Friday, November 18, 2016

Relieve Stress Through Creativity

Busy? Stressed? Too many things happening? Not everything under your control? You are not alone!

Jessica is a high school English teacher. Her job entails stressful interactions with administration and students in addition to the pressures of lesson planning and grading.

On days off, she prioritizes creative pursuits. She makes collages out of artifacts from world travels to Turkey and South America. She takes dance classes. Photography provides another way to untangle her mind from the pressures of daily teaching work.

Jessica says that creativity gives her a chance to play—to do something where the stakes are low and there’s no judgment. “Without these creative outlets I would be a lot less fun in the classroom and less open to the whimsical creativity of my students,” she says. “I’d definitely be more stressed out and wouldn’t enjoy teaching so much.”

As Jessica’s story shows, in a fast-paced world, creativity can be a fantastic stress relief tool. Whether we make collages, plant a garden, toss paint onto a canvas, or play the guitar—stress tends to go out the window when we let our creativity run wild.

Why Incorporate Creativity into our Daily Lives?
According to Ruth Richards, author of Everyday Creativity, creativity is necessary and attainable for everyone. It is “one of the most powerful capacities we have, bringing us alive in each moment, affecting our health and well-being, offering richness and alternatives in what we do, and helping us move further in our creative and personal development.”

Exploring, experimenting, playing and entering the unknown—through anything from travel to taking an improv class to cooking—are all ways to practice creativity. You can also incorporate creativity into the workplace, finding ways to add spark and delight to otherwise mundane activities. For example, give yourself time to daydream at work, if possible. Experiment with new ideas and ask questions. One newspaper editor encourages his staff to indulge their creative side through humor, listening to music and brainstorming sessions because it leads to better work, an assertion seconded by many business experts.

The Importance of “Flow”
Creativity also leads to “flow,” which studies show is beneficial, says Elissa Bowes-Arbeitman, an art therapy consultant. “Flow refers to a state of being completely engaged in something to the point of being in a near meditative state, leaving you much less stressed when you are done. You can experience this feeling when you are doing creative activities like writing and gardening. You can also experience this feeling from engaging in the creative art-making process,” she says.

So go out and invent a new dessert, write a song, or dance a dance! It just might mean the difference between stressing out to the max (and getting sick in the process) or living out your days both happier and healthier!

Life has been very busy and I did not find time to write.  But I enjoyed doing something new like teaching a "Care and Counseling" course at a seminary.

Amazingly, I was also able to make time to attend two retreats with two separate groups of like-minded people.  When I walked around the beautiful conference grounds, I couldn't help but praise the Lord for His creation.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). "Let them (and all that is in them) praise the name of the Lord, for at His command they were created" (Psalm 148:5).

Our God is a God of Creation and He is never bored. Praise Him for the creativity in each of us!

Author's content used under license, © Claire Communications

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