Everyday creativity can be found all around us. Before we dive into ways of developing more everyday creativity, we first must understand the true meaning of creativity.
What is defined as creativity
The best part about creativity is that it can be anything. Creativity by definition is the use of the imagination or original ideas. Most categorize this as art or creating a new invention. Although creativity is not limited to just artwork.
Creativity can be found in everything in your daily life. More on this topic later.
Can everyone be creative?
This is a debatable topic. Societal norms would lead you to believe that only some people are born creative and others are not. I disagree. I believe that as we grow older what is important to us changes based on what society deems as available.
We are first introduced to creativity in our childhood. We make crafts, color and paint pictures, we build things with playdough and blocks. Creativity is at an all-time high when we are young. And as we grow older the value held on creativity dwindles and the value of structured processes that are already decided for us increases.
I have always considered myself not creative due to my lack of drawing or painting skills. What I forgot to realize is that creativity is not about how good you are with said artistic skills. The true purpose of creativity is to play and to create. It’s fun and exhilarating to create something new. Creativity spans past your ability to create a functional or perfect artwork; we are creative beings meant to play.
While the creation of artwork may come naturally for some and not others, everyday creativity lives and breathes in all of us. What we create within each of our minds may be similar but each creation is uniquely valuable because only you made it the way that you can.
Sometimes we get caught up in valuing our creativity based on the ability to develop an original idea. But yet again, we are limiting our beliefs and abilities to practice creativity based on what society tells us creativity is meant to be.
Creating new ideas is fantastic and the reason that we have so many life enhancements revolving around science, technology, and health to name a few. We can thank the Wright Brothers for dreaming of flying like a bird. We can say thank you to John Logie Baird at AT&T’s Bell Labs for the creation of video calling which allows us to see our relatives who live long distances from us. Original ideas are vital to our growth as a society.
However, just as equally important is authenticity in ideas. Just because an idea is already out there does not mean that it is the perfect and only idea for that particular topic. Countless times we’ve seen people take an existing idea, tweak it, and create something new. How many versions do companies create of the same object? Just look at how many versions of the iPhone exist.
Authentic by definition means true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character. Authenticity feels real and genuine. Authenticity holds value in and of itself. We all have different ways of speaking on the same subject due to each of our life experiences being different. Your perspective may be similar to mine but it will always be your perspective and not mine.
Four elements of Standard Creativity
Through the study of creativity and its impacts on healing, AM J Public Health categorizes creativity in four elements:
- Music – making or simply listening to music
- Visual Arts – making pieces of art through various forms (i.e. painting, drawing, collage, etc.)
- Movement – moving your body to express creativity (i.e. dance, yoga, sequential movements, etc.)
- Expressive writing – simply writing either structured or unstructured
Benefits of Everyday Creativity
Not only is creativity fun but there are also known benefits to creativity. Studies have found physical and mental health benefits to practicing creativity activities. Many of these benefits have long-term impacts.
Physical health Benefits
Dancing is a simple way to express creativity and has also shown to also improve blood pressure and support weight management. While some of this is more directly related to the movement of the body, dancing accomplishes two goals: health and creativity.
A randomized study conducted on 37 HIV-infected patients found that participants who practiced emotional writing on regular basis had an increased immunity. Music has also been shown to reduce inflammation and restore immune health.
Expressing writing can release strong emotions such as anger or fear through writing. Psychologists write that we hold these strong emotions within various parts of our bodies:
- Loss of control in the form of headaches
- Fear in our stomach and intestines
- Anger in our lower back
- Hurt is in the chest and heart.
- Stress in our neck and shoulders
By writing in various ways, the release of chronic pains can be possible as we also release strong emotions.
Creativity positively impacts brain function by helping you use more parts of your brain. The creative practice can even prevent degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. In a Mayo Clinic study on middle-aged and older adults, they found that those who practiced creativity of any kind had a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
Mental Heath benefits
Creativity can also play a huge role in your mental health. The list is endless but here are a few:
- Reduce stress hormones
- Build confidence
- Improve self-esteem
- Reduces anxiety
- Manage depression
- Greater connection to purpose
Art Therapy is the result of many of these findings. By using various forms of creativity to create artwork, participants are able to process life events, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve self-esteem.
My creative journey
My favorite form of creativity is writing (obviously!). I lost touch with my love for writing years ago when I fell into the perfectionist trap of grammar and feeling not good enough to write. While I am not the most profound writer but I can promise you that I write from the heart. I remember writing a novel on an old computer my mom let me use in middle school. And I still remember the excitement of writing that fiction story and the feeling of enthusiasm in following my imagination while writing. Creativity is the journey you make with your imagination after all.
I also remember taking a photography class in high school with the old-school film developing process. It was pure magic watching your pictures come to life in the darkroom, even if they were pictures of high school hallways. I remember buying my very own DSLR camera and taking pictures of my dog and my husband. While most of my pictures were not up to professional photographer quality, the joy they still bring me is immense.
At the end of the day, the reason I created this blog was to provide a form of creative outlet. For my love of writing and taking pictures, this felt like the right place. What is your right place?
Finding Everyday Creativity in daily life
While it’s not realistic for all of us to quit our jobs and become painters or authors, it is possible to add more creativity into your daily life. This also does not mean you need to sit down and paint a masterpiece or come up with a solution to a world problem. Creativity can be found within your everyday moments.
Simply put you can try some of the following:
- Dancing as a form of exercise during the week,
- Writing in a journal or choosing to write a novel from your imagination,
- Attending a DIY event or paint with me class,
- Watch YouTube videos to learn a new skill like knitting or crochet,
The bottom line is to just TRY. Try something new. Choose the discomfort of not knowing what you are doing and maybe knowing that you will make mistakes. Know that you will learn and improve and you will have the most fun you can imagine. Choosing vulnerability to attend that workshop or event that you would not normally go to. Creativity takes courage. The courage that I know you have.
As I’ve grown older and allowed myself to be freer from the societal expectations, I find myself dancing for no reason, writing because I feel called to, and singing out of tune. Simple moments where I connect with my creative side regardless of my capabilities.
In another blog post, I will be sharing more detailed examples of finding creativity in the everyday life.