Unleash the artist in you: Benefits of being creative

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Aldina Braganza

Do you consider yourself creative? Well if you don’t then you should. You see buried deep within the core of your being, there is an artist hidden. You need to go there and unleash that being, for it is told that creative flow is the closest you can get to a gratified life.

It is that essence in you that needs to be squeezed out so that you live a life with no compromises and closest to the purpose you are meant to be.

Being creative is not about holding an easel and a paint brush nor is it about sculpting or making poetry. It is more than just that. Creativity happens when you look at things from a different perspective.

Being creative implies that you are able to perceive the world in new ways, make connections between things that are seemingly unrelated, find patterns that are hidden and generate solutions to problems that seem unsolvable. Creativity thus involves and includes both ideas and productions.

If the ideas remain in your head then they are just dreams. However, when you work on those ideas they become creative expression.

It’s a combination of many factors – thoughts, insights, inspirations, your ability to perceive without judgment and your experiences, all come together to give you a creative idea. When we are able to swirl these ingredients together and take a risk, we are in the flow of a great creation.

It is through creativity that we innovate and invent. All the things on your table right now, including the table itself was a creative idea that got invented. Somebody dreamed that perspective one day and let it come alive. The mug that holds your coffee and the coffee itself are creative expressions.

Look around you. There will be an expression there that is slipping through your awareness, without you realising, you have been secretly creatively expressing yourself. Search for that artist who is hiding inside of you.

All I am asking is for you to take this secret artist one step further. Try to get to know her or him, without judgment and explore.

Research is telling us some interesting facts about creativity, especially with regards to how the creative brain functions. Neuroscience experiments suggest that when we pursue creative thoughts we are in purpose involving different areas of our brain that work together.

For those of you who may be sceptical about what I am saying, well in a way you are right that we inherit our ability to use our brain in ways that makes us creative, but also you are very wrong because, although you might have inherited that particular ability, you can also be influenced and learn it with similar or better results.  Everybody has the potential to be creative.

Children triumph over adults through the way they interact with their environment. Creativity in children can be harnessed if they are given an opportunity to explore their own ideas, instead of following predetermined patterns and routines. But that does not imply that you cannot tap on your creative ability as an adult. As an adult you too can foster creativity.

Valerie van Mulukom, who has conducted a lot of research in this area, suggests simple techniques of divergent thinking. According to her, you should devote more time doing the things you love. Play, experience and practise a particular art form to boost creativity.

The worst things you can do to minimise creativity is over work. Stress and multitasking keep your mind so occupied that you are unable to think divergently. Another killer of creativity is staying connected, especially on the phone. Your brain doesn’t get the deserved rest that it needs to be creative; neither does it get the training to see things differently. Creativity works best when your mind is not overworking and is in fact a little bored.

Below I have a few pointers as to how you could increase your creative side:

** Spend time with nature. It has a host of benefits but the best one is that it relaxes you. Additionally, your brain gets exposed to a host of stimuli. You begin to experience a sense of vastness and vitality that triggers something within you that wants to explore and create.

** Being mindful: Mindfulness allows you to become more aware of your surroundings. Sipping a cup of coffee or washing your hands can be a mindful practise. When you begin to become aware of the smallest of simulation your brain makes many more connections and this helps you to become sensitive and observe things that you were not aware of before.

** Actually practising your art. If you like to paint, listen to music, write, cook, design and indulge in gardening or tailoring, then just do it. Practise, practise and practise some more. The more you practise, the better you get at being creative. New ideas rush through your mind and before you know it you are in the flow state, making new creations.

This is a good beginning. Enjoy the artist in you.

(Writer is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and the HOD of psychology at Carmel College for Women)