6 Easy Steps To Enjoying The Stress In Your Life

By Nicole Tinkham

stress

We write many blogs on ways to rid stress from your life so you may have read this title, thinking what gives?? We often view stress as a negative thing in our lives and it certainly can be. It sucks the time right out of our day, turns our hair gray, and prevents us from living the care-free life we want to live. However, if you switch your mindset just a little (we’ll show you how), you can actually begin enjoying the stress in your life. Read on for 6 easy steps for making stress your friend.

1.    Focus on what’s going right

We all experience different feelings when going through the stages of stress, but one thing that we all have in common is that it effects us, whether we admit it or not. In most cases, we experience sweaty palms and a racing heart. Use this stress signal to switch your way of thinking! When stress tries to take over, instead of focusing on all that is going wrong, channel your thoughts to think about all that is going right in your life. A simple re-direct of your thought patterns can actually change the way you think about the stress you may be facing.

2.    Use it to propel you forward

Sometimes being too comfortable where you’re at is a bad thing. You may not want to make the necessary changes for a better life because you’re just content. When stress pops up, you can use it to make a change because you decided you aren’t comfortable in the situation you’re currently in, and want something different!

3.    Embrace the feeling

We are often trained to feel a certain way in different circumstances. When we’re stressed, we automatically assume it’s a bad thing. But what if we could embrace that feeling and know that it’s good to feel that way every once in awhile? Of course you don’t want to be in a constant state of stress but from time to time it can be beneficial. Next time you’re stressed out, remember that it does not have to have a negative effect on you!

4.    Accept the challenge

Sometimes stress is brought on by a new challenge in life. Get your competitive spirit on and give it all you got! See what you’re really made of and all the incredible things you can accomplish when you aren’t scared to face the obstacles that get thrown your way. Remember, change can be a good thing!

5.    Be more productive

Stress gives you a boost of energy. Use it to your advantage! Get focused and be productive. Stress also puts pressure on you to reach your goals which can be very motivating.

6.    Get really good at future situations

The more you handle stressful situations, the better you’ll be at getting through future situations that come up. It’s all prep for whatever is coming up next.

While we just talked about the 6 easy steps for enjoying the stress in your life, it’s important for us to mention the negative side effects of stress as well. Even though there are benefits of stress such as increased energy, focus and motivation, too much stress can have a negative impact on your health. Be careful! You know you need to chill out and relax when you start getting headaches, body aches, and are sick more often. When you do reach this point, do these 7 simple ways to a peaceful mind

5 Simple Steps To Just Being There, In The Moment

By Nicole Tinkham

being-there

“Being there” sounds like the easiest thing on the planet to do, right? You are where you are! It’s as simple as that. But are you really present in the moment? That can be a tricky question. Here’s what I mean. Have you ever been in a boring math class and totally spaced out? You were physically in the classroom but your mind was elsewhere. That boring math class may not seem very important to you (unless of course, you love math) but what if you caught yourself zoning out during a family dinner? This is something important to you but for some reason you’re not there in the moment. Why? Because you probably have a million things running through your mind and just can’t seem to focus no matter how badly you want to. Once we release the challenges spinning around our head we are able to focus on the moment and enjoy pure happiness. If this is what you want more of in life, read on for 5 simple steps to just being there, in the moment.

The biggest problem: Stress and worry over the past and future. You need to stop! You cannot change the past nor can you predict the future. Let it go and only be concerned with the moment right now.

1.    Plan your day out

Are you ready for this? We are going beyond creating just a typical to-do list. This is something I personally do to organize my day which helps me focus on the task at hand and actually relax on my time off. Here’s what you need to do before the start of each day: Take your daily to-do list and schedule times you will get these things done. Be careful with how much time you allow for each task though. Don’t give yourself too much time where you find yourself off-task but don’t limit your time either where you don’t have enough time to finish the task. Having allotted times for each task allows you to only concern yourself with one thing at a time. If you’re outside of those time slots, take your mind off it and move on.

