Creativities Intrinsic Relationship to Wellbeing
Defining creative process as a pathway to feeling your ‘best self’
How do we define wellbeing? This is where our journey begins. According to the Gray’s Learning’s Wellbeing Model, we see that when we are at our ‘best self’ we are at our most content, healthiest and happiest. Everything tessellates, brings us joy and we experience a natural euphoria directed at the world around us. This can be dictated by circumstance and we may find ourselves feeling happy and joyful for the simple things in life. For example we may feel elated because our barista spelt our name right on our coffee cup, other days it could be managing to catch the train on time, arriving early to work, keeping on top of household tasks and chores. We’re told not to sweat the small stuff, but it’s the small stuff that accumulates to senses of ease and coherence. So why is identifying this important? It’s important because it recognises that experience affects wellbeing – which means that we can begin to look at what effects experience.
Experience is nuanced, subjective and is a catalyst for how we are going to feel about our next encounter. Will it be a glass half full? Will it be a glass half empty? Recognising that individuals have personal reactions is key to understanding experience, human centricity and qualitative research. Every person is different, to an extent, however – research is suggesting that there is a link that applies to us all when discussing how creativity positively affects wellbeing.
When I say “creativity”, more often than not what springs to mind is artworks, music, crafting and other such traditional outputs. But, creativity lurks within us all. From how we organise our lives, how we dress, how we apply makeup to how we solve problems. Creativity is a vast subject area, and when people identify as “not being creative”, I find myself thinking about all the ways in which they demonstrate creativity of which they are not aware. When faced with adversity or tricky situations, we have to think creatively in order to make something better, because the rules we’ve been abiding by have failed us. Creativity is an opportunity for us to think in a different way, because when we are given permission to think without boundaries, our minds open up to more possibilities than we could have imagined.
Creativity is problem solving, but it is also without a doubt steeped in beauty, whimsy and wonder. Experiencing creative moments in a traditional sense can increase your sense of wellbeing because it allows your brain to imagine better things, new things and ultimately forces you to engage in how you feel. When we engage with how we feel, we begin to examine and investigate why we feel this way, which is the first step to being able to understand how we can make ourselves feel better. When we look at artworks and listen to music, we apply our own personal narrative to what we’re experiencing. We take ourselves on a journey of empathy. Even if we do not want to feel sad, when we experience sadness it helps us understand the root cause of our own turmoil.
From cooking a delicious meal, to creating a piece of artwork all the way through to organising your home, being creative helps you express your inner workings in a mindful and meditative manner. How is it so powerful? Because it is tangible. You begin a process and you have something to enjoy at the end of it, something that wraps up your entire experience into one neatly packaged object that will continue to act as a gentle reminder of the process and journey you took long after you began it.
Identifying your own creative processes, reasonings and expressions will help you validate and realize the pathway back to becoming your best self. There is no failure, no right and wrong when it comes to being creative, there is no pressure. This is because the entire process of creativity relies of trial and error and the outcomes are entirely subjective. This is important because it allows you to examine and understand your personal expectations and objectives. Once you are aware of what these are you’ll be in a position to ask yourself if these are realistic or unrealistic and you can adjust accordingly. Practicing this process allows for you to apply it to other situations that induce stress, meaning that you are able to prioritise based on your wellbeing expectations. This ultimately means that you can operate and manage stressors in a better way because you are consistently putting yourself as the priority – something we could all do a little more of.
Encourage yourself to find your own creativity and encourage yourself to praise what you have created. Make time, make space and allow for joy in your life and reap your wellbeing rewards tenfold.
Originally written for Gray’s Wellbeing April of 2019 – See Original Post Here