Creativity & wellbeing
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll hear me banging on about wellbeing pretty much non-stop. There’s a reason for that – IT’S REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT!! I would argue that it is THE most important thing in our lives, after our basic needs. Sadly, our way of life in the 21st century isn’t at all geared to this way of living. Which is stupid really because looking after our wellbeing is actually the number one way to achieve the things our society does value – productivity, efficiency and growth, to name a few.
Wellbeing comes in many colours – physical, mental, spiritual. Wellness of the body, mind and soul. I specialise in mental and emotional wellbeing but I truly believe that they’re all interlinked. As a dramatherapist I work a lot with the body and have both experienced and witnessed how much emotion and trauma we hold in our bodies which shows up as physical symptoms.
What does the path to mental and emotional wellness look like?
- believing that you are worthy and deserving of wellness
- putting your needs first, knowing that everyone else will benefit
- taking time and making space that is just for you
- removing the obstacles that stop you from being the fullest version of yourself
- letting go of outdated coping mechanisms and developing new ones
- exploring personal boundaries and putting healthy ones in place
- understanding what brings you joy, peace, ease and release, and weaving them into a personal wellbeing practice
- identifying unhealthy behaviour, finding the source and letting go
- exploring your connections with others and improving your ability to have healthy and meaningful relationships
Righto. So why creativity and wellbeing?
Oooooh I’m so glad you asked! Studies are popping up all the time that recognise the impact that creativity has on wellbeing. “Doing creative things today predicts improvements in well-being tomorrow. Full stop.” says Tamlin Conner, a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Creativity promotes a more positive state of mind, makes us more energised, enhances our relationships, encourages flexibility, boosts our mood. And that’s just the beginning….
For centuries humans have used the arts as a tool for healing. Think about the catharsis of storytelling – reading a book, watching a play, a film or a TV show. We empathise with the characters, we feel real feelings and we experience a release. When we ourselves create we can’t help but project our own unconscious feelings and experiences into it because the unconscious just loves to communicate through metaphor and symbol! So we paint, we draw, write, dance, sing, weave, sew – we CREATE. And we find release. We find healing.
“Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing.”
Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way)
Healing and creativity are so intimately entwined. Through creativity we can release the pressure gauge of our lives, connect with ourselves, release what no longer serves and weave new stories that do. I feel pretty darn passionate about this, just in case that’s not coming across! I find it so permission giving because you can’t get it wrong – whatever comes is what is right for you in that moment. Some kind of release or insight or strength can always be gained from it, creating space for openness and transformation, even in the smallest of ways. It is undoubtedly an incredibly cleansing way to live – a little less tangly, with a lot more flow.
Expressing yourself creatively is all about following your instincts and letting go of any preconceptions – freeing whatever wants and needs to come through. Letting go of judgement around how something SHOULD look, letting go of needing to know WHY and just CREATING. Whether you believe you are creative or not, I’m telling you YOU ARE! Maybe not in the eyes of a society, a school system that rewards product above process. But certainly in your heart. And that’s where it matters.
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