I am inspired to post a blog about creativity today, as a young artist, Greta, has been creating some photos with quotes for my facebook page (check out her facebook page Greta Alice and her Etsy store). I love tapping into my creativity – at work with problem-solving, in my writing and for leisure and enjoyment. In fact, I wrote about creativity in Intuition Unlock the Power, and this blog will be based on what I wrote.
“In the 1970s I trained in Occupational Therapy (OT). OT developed out of the world wars and the need to offer rehabilitation to the returnedsoldiers. Originally it involved the use of many and varied activities, such as crafts, workshop-based activities or expressive techniques such as art. The activities were used with therapeutic intent, matching theindividual’s particular needs. I remember several clients in particular whose lives were turned around by the therapeutic relationship and meaningful activity. When working at a major city hospital, I was asked to see an elderly man from central Australia who had had a heart attack. As I spoke with him, I discovered that he was descended from Afghan camel traders and, as a young boy, he had learnt to create leather whipsand saddles for the camels. Now he was elderly and feeling depressed after a heart attack. What would help him to recover?
At the same time I was asked to see two young men in the hospital’s burns unit, both of whom had burns to their arms. I chose to get the three men together, and I asked the elderly man to help by teaching the young men some leather work — this activity would assist function to return to their upper limbs. The elderly man obliged over several weeks, and the change in both him and the young men was remarkable. He was doing something of value, while also tapping into his childhood play and creative skills again. The depression lifted and he returned home, often visiting me when he returned to the city. I later said to the two young men that table tennis would be a good activity to further improve their upper limb function. They arrived in the OT department one day to find a large piece of timber and paint. What I hadn’t said was that we’d need to build the table first! Humour is an important ingredient in creativity.”
One of the main barriers to tapping into our creativity is our conscious mind, which often says, ‘I can’t draw’, ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘It has to be perfect.’ It was Picasso who said, ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.’ Being aware of our self-critical voice is important, and either challenging the thoughts (‘I don’t have to be an expert or draw perfectly, and I can create some time — this is important’) or (from the ACT model of therapy) saying, ‘Thank you, brain, for this thought. I am having a thought that …’ and letting it pass through the mind, can help. Remember that you are unique and have inherent creativity. I wonder what is your creative self like? Visual, imaginative, artistic, ingenious, original …
Strategies that can assist you to tap into your creativity include:
• Spending quiet time alone or doing quiet activities. Consider doing this routinely.
• Letting go of the need to be right or perfect. Instead, just have fun and go for it!
• Going for a walk in nature and experiencing the world in a new creative way. Notice everything that delights you and bring back something from nature; for example, a flower or piece of bark.
• Making a ‘creativity’ box. Decorate a box however you like and store in it things that arouse your creativity; for example, photos, clippings and pictures from magazines, mementos or quotes.
• Doing one thing at a time (being mindful). If you are being creative, then be in the moment.
• Listening to music.
• Doing some strenuous exercise or having a good laugh.
• Try journalling creatively.
• Meditating. Given that doing things at a relaxing pace is conducive to creativity.
The following list might generate some additional ideas for creative activities.
• Gardening or landscaping
• Writing (journal, letters, short stories, poems, books …)
• Arts and crafts (sewing, felting, drawing, painting, mosaic, card-making, scrapbooking)
• Playing with your children or those of friends
• Rearranging furniture, home decorating
• Cooking, cake decorating
• Flower arranging
• Doing puzzles
• Telling stories
• Visiting markets and bric-a-brac shops
• Playing a musical instrument or singing
• Meditation and visual imagery
• Walking a labyrinth
Feel free to add your ideas to this list. Tap into your creativity today and enjoy all of the benefits!
Note – if you find you still struggle to believe you can be creative, check out the new e-book on SELF-BELIEF in the shop as it will help you find that sense of belief in your own abilities.
Howell, C. (2013). Intuition Unlock the Power. Exisle, NSW.