Resolution with a Purpose - Week 6 - Creativity

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There's never been a culture without art. Never been a culture without poetry. Never been a culture without music. They must be delivering something to us that we really need for our psyches.
-Edward Hirsch

Sleep - check
Presence - check
Activity - check

Let's continue our look at S.P.A.C.E. (Sleep, Presence, Activity, Creativity, and Eating).

This week the focus is Creativity.

Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of artistic expression on immune system improvement and reduction of stress, fatigue, and pain. These studies have been done on many age groups and with different types of illness, from PTSD to cancer. Researchers are still trying to understand the reasons that the arts have such an impact on health and well-being, but emotional expression is clearly an important piece of the puzzle.



Creative activities allow us to express our emotions and become more vital. And not just when we're the ones doing the painting, writing, dancing or singing, but also when we're the ones doing the appreciating.

Researchers have found positive effects on both physical and mental health not only from creating but also from watching a film, going to an art museum or listening to a concert.

Simple Tips for Increasing Your Creativity

  • Spend a few bucks on a sketchbook and some art pencils; then get busy. With even a few minutes of practice a day, you'll be amazed at how fast you improve - not just drawing, but at observing.
  • The blues aren't necessarily a bad thing. Researchers found that keeping the color blue in sight stimulates creativity. Paint a wall. Change your screen saver. Buy a poster. Turn your nails periwinkle. Splash some blue around.
  • Stuck on a problem? Step outside your head for a minute. How might your best friend approach the same problem? A scientist? A poet? A six-year-old? Your dog? A fresh solution--even a hilariously wrong one--might lead to a right one.
  • Learning a new skill can give a big boost to the ones you already have.
  • Mentally frozen? Thaw yourself out with physical movement. Take a walk. Mail a letter. Buy milk. Stretch. Maybe it wasn't the falling apple that inspired Isaac Newton's theory of gravity; maybe it was the stroll to the orchard. Einstein is said to have come up with E=mc^2 while taking a walk.
  • Play: it's not just for kids anymore. Childhood was often our most creative period; then adults took our toys away. Take them back.
  • Clear the clutter. It's easy to spot one little daily annoyance that trips you up. slows you down or blocks your view of the Big Picture. This is also a great way to improve willpower.
  • Remember those goofy collages we made in school? Turns out they're a great way to use images and spatial relationships to unravel grown-up problems. All you need is a stack of old magazines, a cork or poster board, and your imagination. Tip: keep your collage someplace visible so it stays fresh in your mind.
  • Because we use language to write, speak, and think, it can either imprison or free us. Use a dictionary or 'word a day' website to keep expanding your vocabulary--your creativity will expand right along with it.
  • Researchers have long known that smell, more than any other sense, triggers emotion and memory. It can unlock creativity, too. Rosemary, cinnamon, and vanilla scents have been shown to help test subjects concentrate and create. Find out what works for you. Have fun exploring some new smells, herbs, spices or fragrances.
  • Random, cheap creativity boosters: buy two-for-one play tickets; cook with an ingredient you never use; buy a used ukulele; take a beginning yoga class.
  • Adults worry; children create. Spend some time around young people and try to figure out how they do that. If they're yours, do something that they suggest. If they're someone else's, just go with the flow. Pretend you're on a safari of observation and understanding.
  • Creativity's a little like playing right field: long periods of tense waiting, punctuated by bursts of frenzied action. If nothing's come your way for a while, leave the ballpark. Jump into something completely different. You'll come back later, refreshed and ready to snag a whole bunch of fresh ideas coming your way.