"We teach children to color inside the lines, and then expect adults to think outside the box." ~Frank Sonnenberg
Dictionary.com defines creativity as 'the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.'
People sometimes try to figure out what can they do for their brains to increase creativity, to expand imagination. This is a noble pursuit!
But the brain and creativity are part of a feedback loop. While the brain generates creative impulses, creativity sends back messages that also helps our brains.
We wanted to find out more about exactly HOW creativity helps our brains. We contacted a psychotherapist, a holistic practitioner, and an artist/creativity coach to get their perspective on this question.
Here is what we found:
Creativity Through the Eyes of a Psychotherapist
1. Physically. Pain starts in the brain rather than the joints or muscles. When people are engaging in a creative activity or social activity, they experience less pain. It also stimulates those parts of the brain that need stimulating to help us recover from our past.
2. Mentally. Doing something creative takes up that mental space, diverting attention from other stressful things that are often going through our minds.
3. Emotionally. When we do something creative, we see the product of our labors and can feel good about it. This helps us trust ourselves and raises our self-esteem.
4. Spiritually. Engaging in something creative helps us live out our life purpose. It helps us realize the gifts that we have and share them with the world. We become more connected and more purposeful in our life and this helps us mind, body and soul. This changes the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves.
There are so many creative ways to heal your brain physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Try coloring today. Me? I color, garden, write, schedule my family's social activities, keep my house organized, make herbal remedies, and shoot and edit videos.
Creativity Through the Eyes of a Holistic Health Practitioner
“…. To truly “create” anything, you must cause something that is unique and would not naturally evolve or happen by any ordinary process, to come into existence. That is, to make the “all of something” out of the “all of nothing”.
Creativity can occur in many forms from the tangible to the intangible. It is a process of imagining, visualizing, considering possibilities, and then making it manifest”.
(excerpt from Do One Thing: Feel Better / Live Better)
When in a “creative state” our mental focus is honed in, and in many ways similar to meditation, we block out all the stress and chaos around us.
Physiologically, “feel good” neurotransmitters elevate which enhance feelings of pleasure, motivation, drive, energy and also calm and relaxation, like the “alert calm” state common with meditation. For many, being creative is a drug free pain killer.
Creativity activates areas of the brain that may lay dormant during our day to day consciousness, much like using muscles that rarely get used unless exercising.
The improvement in mood from the feel good neurotransmitters, the elevation of self-esteem from accomplishment, and the activation of brain tissue that may not otherwise get utilized are all good reasons to consider creative pursuits whenever possible.
Creativity Through the Eyes of an Artist/Creativity Coach
While your brain is infinitely complex and multi-faceted, there does exist a basic duality in how our brains process information and help us to CREATE our reality, or our life.
This duality can be called left / right brain, masculine /feminine, logical / intuitive, or fear / love (among others). The secret to living and creating the life you love is to develop a new level of self-awareness around why you think the way you think and HOW to think MORE about what you want than what you DON'T want.
Your left, logical, masculine, ego, linear, fear-based brain is physiologically programmed to RESIST all change. It is like your inner admin, filing away all of your experiences up until now and from THAT perspective, projecting into the future potential realities.
Your right, intuitive, feminine, infinite, love-based brain is physiolocially programmed to RECEIVE what's NEW, what's NEXT and to NURTURE that vision into being, with the SUPPORT of the logical, linear left brain.
Creativity stimulates and provides a platform for your right, intuitive, infinite brain that has NO baggage (it is present and is not attached to limiting beliefs, past failures, etc.) and LOVES change, possibility and newness! AND this part of your brain ONLY knows love. It will always interpret what happens around you from the perspective that life is working FOR you, not against you.
The more time you spend aligned with your CREATIVE frequency, the more you will find yourself sending your mental powers towards THAT WHICH YOU WANT, rather than allowing worry, self-doubt, and fear to guide your actions.
Creativity EXPANDS your awareness into the FULLNESS of what your brain has to offer. Feeling down, frustrated, hopeless, worries, anxious? Get out some paint and a canvas (or the back of a pizza box) and just PLAY with color! Finger paint even!
Put the brush in your non-dominant hand and explore which colors make you feel which way?? Divert your attention away from the logical, productive, feasible, practical aspect of life and just BE.
Then, observe your thoughts, how you feel.... You may find yourself remembering that YOU are the ARTIST of your life.
To recap, creativity expands awareness and receptivity to new ideas. It helps boost good feelings and self-esteem, and helps us feel more connected and purposeful. It helps relieve stress, which is the root of a number of health issues. Because of the areas of the brain that are stimulated by creative acts, it even helps improve memory! All of which indicates that creativity is good for our brain health and overall well-being!
Creativity doesn't mean that you have to paint or sculpt, although those are wonderful outlets. You can express creativity by finding a new way to accomplish a task, through writing, or even innovative problem-solving. If you feel that you are lacking that creative gene, never fear! Lots of activities can help stimulate your creativity. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: https://greatist.com/happiness/ways-to-boost-creativity.