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 her 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 tool for reducing stress. 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 wellbeing, 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 experiencing “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, invent a new dessert, write a song or travel to Tuscany! It just might mean the difference between stressing out to the max—and getting sick in the process—or living out your days happier and healthier! What have you got to lose, other than your stress?
Author’s content adapted under license, ©2008 Claire Communications
I am retired from 40+ years of helping individuals and teams build lives and organizations they love. One of the great joys of my retirement from professional practice is having greater bandwidth to donate my professional and creative talents to support and promote animal and social welfare charities.
During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world’s largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll.
My recovery from burnout led to finding my purpose guiding others on their journeys. As a board-certified coach, author, consultant, radio host, Reiki Master and EFT/tapping practitioner, I share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world.
111419 DJW Sid CH Pet Corner Photo ShootI help clients achieve rapid, extraordinary, sustainable results by connecting who they are with what they do, a connection often lost through stress and the sheer busy-ness of daily life. Courageous self-awareness and unconditional self-love lead to honest choices based on priorities that nurture you and those around you on a journey to wholeness.
Decades in coaching, consulting, change management, organization development, human resources and mixed media artistic expression honed my business sense, professionalism, creativity, intuition, leadership and communication skills. The result? Practical tools that help you become more insightful, creative, committed, productive and fulfilled.
Even the most dedicated and hard-working individuals can shift from frustration to a sense of futility when their values, passion, work, and lives become disconnected. One of the problems with not taking care of our health is that the effects of ignoring it are often slow to show up. We continue to juggle family responsibilities, work and finances until we lose ourselves, waking up one day 50 pounds heavier in body and soul—no good to ourselves or anyone else.
I love working with people who are ready to take life-changing action to make their dreams a reality. At each moment, you have inside you all the wisdom you seek to choose your life and your way of showing up. Limiting thoughts, beliefs and feelings can block you from moving forward. An absence of love and concern for yourself can result in negative head talk that holds you back with discouraging messages about who you are and what you can do.
By listening and caring deeply, I guide you in connecting with your own inner wisdom. We identify the way you’d like to live. We determine what’s blocking you and release you from the hold those blocks have over you—unleashing the positive energy that will fuel you forward. Together we develop a plan to move you closer to your heart’s desire.
My books, blog, radio show and signature coaching programs help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. What’s love got to do with it? Everything! My book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! (Hay House/ Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework.
For fun, I love reading, sewing, knitting, yin yoga, afternoon tea, opera and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my spouse, Wilson Abney, and the cat who runs our life, Maisy Jane.