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Get Creatively Happy

Hello Dear Readers, and welcome to the sunny month of June. I don't know about you, but despite the sunshine, I've been feeling bored lately and looking for ways to add some good feelings into my days during "the virus." Have you been dealing with boredom, too? Feeling a lack of vitality in all of the monotony of life during this strange and stressful time?

Well, I am here to offer you a bit of sunshine (in the form of these words) while you ride out the storm. 

Creativity is something that comes up a lot when I'm working with clients who are trying to problem-solve and increase life satisfaction. Many of us think about professionals when we hear the word creative, but there are many ways regular folks like us can reap the benefit of creativity in our ordinary lives.

In the world of psychology, there have been forms of art therapy for many years. Still, most recently, it has come to light that when the human brain is engaged in something creative (drawing, dancing, writing, crafting, singing, etc.), there are neurological benefits for anyone, regardless of background or emotional state, or skill level.  

When we are in something psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls Flow (the title of his book, it's fantastic!), we are happy. Now, this doesn't mean that if you write a poem, you'll suddenly be on cloud nine, and that problem that was bugging you will magically disappear. What it does mean is that when we can focus the mind on a creative pursuit and experience a sense of Flow, we will feel lowered stress, increased joy, and a sense of purpose, which are all things that counterbalance stress and upset. 

Today, I'll give you a few ideas from my arsenal of creative capital to help you break out of your boredom and get some of those creative juices flowing!

Car Karaoke: Picture this: You're driving down the highway (with your mask off!) all alone in your car. Your favorite song comes on the radio, and you turn up the volume. Then, before you know what's happened, you're singing along like you're in an arena, and you're smiling by the end…Singing has been credited with mood-lifting properties, and let me tell you, Dear Reader, there is something powerful about belting out a tune when you're feeling a little numb inside. I like to select something according to my mood and just let myself sink into the feeling of the music. If I'm frustrated, I put on something aggressive and add fist pumps and foot stomps to my singing if I feel inspired. Not a car karaoke champion? Could you give it a whirl? If you're worried about people seeing you singing along, leave your mask on and remind yourself that you're not a contestant on The Voice!

Dance it out: Dancing is a great way to feel creative and get a little exercise at the same time. Put on your earbuds and dance in the privacy of your kitchen while you're fixing dinner—dance in front of the mirror for ten minutes before you change into your daily work PJ's. Take a few minutes and create your signature move to pull out when you want to embarrass your teenagers! Dance is a great way to allow yourself to move for no reason other than fun. 

Draw your boredom: For those of you who are gifted visually and can paint and sketch, go outside and do a quick landscape or create something that captures your feeling of boredom. Maybe it looks like a tornado inside your chest, and that purple-blue color fits your mood exactly. Whatever the image, it can be cathartic to envision what's going on inside and put it outside into the world. I am not visually gifted, so I use adult coloring books when I want to work with my hands. Another great way to create something tangible is through crafting. Maybe you love to knit, crochet, sew, or make jewelry. These forms of creation can help you make the beneficial brain changes that psychologists are talking about. 

#creativity #selfcare #stressrelief

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