EVENTS Well-being, well worth it, Part 2

Anna Rymer reports on the last two webinars in the Well-Being: Why Are You Worth It? series, run by Andrew Wright of Action Your Potential. Recordings of all four are still available to purchase (see below).

Many of us struggled with our creativity during the pandemic. We needed help to step back from our work, to understand how we can nurture our inherently wonderful, creative brains. This is what the final two sessions with Andrew Wright of Action Your Potential were all about: our creativity. How to nurture it, believe in it and simply get out of our own way.


Once again, there was so much covered in these sessions. Thankfully, I have the recordings to return to for a while to help digest the information.

Andrew began session 3 with a little of the neuroscience, focusing on how our brains learn. There was some really fascinating insight into the evolution of our brain and its astounding capabilities, with a look at how we process new information to form facts, opinions and beliefs.


Learning isn’t just one process, it’s three. First we need to understand the new knowledge/skill/opinion and essentially ‘get it’. Next we have to practise (or reinforce) it, encoding the new information through repetition, and then, to really cement the learning, we have to use it – retrieving the information and applying it to new situations.


A nerve cell in the brain

This took us into the realm of neurochemistry and the makeup of neurons, synapses and how these physically grow and connect as new information is practised and utilised. I loved Andrew’s passion for the subject with statements like ‘it’s burnt literally into the circuitry’ – really emphasising the nature of our brains as glorious machines.
We didn’t delve too far into this, but what was key is how this knowledge can begin to inform positive approaches to learning and assert the importance of attitude, repetition and space (little and often) in this process. It’s here that we moved into understanding the brain as a ‘prediction engine’ (with some fun examples) and how this drive to constantly seek out connections, associations and novelty serves our creativity. 

This was probably the most practical part of the session, as we looked at how to fire up the creative furnace, first with a look at the role that ‘mind wandering’ plays in creativity. We all know this one, don’t we? Much of the writing process is staring out of the window, yes? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that is exactly as it should be.


Our minds like (or need) to wander for 20 to 30 per cent of the day. It’s our ‘default mode’ and it’s a problem-solving mechanism that requires space. In fact, if we don’t make space for it, our brain will force the issue, and we’ll find our focus drifting when we don’t want it to.



So that’s why ‘mind wandering’ is one of the twelve rocks of well-being (see my Part 1 report in Words & Pictures). It’s also included in the ‘Build your Creativity Net’ (described as: ‘a group of behaviours that, when enacted together, can bring about change’) that Andrew went on to guide us through, which can incrementally enable a positive change in our creative lives. There is some really practical advice within this and I, for one, am looking forward to implementing it.


Session 3 concluded with a brief look at the dark side of the imagination. After all, a brain that can create fictional worlds and novel stories can also create unhelpful narratives and belief systems. Amongst other tips, the advice ‘Don’t believe everything you think’ really stood out and the inspirational video that followed was a great affirmation of this (which, I’ll be honest, had me welling up). Our brains tell us lies! 

This also provided a perfect segue into the fourth and final session of the workshop series – Imposter Syndrome and Other Brain Mirages. Here’s where our inventive minds really have the potential to work against us, especially when you consider the negative biases of the brain we looked at in session 1.


As was explored, we don’t passively perceive the world, we actively generate it on the basis of experience. Yes, we form our own narratives – our own realities even – and we reinforce these (strengthening the neurons that build the architecture of our brain) when we fall into repeated patterns of thought and behaviour. 

This can go both ways (and does in any given day) with growth-affirming beliefs or growth-defeating beliefs. We all know that voice that says, 'You’re a fraud,' or 'Your ideas are bad' or 'You’ll never get published.'

Andrew said we have to weed the garden of our minds daily. The session explored some common growth-defeating beliefs and how we might reframe them with more helpful facts, opinions and beliefs. It addressed the way that impostor syndrome is a maladaptive belief – ‘a dangerous set of opinions that defeat, exhaust and undermine us’ – that we ultimately have the power to take on and defeat.


As the session came to an end I felt full of the hope that nestled among my notes and these recordings (that I will definitely watch again) was the potential to, little by little, with the help of the tips and acronyms, the nets and threads and rocks, actually build a different neural architecture. One that encompasses a fluid mindset incorporating updated facts, changed opinions and flexible beliefs to help get the best out of every day. I have a few things nailed already but there’s definitely scope for improvement and I’m really keen to continue on my Neuro-Ninja journey, one net at a time. Who’s with me?


If you’d like to know more you can still access the recordings and I highly recommend that you do.

*All pictures courtesy of Andrew Wright.

Anna Rymer is a Writer, Editor, Assistant Agent and Mother living on the Wirral in Merseyside. Her writing has appeared in The Cabinet of Heed, the Same Journal and the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology. She also publishes flash fiction and fiction reviews on her blog Blissfully Buried in Books. Anna is currently working on her debut middle-grade fantasy novel, whilst juggling various jobs, her children and a massive to-be-read list. Twitter @annarymerwriter 


Fran Price is Events Editor for Words & Pictures.

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