How to Combat Stress and Boost Your Creativity...Even Now, When Both Seem Hard.
COVID has rocked just about every system across the globe, and we increasingly find ourselves having to adapt and find new, creative solutions to address complex problems and events as they unfold.
Stress, however, impedes creativity, as does sadness. Both are being reported at high levels across the board since February of this year, for reasons most of us are quite familiar with.
While creative thinking is increasingly important (and also good for us) there are relatively few resources available to help adults develop and maintain broad creative thinking skills.
This is a big part of why we’re here…because it doesn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t be. This gap is especially startling given that creativity can be learned and developed. (No! It’s not an innate skill!)
One way to flex your creative muscle is to engage with the arts. (Yes! This is true whether you identify as an artist or not!)
Making art has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress, and that alone can free up the mind for increased creative capacity. Layer this in with an art process that provides an appropriate level of challenge, novelty, and interest with an open ended approach, and creativity begins to flourish.
This doesn’t mean you have to make something beautiful to help your mental wellness and help develop your creativity. If you tend to put pressure on yourself, work with materials that lend a little lighthearted fun. For example: create a mosaic with assorted dried beans and then sweep it away, use nail polish to paint a rock, scribble on paper without looking and then transform it into a loopy drawing. You get the idea.
The point is less about making something beautiful or replicating exactly, and more about finding your own way and making decisions as you go. That novelty is what makes the experience wholly creative, and that’s when the good stuff happens.
Whatever amount of time feels doable for you, start there. This is not the time to add stress. What ways do you like to get creative?