What is Creativity? The following definition is from dictionary.com:
1. the state or quality of being creative.
2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.
Why is Creativity Important?
Creativity is an important process for most people. It allows self-expression, increases self-esteem, and makes us feel happy. Without creativity, humans would never progress, never expand or rise above our base nature. When we are deliberately creative, we are engaged, connected, and somehow more alive.
“Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things… Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative.” – Osho
Benefits of Being Creative
- Creativity begets more creativity. The more you do it, the more you’ll want to do.
- Being creative allows you to explore your feelings.
- Creating something gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Expressing yourself creatively makes you happy.
- Creativity frees up your thinking. You become open to new ideas.
- Increasing your creativity allows you to problem-solve more efficiently.
- Creativity leaks into all other areas of life.
- Creating regularly boosts your self-confidence.
- Creativity reduces stress.
Creativity Helps You Live Longer
Scientific American cites a study carried out on a sample of 1,000 men. They discovered that creativity decreases the risk of mortality. Nicholas Turiano, now at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says, “Individuals high in creativity maintain the integrity of their neural networks even into old age,” This would suggest that a creative life may help offset such problems as dementia and Alzheimer's. Creativity exercises the mind.
I’m Not the Creative Sort
Yes, you are. Everyone has it in them to be creative. You don’t have to be an accomplished artist or invent the next generation of smart gadgets to bring creativity into your life. Creativity can happen in the smallest of areas. Here are nine little creative habits you can easily incorporate into your life.
1. Get Creative with Flash Fiction
Write a story in 100 words or thereabouts. As long as it has a beginning, a middle and an ending, it’s a story. It’ll take you five minutes. Don’t worry if it’s good, bad or indifferent. Just do it. If you don’t know where to start, try this flash fiction ideas generator:
2. Learn to Zentangle ®
Zentangle ® is an easy way to draw patterns. All you need is a pen and paper. Draw a loose outline, looping and crossing over your line several times. Fill in the resulting spaces with repeating patterns. The practice of Zentangle is an active meditation and the perfect way to find your creative space. Here's a Zentangle tutorial to get you started.
Image credt: author
3. Make a Collage
Grab a magazine, a sturdy piece of card, a pair of scissors and some glue. Make a collage of faces, or weird figures made up of composite photos. Add cut-out text or numbers. Just have fun gluing and sticking.
4. Change a Recipe
If you have a favorite recipe, change it. Look through your herb and spice collection and try some new combinations. If your recipe has a particular vegetable in it, substitute a different one. For example, try mashed cauliflower instead of potato in a casserole, swap chili for paprika, add some ginger or cinnamon to a dessert. Be brave.
5. Customize an Outfit
Wear something different. Add a colorful scarf to a dull sweater and pants outfit. Put two clashing colors together. Try all your clothes on in varying combinations – you might discover a new look.
6. Start a Journal
Journals come in infinite varieties. Start a gratitude journal, or a photo journal. Perhaps you’d prefer a digital blog, or how about an art journal, where you doodle and collage as well as write? A daily journal where you keep a record of events and your feelings can build up into a reference book of your life. Keep it secret, if you like – you can buy lockable journals or, if digital, keep it safe with a password.
7. Move Creatively
Dance or move in some way to music. Don’t think, just move. Even if you do it sitting down. Use your hands to create patterns and swirls in the air. Pretend you are making a painting or demonstrating a beautiful dream.
8. Draw a Daily Selfie
Draw a three-minute self-portrait every day. Use different mediums, pens, gel pens, crayons, pencil, lipstick or anything that will make a mark. Steal your kid’s paints. Take a photo of your portrait and share it on Facebook or Instagram.
Image credt: author's daughter
9. Create One Thing Every Day
Make a decision to create one new thing every day. It might be on a theme, such as the selfie drawings, cooking, or a combination of activities. Chart your progress. Record it on Facebook, a blog, or in a journal.
Being creative is how you discover new passions and possibilities. Remember too, that being creative isn’t necessarily about producing more ‘stuff’. You can be creative by having a clear-out of possessions, redecorating your home, up-cycling a piece of furniture, rearranging a room, gardening, playing with your children, making up new games, or planning meals you’ve never tried before.
Discover the creative zone. Getting in the flow, when you are so focused on what you are doing you ‘zone out’ is a delicious experience. Time seems to stand still, your brain works on autopilot, and you are making creative decisions as if by magic.
Creativity forces you to face your fear that you’re not good enough. There are no standards you have to reach, no examinations to undergo; you can be creative starting today. No-one has to know what you are doing unless you tell them. You will learn from your disasters and at the same time be happy with what you create. Don’t be a perfectionist – perfectionism is the enemy of creativity.
Now turn on the music and dance.