2.    View and speak about your time differently

How many times do you catch yourself saying “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy” when asked to do something? You need to stop that right now because what you say becomes your reality. Keep saying these phrases and your life will only become more hectic. Remember that there’s always time for things in your day. But it really depends on the things you choose to do. You can’t do everything so focus your time on what will move you forward with your goals. With anything else, you can say “I appreciate the invite but must decline because I made a promise to myself to reach my goals”. This will free up so much of your time, relieve your stress and allow you to focus on the important things, like being present with your family. From now on you should be telling yourself “I have an abundance of time”, instead of worrying over not having enough.

3.    Clear your head

Make the most out of your quiet alone time. Get in your zone. Get focused. Think about your goals and plans for the day. Always know where you’re headed. Do some soul searching and make sure you’re on track with where you want to go in life. Meditation and yoga are two excellent ways to get in touch with your inner self. Allow your stress and worry melt away. I recommend doing this every single day, even if it’s just for just 5 minutes at a time. You can always work your way up to longer sessions.

4.    Really listen

I don’t know about you but I can get really good at tuning people out when I have other things on my mind. If you’re striving to really be in the moment though, you’ll need to drop everything going on in your head, shut your mouth and really listen. Try this activity. When talking to someone else, start repeating things they say back to them. For example, you can say “So you’re saying it made you feel this way, right?”. It shows you’re paying attention and it keeps you focused.

5.    Notice the little things

There are so many small joys of life that are often missed due to simply being too busy to notice them. We wait around for something big and exciting in our lives to make us happy when really happiness lies in the things right in front of us, like a beautiful day or a smile from a stranger. Be aware of these things and it will help you be more present. One thing I like to do is picture something (like yellow butterflies) and focus on my surroundings throughout the day to see how many I notice. It turns your attention to what’s going on currently, so you’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Being there, in the moment not only has a big impact on your own life but on those close to you as well. Your relationships will improve, your communication skills will get better, and you’ll become a more thoughtful and caring person. To have this time where you can just enjoy the moment plan your day out being very specific with what you’re doing at each hour, view your time differently (remember, you have plenty of it!), clear your mind during some quiet time, pay close attention to what others have to say, and take note of the little things in life. Of course this won’t come naturally to you right away. Work on being present little by little each day and you’ll get the hang of it.

Tell us, are you living in the present moment? If not, what habits will you pick up from this blog to help you do that?

You May Be An Artist If… You Do Any Or All Of These 18 Things

By Nicole Tinkham

you-may-be-an-artist-if

We absolutely love the way our artist friends just “get” one another on a deeper level. They can relate to accidentally drinking your paint water or heading to the store in your paint clothes by mistake. It’s that connection with other artists that’s what really makes our Facebook page so special. So we asked our friends to fill in the blank: You may be an artist if _______________. Here are 18 of our favorite responses.

1.    “You start to view everything by the way the light hits it.” –Christina

2.    “When you’ve walked out of your house on more than one occasion with charcoal smudges on your face and forgetting the blending stumps you had put behind your ear while you’re working on your sketch.” – Elizabeth

3.    “When… beside you, You have two cups. One with water and one with paint water. And you have to label it because your fiancé has already drank the paint water before…” -April

4.    “When you run to the grocery store and forget that your hair is in a bun held with a paintbrush, and you have paint on your face and clothes. Lol.” -Denise

5.    “You refuse to throw out Styrofoam egg cartons because they are great to use as painting trays.” -Jamie

6.    “ When you look at copy paper and think “peasant paper” lol :P” – Brittaney

7.    “Everything you see and experience in life becomes a possible subject matter to put on canvass. :)” -Tia

8.    “You hate everything you’ve created and you apologize for its existence.” – Caitie

9.    “ Sit in your creating space and you don’t hear and see anything just that part where you working on, it could be knit or crochet or working with fabrics or paint….” – Anja

10.    “ You look at your own work like it is garbage and everyone else tells you it is magic. :P” -Jason

