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Utilising creativity to help your well-being by Dawn Lindson

Updated: Jul 8


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Creativity is a form of self-care, with many positive benefits for our well-being, helping us to live a healthier and a longer life. Human beings have needed to have the drive to create, innovate and explore for basic survival and being able to adapt to new things, develop ourselves and thrive.



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For optimum wellbeing, we all need to find a method of self care that we enjoy, bringing us increased energy and happiness. If we are able to have a creative interest that challenges us and brings us more fulfilment in life, then we feel more motivated to include it in our every day routine. Whether your creative outlet is drawing, singing, sewing, music, dancing, writing, baking or gardening, it is a positive way to channel your thoughts and energy. It provides a sense of achievement and pride, which are the building blocks for your self-esteem and confidence, this can then boost our resilience levels.





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Being in the moment whilst being creative leads to better problem solving, reducedstress levels, stops rumination, increases self acceptance and is the gateway to flow. We know we are in a state of flow when we are fully focused and absorbed in a creative task, we become distracted from ourselves, others, what is happening around us and loose awareness of time. Our attention is only on what we are creating, and making sure we achieve something positive, beautiful and meaningful. We don’t havespace for worrying thoughts and so happens to be a great way to escape the not so good things that may be happening in our everydaylives.


Having your own creative interest helps developa positive self identity. Those who have suffered from anxiety, depression and trauma have found creative expression healing. Activities such as writing,painting or drawing can enable people to express or manage theiremotions in a positive and productive way. This can include helpingpeople to express their goals, or experiences that may be too difficult toput into words, having a beneficial impact on their mental health. Writing about an emotional topic lowers cortisol levels and helps to reduce negative thoughts and emotions. It can also give a different perspective on an issue. Drawing, painting or sculpting are especially helpful ways to use imagery for people to process and express traumatic events in situations where it is difficult to communicate them verbally. Drawing and doodling helps us to achieve that moment of flow, which boosts our mood and slows our heart rate down. Music calms neural activity, which helps to decrease anxiety and restore emotional balance. Whereas movement-based creative expression can help you to de-stress.


Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

When we have successfully created something, our brain releases dopamine, this natural antidepressant can improve our mood and also helps to motivate us. Our brain changes throughout life, even as adults our brain has the ability to change and adapt. When we have new experiences and learn intentionally, we generate new brain cells and lay down new neural connections and even increase the volume of specific areas. People who play musical instruments have improved connectivity pathwaysbetween the right and left of their brain. Music is also an effective form of therapy for dementia, helping to reduce agitation. It helps with concentration and being focused. Other types of creative activities including crafting, painting or has also helped to reduce the risk of cognitive decline in middle aged and the elderly. Creative activities have a calming effect on the brain and body.


The founder of “Art of Mindfulness,” Wendy Ann, has defined the 7 coreattitudes of Creative Mindfulness as Patience, Kindness, Curiosity, Persistence, Allowing, Trust and Playfulness.


www.artofmindfulness.org.uk/blog/the-7-core-attitudes-of-creativemindfulness


She has worked with Art and culture organisations all over the UK. As an arts and creative writing teacher in schools, colleges, adult education centres and art galleries, she has supported hundreds of adults, children and families with enjoying and developing their own creativity. Her philosophy as she states is this “Simply put, I believe that we all have an extraordinary – possibly even limitless – natural potential as human beings for compassion, creativity, joy, wisdom and peace. I believe that creativity and mindfulness are two ways, through which we can begin to realise this potential for inner freedom and wellbeing. I’m enthusiastically committed to this in my own life, and to supporting you to find it in yours.” She has a a FREE Stop Look Breathe Create Mindful Art Course called “3 Step” available for anyone to sign up here at


www.artofmindfulness.org.uk/stop-look-breathe-create-3- challenge-free-mindful-art-course



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One particular interesting point thatWendy Ann has said, is that for her being mindful has taught her more about being creative, and being creative has taught her more aboutbeing mindful. Even though her own creative pursuits go in cycles,whether it happens to be writing, photography, drawing or mixed media,her mindfulness is always the one state of being that remains constantthroughout. She has also said that her inner-voices do not stop her frommoving forward, they lead her towards having more insight into how hermind works and having more self- compassion.



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We all have a creative outlet waiting to be discovered, don’t be afraid totry out new activities whilst being curious of the outcome. When we feelcurious we are present, alert and engaged. Maybe there is a new activityyou would like to try or start doing again? Try to think about how they will add value to your life and make you feel happy. Sometimes we just need to change the Creative activities we pursue to develop our growthmindset. Enjoying the process matters more than the end result. We won’talways get things perfect every time, mistakes are how we learn to challenge ourselves and problem solve. Through this learning we are able to fulfil our true potential. What is it you like about the things you’re naturally drawn towards? Can you identify a particular strength where you could flourish?


If you are feeling out of touch with your creative side, then thinking about the things that inspire you or the activities or passions that you most enjoyed as a child, can help to give you direction. When deciding upon a new creative venture, also try to consider what it is that you need right now, how it will benefit you and what you want in your life. Keeping a journal to note down or draw things that inspire your creativity will help you remember your ideas. It’s also a good idea to find your own little, quiet space in your home where you can get to work on your projects.


Photo of Abstract A Level Art by Sophia Lindson

Perhaps you have already decided on how you want to channel yourcreativity, but struggle to find the time and to keep it going. The WEA

(adult learning within reach)

www.wea.org.uk/find-course

have a selection of creative courses that can be done online via Zoom.Courses usually run for four to twelve weeks, with each session lasting no more than two hours. Having direction from a tutor not only helps to improve your skills but share your interest with other like minded people whilst providing the opportunity to make new connections. Scheduling a time slot for your creative tasks into your calendar is also helpful, if you make them a priority in your schedule you are more likely to do them.Don’t try to do too many projects at once though because this will just cause feelings of stress and failure. It’s more helpful to schedule in different tasks to focus on for each month. You don’t have to take too long doing them either, even if you only spend five minutes doodling, doing this each day can have positive effects on your wellbeing.


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It is those little creative daily tasks that help us feel motivated to keep upwith the mundane everyday chores. Getting absorbed in just one hobby or passion regularly helps our brain stay healthy and helps to find our unique sense of purposes.



Thank you for reading this. Please feel free to write any comments or feedback to me below or via our Art Culture Tourism links.


Dawn Lindson

https://www.facebook.com/InnerGrace

artculturetourism@gmail.com

hello@artculturetourism.co.uk

https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/artculturetourism/