I have found with many clients, including myself, that if we can give ourselves permission to let our creative juices come out to play, we can actually reduce our stress levels. Yes it is true, letting the kid inside us come out to play and getting creative will often help reduce your stress level. Most people would say they really need to decrease their stress level, but getting creative isn’t the way they thought they would start. I am suggesting you do just that and connect with your creative side.
When was the last time you let your creative side loose? Was it when you were a kid? Has it been months or maybe even years? I find that we are all very busy taking care of all our responsibilities, that we are spending a lot of time with our logical side which is our left brain selves.
You may have heard the term left brain or right brain people before. Typically we are more dominate with one side or the other, but can tap into our logical or creative side when needed. However, for many people connecting to our creative side, our right side selves, is sometimes a little more difficult. Life is so “on the go” that it seems that it is harder to allow ourselves the time and space to connect with our more visual and creative selves.
When was the last time you . . .
- Colored with crayons or colored pencils
- Created a recipe from scratch
- Painted or drew a picture
- Danced to music
- Took pictures of things you love
- Built a sand castle
- Played with blocks
- Made something out of play dough or clay
- Wrote a poem or story
- Redecorated a room
You might think that this list has a lot of things kids would do, but not things you would do. I ask you, why not? I have been in meetings and events with adults where there were cans of play dough on the table and everyone that grabbed a can of play dough was enjoying themselves a little bit more, smiling and contributing to the discussion with a slightly different attitude than they were without the play dough.
I have been fortunate to have a few very creative people in my life that have opened up the doors to painting for my daughters and I. A good friend of mine is a Creative Healing artist and shares the many wonderful techniques of getting creative on her blog; and my sister in-law, who is a well-respected pediatrician, has been sharing her love of painting with many of us in the family and it has taken off. I have actually painted some pictures myself on a canvas, which is something I never thought I would do and the amazing part was that I really enjoyed it.
It seems that kids are ready to go when a paint brush and paints come out, but for adults it takes a little longer to let ourselves go and grab a brush. Why is that? While I often find it difficult to get started, after I get started I have a lot of fun and feel the stress start to release. My logical self always has an idea of what I plan to paint once I finally pick up the paint brush, but my creative self wants it to flow so it always turns out different once I just let the creative juices flow. Here are a few paintings I have done and while they might not be displayed in an art gallery, they are displayed in our house along with all the paintings my daughters have created.
In Columbus, there is a wonderful place called The Sanctuary for the Arts where you can take creativity classes or go there and get creative for a few hours doing your own thing in their open studio. Local community centers often have art classes as well. Getting creative and connecting with your right brain doesn’t have to cost a lot either, you can get a box of crayons and paper for under $5.00 as that works too. Letting yourself get creative can be scary. Some of you might even have butterflies in your stomach just reading this, but I will bet if you go for it, you will feel a little less stressed once you are done.
Tips to get started connecting with your creative side:
- Let judgment go. Don’t judge what you are creating as you never know what the end result will be.
- Trust. Trust that whatever you are creating has been waiting to come out for awhile.
- Give permission. Give permission to yourself to let go and get creative.
- Don’t try to be perfect. You don’t have to create a master piece to get creative and release some stress. Let perfectionism go.
- Breathe. Often you will feel anxiety getting started. Remember to breathe and move through the anxiety. Remember you probably did this when you were a kid with no problem.
- Smile. Have fun and enjoy the process.
- Be. Be present and enjoy as you release stress you may not of even realized was there.
Don’t let your logical side rule and take over all the time. Let yourself get some creativity flowing through your veins and watch how the stress melts away. Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable to reach being comfortable with something new. Let yourself move through the anxiety and tell your logical self it is okay to let the artist within emerge.