11.    “You pick up your brush, pencil, pen or whatever you are using and put that first mark down.” -Brenda

12.    “You can see a story and feel the emotion of it when experiencing a single glance at.” – Patricia

13.    “You would do that painting/drawing differently.” -April

14.    “When you get upset that your hubby took out the recycling without allowing you to claim any useful items first.” -Judy

15.    “When you turn an afternoon out into a photo shoot, sketching trip, or beeline to the art supply store.” -Judy

16.     “When you have oil paint stains on all your clothes.” -Charles

17.     “You no longer draw stick figures.” –Ellery

18.     “You proved you could do what you set out to do.” –Muriel

So now we want to hear from YOU! Based on what our artsy friends say about living the art life, would you say you fit in with them as an artist? Which one of these 18 things can you relate to most? Have anything to add to our list? Let us know in the comments!

7 Ways To Have Fun With Your Art Again And Why It’s So Important

By Nicole Tinkham

fun-art

It’s possible you got started on this art journey for one reason: To have fun (so we’re guessing anyway). That’s how many artists begin their art career. They have a passion for art and they take the leap and start creating to earn an income. Doing what you absolutely love for work is the ultimate dream. But what happens when it begins to feel more like “work” and less like fun? We all get into these ruts from time to time so don’t get down on yourself for feeling this way. Maybe you’re stuck on a particular project, can’t think of any creative ideas, or just lost your spark. Don’t give up on that dream just yet. Before doubting yourself thinking you just weren’t cut out for the art life, read on for 7 ways to have fun with your art again and why it’s so important.

1.    Try something new

When it comes down to just trying something new with your art there are endless ways to mix things up. Need ideas? We got ‘em!

Try a different medium, take an art workshop, paint a different subject, work outside, work with other artist friends, learn a new skill or technique, change up your color palette, listen to music while you work, work in silence, work on a different size canvas, create something just for yourself, watch some art YouTube videos, pick up a new book for inspiration, take on a new challenge (like a 30 day sketchbook challenge), find a new tool to try out, sit rather than stand when creating, change your environment, work from real life versus a photo, and our list goes on and on..

One of the main reasons why you could be feeling less than enthusiastic about the work that you’re doing is because you’re burned out. You’ve been doing the same things for far too long and it has simply gotten boring. Any little shift in the way you work or what you’re working on can bring new creative inspiration and joy into your artwork.

2.    Work in a creative atmosphere

As we mentioned above about doing the same things over and over again, being in the same environment day after day can also wear you down. Your environment has a huge effect on your feelings and your feelings have a huge impact on your artwork. Maybe your studio needs a makeover. Rearrange things so your space makes you feel happy. You’ll notice a huge difference not only in your attitude but also in the quality of your artwork.
Our biggest suggestions when making adjustments to your art space are to get organized (yes, you may have to get rid of things you no longer use!), have plenty of natural light, lots of colorful inspiration, and some plants. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re comfortable in your space.

3.    Take a vacation

Just because you work for yourself as an artist doesn’t mean you can’t take days off! Plan vacations, weekends, and random days off. Do something new or something that you really enjoy outside of the studio. This gives you something to look forward to so you’re not just going through the motions every day and a nice break can bring on fresh, new creative ideas.

Be sure you get away for a bit even if it’s for a day trip. This is so refreshing and you won’t have work sitting around to worry about. Shut off your mind and actually relax! Another important thing to keep in mind is your daily business hours. Remember that you need breaks throughout the day as well.

4.    Loosen up and remember your why

Just when you’re about to give up and feel totally defeated, you must remember why you started in the first place. Remember that anxious and excited feeling when you were first starting out? You had so much joy and big goals for yourself. You started out loose and creating artwork for fun which showed in your work. As you go, you may become strict with your artwork and put more pressure on yourself. This is when the mood about your artwork shifts. You may start to resent the work that you’re doing. Instead, get back to the good ole days, create for the fun of it, and loosen up.

