Written by Samantha Wall, LCSW
Edited by Joe DeNoon
When reading The Creative Cure by Jacob Nordby, it made me think about how creativity and being creative are essential parts of my life. Nordby defines creativity as “the process by which imagination becomes reality,” and persuasively advocates for its healing potential. In therapy, I often come up with creative ways to support and help my clients out of whatever they are struggling with, and the more I work as a therapist, the more creative I have become with my interventions. I prompt my clients to engage in their imagination with me, and many times, it is in these interventions that I see the most progress. As Francine discussed in her blog, “Cure to Creative”, creativity benefits our everyday lives in meaningful ways, by minimizing anxiety, promoting self-esteem, and increasing our connections with others. Yet, there are also enemies to creativity as well that can hinder these benefits; these enemies include how we are socialized and traumatic experiences.
It’s no secret that we are socialized to decrease our creativity as we get older. When we are little, our imaginations are more encouraged and praised, while when we are a teen, imaginations can be shamed or redirected. Hearing words like “that is for kids” or even better “that’s not cool” can completely put out our creative abilities. In addition, as a society, we also make creativity less fun as we get older. In our classes, our creativity gets a grade and grading creativity can be subjective, biased, and lead to bad feelings! Awkwardness arises when we try to connect with our creative side when it has been something we have been socialized to push down or given a grade for performing. This is where it can be fun to put on a ‘kid’ brain and see what you want to do. Connecting with our younger self can be difficult, but we can start by thinking about what you liked to do when you were a kid, and then do that activity. When I was young, I loved to color and draw, so this is something I enjoy in my free time! I also don’t always love the difficult adult coloring books, so I have a variety of coloring books that I can choose from, some easier and some harder. Some of you may have liked to play outside, dance or perform, sing or play music, read, write, or otherwise engage with stories. Here are so many things we can do to connect with our creativity and our younger selves!
Traumatic experiences also affect our ability to connect with our creative side. Traumatic experiences, as well as symptoms of anxiety, negative self-talk, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, and feelings of not being valuable can all have a negative effect on our connection to creativity. When we are under stress, our brain isn’t wired to be creative, it is wired to survive. Creativity can not only help us have a break from these symptoms, it can also help us heal from these stressors. We just have to try our best to connect to that creative spirit. To begin our journey to creativity, we can connect with what brings us joy. Whether that is cooking a meal, reading a book, or even having a slow morning, connecting to joy will help connect us to our creative self.
In many aspects of our life, we can integrate creativity. We can bring creativity into our everyday lives at our job, in our relationships, and in our downtime. Everyone is creative, and it does not just mean being artistic. What is one creative activity you can do this week?
Cure to Creative by Jacob Nordby