, I realized how the arts play a transformative role in reshaping our thinking about disability and people with disabilities. The conference provided a ground to discuss the sentiments of educators, artists, psychologists and allied professionals in how to put down the attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers that disable them.
How does art impact disability in an individual and societal level? In my experience and study, I have observed three (3) ways by which it serves a purpose. These are for therapeutic gains, creative self-actualization and for advocacy building.

1. Art as their therapeutic medium-

The arts can engage a person with a disability on a psychological level as it nurtures his mental and emotional wellbeing. There are three ways by which it helps therapeutically. First, the mindfulness benefit inherent in the creative process increases focus and clarity, allowing a person to flow into artistic activity for extended periods. For instance, individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may find the meditative qualities of art production helpful to increase attention span and minimize distractibility. Second, the art-maker uses it to express his thoughts and manifest it in the creative output. He may find fulfillment in sharing his ideas verbally or nonverbally. Third, he can pour his feelings into the activity, utilizing action, colours and sounds, among others to release pent up emotions that may be difficult to express in words. All of these can gain for the art-maker an opportunity to reflect, process his thoughts, discover something about himself, experience a catharsis or reach a state of creative flow.

2. Art as their instrument for creative self-actualization –

Expression is natural to a human and this enables him to manifest his persona into the craft. This is by inducing a creative flow wherein he makes use of his skills to maximise his potentials. For a person with disability, flow matches his skills and abilities. It can range from simply being in-the-zone to fully articulating himself through the art. These moments can produce brilliant forms of works. In fact, many people with autism have harnessed their specific intelligences and developed these into astounding talents. The objective of an arts facilitator must therefore be to find their types of flow and harness these as artistic manifestations. This is by looking into different creative modalities that will highlight strengths, whether in the visual arts, music, writing, dance or drama. The moment the art-maker creates a piece of work and makes his audience forget about his disability, he achieves his right to be an able contributor to the arts of his community.

3. Art for advocacy building-

Art is a platform to talk about diversity. In essence, it is the gateway to divergence, which is an essential component to out-of-the-box thinking. This mindset opens the door to embrace differences and consequently, promote individuality. Art provides a space for everyone to exercise creative freedom that should include persons with or without disabilities. In the abovementioned conference, UNESCO Knowledge Societies Division’s Director, Dr. Indrajit Banerjee, stressed the importance of cultural rights by which people with disabilities are entitled to fully benefit from the arts just like anyone else. Therefore, a society placing value on inclusive arts opens its thinking to find more ways and make creative opportunities accessible for all. Art then begins to play a transformative role in attaining a more inclusive environment.
Amos V. Manlangit attended as a conference scholar under the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) at the Arts and Disability International Conference (ADIC), held last March 22-23, 2018 at the Sands Expo Convention Centre and Enabling Village in Singapore. This inaugural conference was a result of the success of the previous Arts and Disability Forums in 2016 and 2017. It is presented by the Nippon Foundation and jointly organized by Very Special Arts (VSA) and the National Arts Council of Singapore, with principal partners- the British Council and the SIF. Photo courtesy of Rani Evangelista and Ateneo Sped Society, taken during their disability awareness week.

Boosting Your Creative Confidence

 Normally, we hear these kinds of reactions when someone is asked to do a creative activity- “I don’t know how to be creative…” or “I’m not good at art…”. 
Where does the hesitation to be creative root from? 

For a lot of us, we may have been reared in an environment where we were corrected for doing “bad art” or have been stopped from initiating ideas in order to comply with rules. If we are to look at the standards set by society, it may help to place us in a box- if it is for obedience’s sake. But this kind of passivity may have a negative impact in our perception of making mistakes or in our acceptance to atypical responses. We may even view rules as absolute and unchangeable. 
For some people, they have cultivated creative confidence to the extent of harnessing it leading to entrepreneurial and career success.

What does having creative confidence mean? In art, it may mean expressing yourself without the fear of being artistically judged. It may mean reaching a level of confidence where you don’t hesitate to place that stroke or blend that color, or even be comfortable not knowing what will come out in the end. But creative confidence even goes beyond that. It is about developing a mindset of doing something without fear of making mistakes or being judged. It is the attitude of owning your success and failures for the ideas you decide to pursue. When you are creatively confident, you are not bound by the standards of others. 

How do you build on creative confidence?

 1. Clear your mind of judgment, analyzing or self-criticism- You can achieve mindful thinking in which you learn how to think of the moment without submitting to your notions or automatic responses. You get to observe your emotions and judgments from a distance and not succumb to it.