5.    Be yourself and trust your inner voice

It’s incredibly easy to slide out of your true personality and start acting differently once you get your art business rolling. You start to conform to what you think others want and what you see other artists doing. But it’s so important that you remain true to yourself. For starters, you’ll have fun being yourself. It’s much more difficult, draining, and time consuming trying to be someone else. Also, people need what you have to offer specifically. You were born to bring something special to this world so don’t just be a copy of someone else. Be your own unique self.

We recommend sitting down and really thinking about who you are, what your values are, and what you want to give to the world. Check in with yourself frequently to make sure you’re on point with your priorities and goals.

6.    Smile while you work

You don’t have to wait for something good to happen before you can put a smile on your face. Wear a smile no matter what, even if you’re having a terrible day. It tricks your mind and actually does put you in a better mood. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and try it 🙂

A simple smile makes you happy which helps you have fun in whatever you’re doing and also puts others in a better mood as well. You can attract better, more positive clients and just be happier in your business altogether.

7.    Work with people you love

You may think this sounds totally crazy but you do not have to work with negative clients who stress you out. Choose to work with the people you get along with and who make you happy. It makes dealing with clients much easier and a happier experience for you both. You can also gain a strong lasting relationship and build trust with them. It’s much better to have quality clients who stick around than flaky ones who cause you stress.

Why is it so important to love what you do?

Would you wake up on your days off, weekends, and vacations to scrub the bathroom floor and spend the day doing other miserable things you hate doing? Yes, these things need to be done but chances are you won’t be doing these things all day long on every single day you have available. With that being said, why would you wake up every day and spend your time doing things you don’t like even when it’s for work? What we’re trying to say is life is just too short to not like what you do and by the way, you do have a choice. You chose to be an artist for a reason, because it excites you and you enjoy it. Just because your flame may be going out doesn’t mean you should give up on that dream. You can easily bring that spark to life by applying the 7 ways to have fun with your art.

Remember, you were born for more than to just go through the motions of every day life. You may have to tweak your path but you should never give up on your dreams.

Why You Need To Stand Up For What You Believe In And How To Do It

By Nicole Tinkham

stand-up

How many times have you sat back and kept your mouth shut even if you didn’t believe in what was being said/done? We don’t blame you because it’s so much easier to keep your own ideas to yourself. You don’t risk getting put down, feeling judged, or becoming an outcast. But what if that one idea you have can change everything for the better? You shouldn’t keep that to yourself! Here’s why you need to start standing up for what you believe in and how to do it.

Let’s start with the why.

1.    It builds your respect.
This goes two ways. Sticking up for what you believe in builds your self- respect because you’re following through with your values. Going against what you believe in just because it’s more convenient is less than admirable. Standing your ground also gains respect from others, even if they view things differently than you. Just having the guts to stand up for yourself shows what kind of person you are. You aren’t a pushover. You are strong and independent.

2.    You will gain confidence.
At first, standing up for your beliefs isn’t the easiest task. You may be doubting yourself, you may be hesitant, and your words might not come out just right (like the perfectly prepared speech you have in your head). But the more you do it, the better you’ll get and the more confidence you’ll gain. You’ll be more willing to step out of your comfort zone in uncomfortable situations.

3.    It helps you discover who you are.
When you just go along with what others say, you’re letting them take control over a piece of your life. You’re allowing them to dictate how you should do or say something, even how you should think. This may sound drastic but every little thing that you sit back on impacts your life. By standing up for what you believe in, you’re expressing who you are and what you want out of life. Even if your ideas don’t change a thing, you are still putting your real, unique self out there. The more you do it, the more YOU will come out.

Now let’s talk about how you can implement these things in your life.

1.    Figure out what you actually believe in.
Before you stand up for what you believe in, you have to know what it is that you believe in! It sounds simple enough but when we sit back and let others take over, we sometimes forget or lose sight of who we really are. When you have a quiet moment to yourself, think about the following questions.

