A few weeks ago I found myself going through a bit of a slump.  (Yup, those pesky slumps happen to all of us.) I was exhausted – both physically and mentally. When I got home, my body was begging me to just sit on the couch with my husband and dogs, mindlessly staring at the TV.  This remedy worked somewhat for a few days, but I just couldn’t shake it and my irritation was growing by the day. It was my husband who pointed out that the routine of work-couch-sleep, work-couch-sleep, work-couch-sleep was counterproductive. (Okay, so I was eating, brushing my teeth, and other things in between, but you get the point.)

Though exercise would have done me a world of good, I’m not one to volunteer for self-torture. Instead, my husband suggested that it was time to dust off my craft supplies and get those creative juices flowing. I can honestly say that today, two weeks later, I feel like a new person. Nothing has changed in my life, but I have most certainly changed the way I feel about my life. And I wholeheartedly believe it is because I reconnected with my inner awesome. Here are 5 reasons why you should do the same:

Reason #1:

“To be creative is to be in love with life.” – Osho

Being creative forces you to look at the things around you (albeit beads, glass, paint, furniture, fabric, etc.)  in a new light. Suddenly, your world is filled with possibility. That stuck feeling in the pit of your stomach gets replaced by joy as you rediscover what it is like to be a child again – playing with found objects, expressing yourself (no matter how clumsily), and creating things that you are proud of.  Viewing your world in this way will help you to rediscover how amazing it is. 

Reason #2:

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” – Mary Lou Cook

Anyone who’s ever attempted to color knows that sometimes it is way more fun to color outside of the lines. In a world where you are bound by routine, rules and policies, responsibilities, and other not-so-fun realities, it is liberating to have a space where you are in charge and can do whatever you want. You can experiment, take risks, make not-so-good choices, learn from them, and sometimes even create something pretty amazing. The whole process is liberating. When you stand there proudly looking at your final product, it builds confidence – no matter how misshapen or silly the product might be. Have you ever seen the “I made that!” grin on a child’s face as they hand you their toilet-paper bunny or squiggly drawing of who-knows-what? My point exactly. You get to say, “I made that just the way that I wanted to. And it’s pretty awesome.”

Reason #3:

“The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.” - Stephen Nachmanovitch

Once you liberate your inner child and allow yourself to be creative, you’ll soon find that it spills over into other areas of your life. Though you might only have made a finger painting, you might soon be inspired to cook a new dish, paint your kitchen bright red, or even approach projects at work in new ways. Creativity doesn’t always require the creation of some self-expressive masterpiece. It could simply mean finding new ways of solving problems or tackling tasks – something I think we could all benefit from both at work and at home. Maybe you’ll be inspired to better engage your kids during the summer months, or maybe that bright idea of yours could finally help you get the attention of upper management. So let your creative juices overflow!

Reason #4:

“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.” – Cecil B. DeMille

Not surprisingly, research shows that creativity and art can improve your health.  Michael Friedman explains that art can be a healing force for people with mental disorders and can contribute to the average person’s psychological well-being. Art (and arguably creativity in any form) could help you to connect with and experience your inner world in a unique way. Often times there’s some combination of concern, frustration, anxiety, anger, fear, or depression underlying the slump that you are experiencing, and being creative could help you to deal with such emotions. (Should your emotional rut persist and feel unmanageable, you might want to seek help from a professional Counselor. Some even specialize in art therapy.)

Reason#5:

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” – Albert Einstein

One word: Pinterest. If you haven’t heard this word spoken by just about everyone you know (often followed by a squeel of pure delight), you have been living under a rock. Pinterest is a prime example of how your creativity can inspire those around you. From pinning (sharing) favorite recipes, DIY ideas, creative house cleaning tricks, sewing projects, pictures of future vacation spots, or even just inspirational quotes, you are opening up the world of possibility and creativity. Why not spread a little happiness and well-being?

I hope you feel inspired to start liberating your inner awesome! Make time to allow creativity into your life starting today. Go pick up a pencil, paint brush, camera, needle and thread, or any other material that moves you and just see what happens. Even if you are terrible at drawing or you can’t sew a stitch, remember that creativity is about having fun – not perfection. What to do if you really want to be creative but you don’t know how to get started? This clever infographic by copyblogger might help.

Happy creating, friends!

 

 

Photo credit: Arcobal

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Author

Dr. Vera V. Chapman is a Licensed Professional Counselor currently practicing as a Career Planning Specialist at a large public university in the Southeastern United States where she also teaches. Before the age of 30, she held a Ph.D. in the field of Higher Education Administration, a Masters degree in Counseling, and a triple major Bachelor of Science in Physiology, Genetics, and Psychology. Read more.

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Filed under: Creativity / DIYSelf Development

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