The Positive Benefits of Creativity
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
What is creativity?
Creativity; the use of imagination or original ideas to create something
You have a box of pens in front of you, think of five things you could do with them? (Absolutely anything that comes to mind, without judging or censoring yourself. Use your imagination, be silly, have fun with it)
There we go; you are creative!
When you were a child can you remember creating finger and hand paintings, sticking and gluing, making marks with pencils and crayons? Typically, when we were children we were encouraged to be creative.
For children being creative provides opportunities for trying out new ideas, and new ways of thinking and problem-solving. Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate children's uniqueness and diversity. It encourages them to express themselves openly and without judgment.
No matter how old we are creativity is a form of self-expression of feelings and experiences.
I believe that for a lot of us, as we grow older; censor our creativity as we begin to conform to social referencing, often as a means of fitting in and surviving.
Some of us become scared to freely express ourselves due to not wanting others to judge us, which then leads on to judging ourselves and making decisions based on what we think someone else would approve of. I suppose at this point, a lot of us quash our creativeness.
Everybody is Creative
“You’re a Lot More Creative than You Think,” says fine artist John Paul Caponigro. “The human being is a creative species.” We’re born creative. But we’re not alike in our creativity. We use it in different ways and in different degrees.
The Benefits of Creativity
Freedom: There is no right or wrong way to be creative. When we create, it gives us the opportunity to engage with the world without judging ourselves. To return to the feeling of freedom we may have experienced during childhood. Where we did not have to know or be an expert. It gives us permission to take risks, try new things, and strip away inhibitions in a healthy way.
Self-awareness and Expression: Creativity is the route to authenticity. As we create we begin to access our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. When we take the time and energy to develop our own ideas, we learn to understand, trust and respect our inner self, in turn enabling us to better express ourselves. You may be surprised at the resources, thoughts and impulses that you discover there.
Faith and confidence in our instincts: When we create, we may start to value our work, even if it is not published, displayed or presented to the public. We can learn to trust our instincts and gain confidence from expressing them. This confidence carries over into decisions we make in other areas of life.
Stress Relief: Being creative is meditative. Taking the time to use our hands, minds, and energy doing something we enjoy and that makes us happy is of highest importance in life. Creativity is fun, and doing anything that brings joy reduces our stress levels and improves our quality of life.
Problem solving: There isn't a manual to being an artist, and there isn't a manual for being alive. Obstacles and challenges throughout life are inevitable. However, when we make creativity a habit, we continue to learn new, resourceful ways of solving problems in our artwork, and in life.
What do you gain from being creative? Share your own creative boons here.
How to Boost Your Creativity
As with any of the personal strengths, you can boost creativity simply by paying more attention to it and intending to incorporate more of it into your life.
Tap into your child-self and look for ways to be more playful, to make your tasks more fun.
Try changing a habitual pattern. Take a different route to work, for example, and notice what you see; urban meditation.
Spend time outside. Being in natural settings taps into all five senses, energizes the body, and, most importantly, stimulates the imagination.
Renew an old hobby. Dig out your old guitar or your scrap booking supplies.
Start a new hobby. Keep a journal. Record your dreams. Try your hand at writing stories or poems.
Buy some art supplies and play.
Expose yourself to more arts. Visit galleries and museums; go to concerts and the theatre.
Free-associate. Try this game: Open the dictionary to a random word and write down everything it makes you think of.
Write freely. Take 10 minutes to jot down anything and everything that comes to mind without judgment, a technique called ‘free-writing’ or ‘free association’. Then go back over the notes and see which ideas are worth keeping.
Read biographies of musicians, dancers, artists, scientists, business leaders.
Listen to music; listening to music stimulates the part of our brain that controls motor actions, emotions, and creativity.
Exercise the eyes. Moving the eyes back and forth facilitates interaction between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which may boost creative thinking
Don’t expect perfection. Putting pressure on ourselves to produce something outstanding can actually make it harder to create anything at all. A lot of people sort of secretly feel, ‘I’m not creative,’ but everyone is creative to a certain degree.
Create a treasure chest. Collect a bunch of inspiring items (photos, quotations, etc.)
Take random photos.
Being creative gives us opportunities to try out new ideas, and new ways of thinking and problem-solving.
Creative activities help us acknowledge and celebrate our own uniqueness and diversity.
Creativity encourages self-expression, a way to create something from personal feelings and experiences.
Reconnect with your ‘child like’ state.
Give yourself permission to be creative.
Dare to fail. Creativity has no rules.
However you choose to nurture it, embark on a creative quest, be free, and be silly, without judgment. Decide to reap some of the positive benefits of creativity beginning today. You’ll be healthier, happier and enriched.