•    What is important to me?
•    What am I passionate about?
•    What motivates me?
•    What are my core values?

2.    Let go of your fears about what people think of you.
This is a tough one. When standing up for yourself, you have got to let go of your fears of what people think about you. Whatever you’re thinking is often way worse in your head. It always is. Remember that people are more concerned with things going on their own life than to sit there and judge yours. As we mentioned before, it takes practice but with time you will get better at it and you’ll feel better about doing it.

3.    Don’t doubt yourself.
Sometimes when you stand up for yourself, there will be people who try to change your mind or put you down. Always keep your beliefs in mind. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to hear others out and listen to their point of view. But that doesn’t mean you have to change what you believe in.

4.    Keep doing it.
There are so many ways in which you can stand up for what you believe in so don’t stop after one thing. Voice your opinion (in a positive way) when the timing feels right and you’ll get better every time you do it. When we mention to be positive, we mean don’t speak your opinion just to put someone else down. Hear them out and let them know your ideas as well.

We know that staying in your cozy little shell doing your own thing is comfortable but you have the power to change things for the better when you allow yourself to break out of your comfort zone and stand up for what you believe in. You’ll build respect for yourself, gain confidence, and discover who you really are. It may not be easy at first but it’s really quite simple to do. Start by finding out what your beliefs are, let go of your fears, quit doubting yourself, and keep practicing. You can do this!

How To Go With Your Gut When Making Big Decisions

By Nicole Tinkham

go-with-your-gut

Do you ever have a gut feeling that’s telling you to go after something big and exciting and then have your mind fight against it and tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it? Later on down the road you may discover that you really should have listened to your gut and went for it. You regret it after the fact when it’s too late. If you have ever in your life experienced this, read on because we’ll be talking about how you can use your intuition to make the best decisions that will change your life.

How do you know you can trust your gut instinct?

While your gut instinct may seem like a random decision making process to do something without considering the pros and cons, it’s actually not just a thoughtless act. According to psychologist Gary Klein, Ph.D, “It’s the way we translate our experience into judgment and actions.” We pick up on clues and patterns in our past experiences which help us make these decisions without having to do any sort of analysis. So really, it’s not all that thoughtless and random after all.

Most of your decisions are made based on your gut instinct

Think about all the little things you do on a daily basis without giving second thought. It’s probably more than you think. What you eat for breakfast in the morning, what you decide to wear, and what you watch on TV are all quick decisions you make daily. You don’t contemplate whether or not you’re making the right choice. You’re just going with your gut. So why is it so simple to do this yet so much more complicated when it comes to the larger decisions we’re faced with? Well, when it comes to the bigger life decisions, we tend to overthink things too much. But there are many benefits to listening to your instincts and taking action on them!

Why you should go with your gut

If you sit back and overanalyze every decision, you won’t get very far in life. Those things you would love to see happen most likely won’t happen because it means stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a risk. We like to override that gut feeling with the fear of failure. We think about it so much that we talk ourselves out of doing it completely because it’s scary. It suddenly becomes a terrible idea and we move on with our ordinary lives. But the best things in life happen when you take a chance and make a change even if it is a scary one. This is when listening to your gut comes into play. Sometimes you just have to go with what feels right even if you don’t fully understand how it’ll work out.

How to listen to your gut instinct

1.    To follow your intuition, you actually have to listen to it. Take some time alone to think things through. It’s important to do this totally alone so you’re not influenced by anyone else. Consider what you really want. Think about what your gut is actually telling you before you jump in and make any decision. Take time but not too much time on this because you can easily get into overanalyzing the decision. Give yourself a set amount of time (like a half hour) to think things over and make a decision.

2.    Can’t quite seem to follow your gut instinct in your current situation? Make a list of all the times you have listened to your gut and have been happy with the outcome. Did you feel good about the decision you made? With time, you’ll get better at going with your gut and you’ll see more and more positive outcomes. But until then, keep reminding yourself of what has happened in the past as a result of it.

