Creativity is about more than making art, singing, writing, cooking, acting, or dancing. And it is not just for the Talented.
Creativity is about process. The process of trying, failing, refining and trying again. A process that breeds more creativity, more ideas, more innovative solutions.
Engaging your creative brain can make lasting positive changes in your health. We know that making art, or engaging with the arts (think going to the theater), decreases stress and anxiety, increases self awareness, improves problem solving, and strengthens community connections. However, so many adults have disconnected with their creative selves and their unique creative processes. As adults we are often outcome driven. Many times at the expense of our health and happiness. To often I find myself asking patients, ‘when was the last time you had fun?’
Creativity matters. Making stuff matters. The creative process helps reconnect you with your passions, purpose, and joy. Your next great idea rarely comes to you while staring at a computer screen. However, new ideas can seem to flood in while doodling. Even ‘failed’ paintings/recipes/poems help drop your stress, stretch your mind, and remind you how to play.
Being curious about yourself and what brings you joy is the first step in reconnecting with your creative brain. What brings you joy? What parts of yourself do you want to cultivate? What habits are you ready to let go of?
The next step involves courage. The courage to prioritize the activities that bring you joy and asking for help to reach a goal when you need it.
Then comes action. Creative action that brings you joy and get you into a flow state. Flow state is what happens when you are completely engrossed in an activity you enjoy. Time seems to stand still and you easily come up with unique solutions to problems. For many people flow state is achieved when they engage in a creative activity they love.
The result of actively reconnecting with your creative brain and regularly tapping into your flow state includes: lower stress and anxiety, personal insight, improved problem solving, more personal autonomy, and a greater willingness to take risks. All of which leads to greater creativity. It seems a worthwhile undertaking.
Do you remember fun? What brings you joy? What are you doing when you come up with your great ideas?
Let’s integrate these joy producing, creative flow state activities into your every day. A daily creative outlet that reinforces your desired identity and moves you closer to your health goals eventually changes who you are and the energy you put out into the world.
As an example, perhaps you enjoy writing but never seem to find time to do it. Prioritizing writing a paragraph a day during your lunch break likely improves your writing. It also boosts your creativity, as this is a flow state activity for you, and slowly shifts your identity to being a writer.
Or, perhaps you identify as an energized, healthy, creative person, and take part in daily activities that reinforce those beliefs. Daily breathwork, a 10am green smoothie, and 5 minutes of drawing over lunch. You actively create the reality that you are an energized, healthy, and creative person. You also consistently get into your flow state activities (breathwork, creative cooking, and drawing). Resulting in more joy, a boost in creativity and an active push back against chronic stress, fatigue, and the risk of burnout.
Your Creativity Prescription:
Choose one Creativity Prescription from the list below. Or come up with one of your own. Block out time each day for this activity for the next 2 weeks. Perhaps from 7-8am, 5 minutes during your lunch break, or for 30 minutes after the kids go to bed. Write this down in your schedule so that it becomes a priority. How does engaging in your flow state activity enhance your life or change how you see yourself? Do you want to keep this activity in your daily routine long term?
- Write one paragraph over lunch.
- 30 min of sketching after the kids are in bed.
- Tinker with the broken bike in the garage.
- Make a new smoothie recipe every day.
- Sing in the shower.
- Play your guitar.
- Dance after dinner.
- Write one haiku a day
Get curious. Be courageous. Take action. Create change.
- Dr. Emily Livengood
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