With the start of the new year many of us are hitting the gym and rethinking our diets. While, as a former Pilates studio owner and personal trainer, I’m all for that, I also believe that we should all be making resolutions to add more creativity into our lives.
Stress Relief. Sure, being active releases those feel good endorphins but did you know that being creative or even watching someone else be creative is great for stress relief too. This isn’t about taking on yet another hobby and it’s certainly not meant to stress you out. Every few days set aside some time to paint or write or even bake. Don’t worry about being perfect and producing a finished product this is more about the process.
Similar To Meditation. Think about this for a second, when you are writing or painting (or anything similar) it’s almost impossible to be multi-tasking. Sure you might have some music on in the background but you can’t be watching television while you are writing. Trust me, I sometimes do this and it really doesn’t work very well. So when you immerse yourself fully in one activity, it allows your brain to calm down and enter an almost meditative state.
Helps With The Healing Process. The concept of using art for therapy is not new. It allows people to express themselves artistically and can improve self-esteem. When someone is having difficulty expressing themselves with words art can also be a means of communication.
Can Improve Your Mood. It’s fairly normal to, on occasion, feel down or depressed. When that happens, try turning off all social media and external distractions and just write. Let your imagination take over, don’t worry about spelling or even if what you are writing makes sense. You’ll find that those outside stressors fade away and you’ll be left with an improved outlook.
It Fills A Void. It’s easy to focus solely on the things we have to do everyday, but when we are that focused we can sometimes forget ourselves. Not only does being creative help heal our brains, but it can also do wonders for our hearts. When you create something you are proud of, or when you watch a beautiful performance, or when you see a fascinating exhibition those are all things that can inspire us to do better and to fulfill our dreams.
Still don’t believe me? I recently made a big cross-continent move. I left a big, vibrant European city and landed in a small North American town with minimal amenities. I was miserable. I found myself with a huge case of writer’s block and spend several weeks staring off into space desperately trying to write.
I finally decided to take my advice. I grabbed my phone, pulled up a photograph and started writing what I saw. Pretty soon that turned into a short story. That, in turn, turned into an entire book of visual writing prompts complete with my photographs, which I’m thrilled to say was published.
It doesn’t matter what you do to be creative, just give yourself permission to let go for a at least a few minutes every day.