Do you wish your life included more creativity, beauty, and bliss?
If I asked you, “Are you a highly creative person?” How would you answer? Most have told themselves the story that they are not creative. Or that creative pursuits are luxuries that don’t fit into an already busy schedule.
As a coach and lifelong student of personal development, I have learned that we humans are very skilled at telling ourselves stories. These stories rob us of enjoying our life. The amazing thing is that most of these stories are not even true. (Although we make them true by believing them.)
We tell our self the story that we lack. We routinely say “I don’t have enough time, money, education, talent, creativity…”
Have you convinced yourself you that you are not creative? Or told yourself that you have too many important things to do to even think about being creative? Have creative activities been replaced by rigid schedules, demands, and to-do lists?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, I pray this article will be a gentle reminder of the gifts God has placed inside of you and a beacon call back to a life of creativity. Your health, happiness and emotional well-being depend on it.
Creativity and Your Health
Did you know there is a direct correlation between the number of creative activities in your life and your physical and emotional health?
- Studies published in the American Journal of Public Health show creative activities such as music, dance, painting, drawing and writing lowered negative emotions, stress and anxiety and reduced depression.
- In another study published in Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, HIV patients who practiced writing as part of their treatment had improved immune function (improvements of CD4+ lymphocyte counts)
- A 2006 George Washington University study of 300 senior citizens found that creative activities, such as art and writing, slow the aging process, resulting in fewer doctor visits and better mental health.
Your Brain on Creativity
- Numerous studies show improved neural function when creative activities are added to our daily routine.
- CNNreported that individuals who participate in craft projects in midlife and older have a 45 percent less chance of developing cognitive issues such as dementia or Alzheimers.
Here is what is fascinating! Creative activities that involve music not only turn on parts of your brain but they turn off certain gene expressions. In the book Music Medicine: The science and Spirit of Healing Yourself with Sound, Christine Stevens shares some powerful research around stress. The genome project of 2000 identified 25,000 functional genes. It was discovered that genes respond to both internal and external conditions that switch on or switch off certain genes. In one study blood was tested for 45 known genomic markers of stress that “turn on” biological responses that are associated with health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In this experiment involving a clinical group exposed to high stress in a recreational music program reversed nineteen of the forty-five markers of stress. This was 3 times more effective than just relaxing.
Happy, Motivated and Productive
Do you struggle to get motivated? Is your to-do list overwhelming? It’s not just your health that benefits when you engage in creative pursuits. Creativity increases your ability to problem solve and overcome obstacles and it sparks an upward spiral of positive feelings.
Companies such as Google have pioneered creating workplace environments that encourage their employee’s creativity. Workplaces across America and Europe are beginning to include pool tables, gaming areas, and exercise equipment. Why? Companies that promote a culture of creativity are more likely to have happy, motivated employees who are more productive.
For Solopreneurs too!
Thinking about the trend in corporations to create workplaces that foster creativity made me wonder.
What could those of us who work at home do to add fun and creativity to our home office?
I began to do some research and found these fun ideas
- Add plants, artwork or colorful furniture that give you joy
- Use natural lighting (studies show it improves health and boosts creativity)
- Allow a place for your favorite pet (my cat perches on top of my file rack)
- Cover your desk with paper or Create a doodle space on a wall
- Keep toys or art supplies handy on your desk
- Hang a small basketball or nerf ball hoop
- Play creativity boosting music or frequencies
- Run an essential oil diffuser with creativity-boosting scents
I amazed myself
Not too long ago, I began to do some acrylic painting. I eased myself in by attending a couple of the “wine and paint” classes offered in my community. I was pleasantly surprised. I actually liked my paintings. The biggest surprise came when I ventured on my own and decided to try to paint my cat. To be honest, I had NO confidence I would be able to pull it off. Here is my rendition of “Miracle” my cat.
Reflecting on this. I began to wonder…
What other undiscovered talents are in me?
Imagine for a moment…
What if you have a best-selling book or screenplay in you? I remember recently reading an article by Elizabeth Gilbert. She had NO idea that her book Eat, Pray, Love would be a sensation that would stay on the bestseller list for over 200 weeks and inspire millions. She was just writing a chronicle of her own transformation while traveling the world.
The key is she was writing because she enjoyed it, not to please people or become a best seller.
Have you been waiting for someone to tell you that you are creative? Or hoping someone will give you permission? In her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Elizabeth Gilbert reminds us that we don’t need others permission to create and that people’s judgments about you (me) are none of your (my) business.
So be free! Give yourself permission to create.
We are his will play out differently for each one of us. Perhaps for you, it is creating fine cuisine or decorating your home. Maybe it is photography or cinematography. Is it time to get out the paints or water colors? Are you desiring to redesign your patio or garden?
A Spiritual Perspective
Recently a verse in the Bible caught my attention
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. – Galations 6:4-5 The Message (emphasis added)
Genesis 1:27 says we are created in the image of God (The Creator). It uses the word created three times. God is a creative God and we are made in His image. We are innately creative and designed to create!
The more I study the lives of great artists, musicians, and writers, the more I see a common theme. They are simply allowing themselves to be channels through which God can create a masterpiece through them.
“The music of this opera [Madame Butterfly] was dictated to me by God; I was merely instrumental in putting it on paper and communicating it to the public.” – Giacomo PUCCINI
“Straightaway the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God.” –JOHANNES BRAHMS
What gives you bliss?
I love the idea expressed in Galatians of doing the creative best I can with my life. A couple years ago after a painful divorce, I asked myself the question
What will give me bliss?
The answer was I desired to learn how to dance. I took action and enrolled in dance classes. Dancing brings me incredible joy! I dance 2-3 days a week. Not only is it great for my mental and physical health but it is so much fun! This is a picture from a dance costume party.
The Bottom Line
So what story have you been telling yourself? What do you desire to do or create?
Lately, I have really been feeling God speak in my spirit. Life is a precious gift. It is short. I wonder how many of us take any time to truly enjoy the gift? We are so concerned about the past and the future we forget to savor the present. We have eyes but we really don’t take all the beauty. We have taste buds but most of the time we wolf down food unconscious of its flavor. We rush through meals without enjoyment. We have the sense of smell but how often do we ever stop and smell the roses? Or create our own essential oil blend? Or burn delicious incense in our home?
In the book of John, Jesus said He came to give us the “abundant life”.
I believe the abundant life includes the satisfaction of expressing and enjoying our God-given gift of creativity.
How about you? What will you create today?
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