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Creativity is good for you

Updated: Aug 2, 2018

Well-being + creativity are inextricably linked.

In Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory, living a creative life is to reach optimal flourishing.

Humans are creative beings and within each of us there is a creative self-aching to be born.Extensive research reveals positive self-perception, positive judgments of others, performance on mental tasks, creativity, flexibility and originality are present in those with high personal well-being (Robertson & Cooper, 2011). Creativity is multi-dimensional. Creativity is merely manifesting something new, bringing something into being, or the act of self-expression without any filters. It stands to reason there are unlimited ways our creativity can be demonstrated. Designing, acting, writing, internet memetics, drawing, singing, dancing, painting, knitting, cooking, sewing, book making, cocktail making, gardening, screen writing, photography, song writing, music making, painting, comics, clay work, sculpture, origami, flower arranging, street theatre, dress making, film making, working with textiles, spoken word poetry, and that’s not even half the list! Keys to unlocking your creativityThis often starts with just being open and observant.

  • Create space to play

  • Listen to the whispers of your heart

  • Follow your interests and what you love

While at the time it might not feel like it often pressure, tension, stress and friction are the birthplace of creativity. These can be found

  • Loss and grief situations

  • Life’s transitions

  • Accidents, injuries

  • Failures and set backs

  • Conflicts with others

When these happen remember “the creative process is a process of surrender not control”, Julia Cameron. We can’t control these external forces but we can surrender to them. This point of surrender is a key to unlocking our creativity. InspirationYou don’t have to wait for these misfortunes or turning points to unlock your creativity you can seek inspiration in the every day. Some great places to look for inspiration are in:

  • Nature

  • Down time/white space/Being not doing

  • Dreams

  • Other people and their creativity

  • Success stories

Censoring the inner criticAll too often the thing holding back our creativity is just our inner critic telling us we’re “not good enough” or “not talented enough”. Ways to turn off the inner critic are to:

  • Practice mindfulness

  • Acknowledge the critic

  • Embrace the feeling

  • Then move on – one step at a time

Making a practiceOne of the greatest gifts you can give to your creativity is to practice. Remember your grandmother’s saying “practice makes perfect” well now there is research suggesting this really may be the case. To support a creative practice you can:

  • Create a space you love to be in

  • Make a date for yourself to practice – whether it’s every day for a week or once a month

  • Establish a time to just be – do nothing

  • Set a timer and just play for 22 minutes a day

  • Go on a retreat – for a day, a weekend, an hour and see what emerges

“The creative process is like a lover, and you must treat it as such. You must treat it with respect, with regard, with appreciation, with love, with joy, with gratitude, with fear, with all the complexities of a relationship. And if you are able to give of yourself in the ways it requires, it really becomes a relationship” - Cathleen Rountree

Katherine Winlaw is an internationally registered art psychotherapist who works with individuals and teams to promote personal and professional wellbeing and create workplaces where everyone thrives. The mindful art techniques she uses are available to anyone, and do not require artistic skill. Her most popular programs are for boosting staff wellbeing, improving communication and conflict resolution as well as life and career transitions.



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