If you’re experiencing discontent, unhappiness, tension and anxiety (who isn’t these days?), exercising your creativity is a perfect outlet for uncomfortable emotions. When you engage creatively, you embark on a pure journey of “self.” As in self-exploration, self-expression and self-discovery.
Along the way, you might be surprised by how the creative process helps relieve stress and tension. When you become engrossed in a project, nagging worries and negative thoughts often fall away. If you’re really engrossed, the passing of time seems to disappear. The creative process has been known not only to ease stress, but also to help reduce pain and improve mental and emotional health. Creativity is healing.
Even if you don’t normally think of yourself as a creative person, a little push in the right direction can help you make use of your innate inventiveness. Getting creative doesn’t mean making a masterpiece or a beautiful work of art. What matters most is the creative process itself. It’s okay if the end result is miles from a Mona Lisa or a long way from a Shakespearean sonnet. If it’s meaningful to you, then it’s a success!
On that note
Blues music is a perfect example of how something sad can be transformed by a creative act. There’s a lot of heartbreak in the blues, but there’s also rhythm and humor and there are stories we can all relate to. Blues players can learn the style and sing the songs, but the greatest of them play the blues best because they’ve experienced them first hand and have learned to process their pain creatively.
So the next time you get the blues or when discontent and restlessness set in, transform these feelings into something positive by flexing a little artistic muscle. Your discontent can be the catalyst for creative healing! Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Write it down
Keep a journal or notebook and write out whatever is bothering you. If you’re having trouble getting started, try making three lists – nouns, verbs and adjectives – associated with what’s going on in your life now. Next, make another three lists associated with how you want to feel or what you’d like to be doing. After you’ve made your lists of words, you can experiment. String together the nouns, verbs and adjectives from your lists into sentences. You might end up with a poem or the beginning of a story, or lyrics to a song.
You can use any medium to make a self-portrait – drawing, painting, sculpting, photography or crafting – but collage might be the best option because you don’t have to create the words and images yourself, you just have to choose and put them together. In this self-portrait project, you can create a collage for your current self (how you are now) your past self (how you were) and future self (how you’d like to be).
Gathering words, images, artifacts and other objects can be a therapeutic process. Start with three shoe boxes labeled past, present and future, and place your collage pieces in them until you think you have enough to start putting together your portraits. This project can help you see yourself in a new way. When you’re done, you’ll have a visual representation to help inspire you on your path.
Learning something new wakes up the brain and feeds your creativity. When you’re feeling the weight of inertia and discontent, learning something new can shift your focus and refresh your perspective. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you’re doing at first – the point is to begin the process of discovery. Pick up a guitar, play around with the harmonica, pop in the power yoga for beginners DVD and see where it takes you.
If you’re already skilled in a creative medium, such as music, drawing, painting or writing, you can shake things up by trying a new technique or changing your surroundings. Write in a café instead of at home. Take a sketchbook to the bowling alley. Or set up your easel at the farmer’s market.
Children are exceptionally creative by nature. No matter how old you are, there is a still a kid in you. Why not indulge that person? Buy yourself some art supplies – colored paper and ink pens, Elmer’s glue, a sketchbook and pencils, maybe even a set of watercolors – and get to work! Don’t know where to start? Draw a picture of your tension, anger or unhappiness. Then bust out the pens or paints and start coloring. You’ll be amazed at the release you can get from your self-expression.
Do a blog
If you like to write or have a particular interest (cooking, sports, fitness, etc.) or just want to rant, you could start or simply join a blog (short for web log). It’s easy. There are many sites (blogger.com, wordpress.org, typepad.com, livejournal.com) that offer free blogs and require little technical skill to get started. Or go to CaliforniaPsychics.com and click on the blog to join our own community. All you have to do is sign up online and start blogging! You can make your own blog about anything you want. But keep in mind, blogs are public, so think before you publish. But don’t forget to have fun, too!
When you channel discontent creatively, you not only get the better of it, you get the best out of it. It can be fuel for your creative fire, sparking new insights and lighting up your life!
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