3.    Continue to practice and work on yourself. You can get in touch with your inner senses by meditating and having a vision for what your ideal life looks like. Figure out what you really want and allow your inner intuitive voice come out.

Be careful!

Making quick decisions can backfire if you aren’t careful. As mentioned above, you do need to think things through before making a big decision. There is more to it than what you initially see. Think about your options without overthinking them so you don’t go into it blindly. Just be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.

Following your instincts can change your entire life. It can get you out of your comfort zone, help you discover your true passion, and live a happier life doing what you want to do. When we overthink big decision we could miss out on incredible opportunities. But it’s also important that you do reflect on what your gut is telling you so you don’t jump into anything blindly. Start listening to your gut instinct today even if it’s just on small decisions. Get used to it and strengthen that inner sense so you’ll be better at it when a big decision comes up.

You Can Be A World Famous Artist (or whatever else you want to be)

By Nicole Tinkham

be-what-you-want

I don’t think I’m alone when I confess that it took me a really long time to figure out what it was I wanted to do with my life. In fact, I’m still trying to figure it out. When we’re young, we’re always asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and any answer you give is perfectly acceptable. You’re encouraged to dream big. But when reality sets in and you actually have to make this decision for real, you don’t get the same reaction when you respond with “To be a world famous artist traveling the world”. It’s not the norm and something that’s different scares most people. Maybe it’s the people around you trying to talk you out of doing something huge like that or maybe it’s you, not even allowing yourself to dream big simply because it sounds too crazy.

It’s simple to have the mindset of just surviving day by day, looking forward to the weekends when you get a short break and then getting right back into this routine of yours. By doing this you aren’t seeing the big picture though. You’re not really thinking about what this life has to offer or how you could make a huge difference in the world. You’re just putting your head down and trying to get by. Is that any way to live though? If you think about all the things you could possibly be doing right now, is doing this what you would choose if you didn’t have to worry about anything else? Listen, we all know life is way too short to not enjoy what we do but why aren’t most of us making any changes?

The big thing that comes into play here is fear. It’s the fear of failure, the fear of what others might say, the fear that you might actually succeed, and many more. But what if when you were born you were meant to do something very specific? Something that no one else could do quite like you. Something that you were destined to do and succeed in? It’s something you feel deep down in your gut but never considered (or are too afraid to) act on. You are robbing the world of your special skills by not stepping out to do it! You have the power to help so many people and actually enjoy and be happy in your life and you’re most likely doing nothing about it. You’re choosing to do things you don’t fully enjoy. Doesn’t that sound kind of silly?

If you never make the leap, you will never know what could have been in store for you. Even when all odds are against you, if you were meant to do a particular thing in your life it will somehow work out. You must have faith and believe in yourself. Think about it this way; if you were to wrap up life right now, would you be happy with what you left the world with? Would you be happy with your accomplishments? If not, you need to make a change. You need to feel proud of the life you have lived. And if you want people to remember you when you’re gone, you must make an impact in some way on someone. The best way to do that is to follow that gut feeling and just go after what feels right in your heart.

If you do one thing today, make this be it. This one way of thinking will open your eyes to the possibilities. It will have you believing in yourself like you never have before. Whatever it is you want to do in your life whether it be to become a famous artist, an actress, a business owner, a singer, or whatever is in your heart, ask yourself if anyone else is or has already done this thing. Doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Just think about whether it has been done before. Chances are it has and you know what that means? It means that you can do it too. It is not impossible. If someone else can do it, then why not you? Those people out there doing the things you want to do are no different than you. They don’t have anything special that you don’t have. They just went after what they wanted and they got there. Just like you can and will do.

You are never too old, the timing is never too late, and you are never too inexperienced to make things happen in your life.  What you need to do is consider the possibilities, set a goal for yourself, take action, become focused, and never give up. If it’s in your heart, keep going even through the difficult times. You will get there regardless of age or where you’re at in life right now. You CAN be that world famous artist or whatever else it is you want to be.