 2. Remove the guilt- remove your dependence on what other people might say or think. Some of us were raised to be made to feel guilty if we don’t meet expectations set by our culture. Culture expectations are not carved in stone. If it doesn’t work anymore, change it.

 3. Be Accountable for your every decision- whether your idea will be accepted or not, or if it will turn out good or not in the end, own it. No one else decided it for you so you cannot blame others for your actions. Adopting this mindset gets you out of the victim mentality where you feel like your circumstance is a result of forces beyond your control.

Sometimes, some people compare creative confidence with being oppositional or non-conforming because challenging the status quo can make you think outside of what is generally accepted. But it doesn’t always mean that way to go against any standard. It just means that we have to learn to see what’s beyond a fence. A lot of us may see a fence as the edge and it may limit us from seeing the world beyond what we know.

 What are the benefits of building creative confidence?

 1. Creative flow- Letting your mind flow plays a big part in harnessing creativity. In this state, you allow yourself to think without fear of criticism and get to experience a quick, spontaneous way of generating new ideas. 

 2. Play and experimentation- What happens in play? You get to role play and view yourself in a different way. This can help you think beyond the usual and generate new experiences. 

 3. Divergent thinking- You begin to think divergently when you’ve built more confidence. Divergent thinking allows you to think beyond because you generate many answers to problems. This is the hallmark of creativity where change, reinvention and innovation occurs. 

Where do you begin then? It begins with an authentic creative expression that allows you to experiment on answering problems. Using the Creative process, the facilitator asks to explore ideas without judging your creative output. The result is a kind of creative practice that heightens your divergent thinking. Some activities include visual arts, music, creative writing, dance and drama. In my practice as a Mandala Plate Painting facilitator, I ensure that my participants get to maximize their expressions by generating symbols out of their personal stories, alongside working on artistic techniques that I draw from my background as a fine arts practitioner.
With as simple as these kinds of experiences, you can begin your journey towards boosting your creative confidence!
 

Amos V. Manlangit offers Well-Being Management Through the Arts, a series of seminar-workshops designed to help in creative thinking, visioning, personal leadership, expression, mindfulness, resilience and grit. For more information, contact sir Amos at 0917-534 1780, or email amosmanlangit@gmail.com . Check his website http://www.amosmanlangit.weebly.com 

 

Mind Mapping Love

  
In how many ways can we communicate love? Sometimes, it may be hard to say the simple “I love you” especially for someone like me who is not too expressive with my emotions. But what I initially thought was a hindrance became an opportunity for me to think of alternatives to let my feelings come across.
In his book The Five Love Languages, Chapman suggested that we have different ways of expressing our love, may it be by saying, giving gifts, giving quality time, acts of devotion or love. But oftentimes, we tend to misread someone’s expression of love because it may be different from our specific language or expectations. 
Talking love can get really complex, but if we understand how it can be said in different ways- whether verbally or nonverbally- it can become a rich source of self expression.

Mind Mapping is a creative technique of generating as many solutions to a problem. It is an essential tool used in meetings and planning because it allows you to be divergent. When you think divergently, you get to think of as many ways of responding to a problem or situation. It is the opposite of convergent thinking, which means corresponding a specific solution with a problem. Convergent thinking may be good if you are looking for a “right” answer. But in the world of love, there is no exact way of communicating it.

So how do we do mind map love? Place a thought bubble in the middle. Write the phrase “How to express your love” in it. Without judging what you’ll come up with, think of an idea how to express your love and connect that thought bubble with the main thought bubble. If you want to elaborate it, think of a new idea stemming from one thought bubble. Come up with as many ideas and create a complex web of thoughts.

What just happened? You allowed yourself to be fluent with your thoughts. You also elaborated on your ideas. And you became more flexible with your thoughts about a certain concept. All of these made you realize that there is more than just one solution to a “problem” and these three are part of what studies say are essential creative skills. When you allow yourself to be creative, you get to think out of the box. In this exercise, you expressed your thoughts in multiple layers!

In our culture, males tend to operate on expectations in terms of limiting our expressions. But when I fell in love, I wanted to know how I can get around this. I mind mapped my ways of loving and began feeling excited with the many ways I can express myself. I realized that divergence can become my leverage. And I knew that it had a lasting impact to the person I love more that just saying “I love you”. 

Valentine’s is not supposed to be celebrated in just a day. With so many ideas to show love, you can express each way every single day this month- and more so in your lifetime. By mind mapping your love, there may never be a boring day in any of your relationships!