As children we are encouraged to take the time to be creative. We paint, draw, use play dough, build Lego and genuinely let loose with no other ambition than to push the extent of our imaginations. Yet, when we begin school and our progress is openly tracked and compared to other children, we turn our focus toward the results of our creativity rather than the joy of the process.
Neglecting that joyful exploration and trading it for continuously evolving expectations often encourages our inner critic and a fear of failure. While grades and test scores are necessary ways to keep track of overall progress, studies have proven that focusing on the result alone extinguishes the possible benefits of the creative journey. Moreover, countless researchers have found that people who regularly immerse themselves in a creative process enjoy wonderfully positive benefits to their emotional and mental health. So, what can creativity add to your life?
5 reasons to be more creative
1. Do it for the me-time. Adding a creative activity to your schedule motivates you to make sure you set aside time to relax and indulge in something that is just for you. .
2. Plant yourself firmly in the present moment. Life can get chaotic and overwhelming, it’s good to be able to immerse yourself in an activity that will ground you and focus your mind..
3. The more often you are creative, the easier it is to evoke your creativity in different ways. If you are regularly playing around with different subjects and tools, you’ll be able to improve your skills and see new pathways for your creativity.
4. Learn more about yourself and others. Creativity allows you to express yourself, so you will find that the techniques you choose to pursue and the subjects that inspire you can allow you to understand the forces that drive the choices you make. Creativity encourages openness and gives you rare insights into other people’s thinking process. It’s a great way to connect.
7. It’s fun! You don’t need to be an expert or have a massive budget to exercise that creative muscle. You could draw stick figure comics about your day or sculpt flowers out of plasticine. Creativity can be expressed through cooking, make up, painting, scrapbooking, colouring, drawing, writing, music, photography, flower arranging, crocheting, sewing or any combination thereof, the possibilities are endless! Plus, the more you enjoy being creative the easier it is to incorporate into your regular thinking.
Turning creativity into a habit
The best way to keep those creative juices flowing, is to make creativity an unconscious habit. Here’s a few ways you can start living more creatively:
- Always remember it’s about the process not the result. Free yourself from your own judgement, expectations and fear of failure by keeping your focus on the creative process rather than the quality of your work.
- If you want a creative activity to become a regular part of your routine, be realistic about the amount of time you put aside and try to maintain a consistent schedule.
- Start or join a group that wants to get together and be creative on a regular basis. It’s a lot easier to feel motivated when being creative also means a glass of wine or a cup of tea with the girls.
- Incorporate small bouts of creativity into your day to day life. Try to find shapes in the clouds or come up with the backstories of passers by while you’re eating your lunch. Fun little trick and games will keep your imagination on its toes and ready for action.
- Make it a family activity. Make Friday night craft night, help with those art projects, turn all those old photos into scrapbooks or have everyone write down an interesting thing that happened to them that week.
- Use other creative people to inspire and motivate you. Visit Maker’s Markets, follow creators on social media or sign up to an e-newsletter to keep creativity on your mind.
- When faced with a problem or puzzle, don’t go for the first solution. Take a moment to consider other ways of solving your issue, even if they are wacky or unrealistic. This will encourage you to use your creativity to think outside the box and be more resourceful.
- Set a goal that isn’t based on the quality of your creativity but the amount of time you spend being creative. Have a little checklist for five times you were creative this week or a 60 minute goal for time you spent unleashing your creativity.
If you take the time to develop creativity into a habit, you’ll soon find yourself easily absorbed in the moment and less concerned about your inner critic. You may find possibilities you never would have considered when you were stuck in the box of your old thinking.
Keep it interesting, long-term
As you progress, take the chance every few months to look back and reflect on how your approach has changed. Are ideas coming more easily? Are you producing a higher quality or quantity of work? Do you find you’re judging yourself less or that you feel more empowered now that you know how to squash that inner critic? Are you more resourceful, grounded and adaptable in other areas of your life?
Use positive changes in your creative process for motivation and negative changes for inspiration. While you’re looking for aspects to include in your creative process, you may just find a deeper appreciation for the beauty in life.
In love and light,