Creativity and expression are solid ways to honor self-care and release stress. Unless you’re an artist, usually we leave most methods of creative expression on the shelf as we transition from childhood to adulthood. We become socially conditioned to follow the same line, the same path. Everything becomes serious and we’re left with little time to devote to carefree, playful, free release. Creative expression can be anything that you put your soul into, that allows divinity to pass through you. It can range from painting, drawing, singing, dancing, poetry, sewing, knitting, music, writing, etc.
Art cannot be limited or defined, it's whatever you want it to be!
Maybe you’ve always shied away from trying any kind of art because you’re just ‘not good at it’ but art isn’t about the finished product, it doesn’t matter what it looks like at the end it matters how you feel when you are doing it. There’s a misconception that some people are just good at art while others are not. Some people might have a little more natural ability but art is a learned craft.
Like most things, art is taught starting with the foundations and builds up to more complicated and complex ideas. If you’re a painter you learn primary colors, if you’re an illustrator you learn anatomy if you’re a photographer you learn composition, aperture, and shutter. If you’re a dancer you learn simple steps and movement first. If you knit or sew you learn basic patterns. If you write, you learn about structure and flow.
If you are patient and dedicated you can learn anything and the more you progress, the more confident you become.
Creativity is especially important for those who feel disconnected from expression or lack inspiration in this area. Dedicate time and some time to try something new! There’s no failure, you have no obligation to complete anything and there’s no deadline or pressure. There is literally no right or wrong – just you and whatever works its way from the inside out. Open yourself up, you might be surprised what you’ll find!
Creativity can lead to positive changes in your health and life in a number of ways. There have been many scientific studies that have proven that having a creative outlet can boost your self-confidence, improve cognitive function, relieve stress, offer therapeutic value, and even improve your social life.
Creativity really is vital to overall health and wellness.
Self- Confidence – You are capable! Even if it’s a paint by numbers, or just journaling about your day, when you finish there’s a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and what you’ve created. Expression and creativity make you feel good, even if you’re not sure why you like doing it. Creativity invokes joy and pleasure and when you feel good, you’re naturally more confident. Creativity allows your authentic self to come through, connecting deeper to our thoughts and feelings. We become more sure of ourselves and that confidence comes through in other areas from work to relationships.
Therapy - Creativity can be a therapeutic way of processing events or relieving stress. Writing or journaling helps process thoughts and emotions while dancing, movement or singing can help release energy and emotion stored in the body. Ever had a bad day, thrown on some music really loud and sang at the top of your lungs or had a good cry? That’s a therapeutic way of processing your emotions through art! Music has long been a powerful therapeutic tool and many therapists encourage patients to write to process their trauma.
Mediation - Art is mediative – mediation can be really hard, especially if you’re new to it which can make you frustrated and give up on it all together. If you struggle to quiet the mind, a good way to shut off the constant chatter is to get your hands busy in something or move your body. Painting or drawing pulls you out of your head and into the process, absorbing the colors, feeling the paintbrush or pencil in your hand, visually stimulating and can help quiet the mind.
Cognitive – function - Regularly tapping into your creative side can also make you a better problem solver as well as heighten other cognitive abilities. It lends itself to a healthier lifestyle and more fluid social interactions as well. Creative expression helps build more neural pathways in the brain. That makes it easier for us to respond and find solutions. That’s why children are encouraged to be creative and are given colorful blocks and crayons – it builds a stronger brain as well as encourages self-confidence and celebrates diversity.
What can you do to open yourself up to art and expression?
Make it fun – creativity should bring pleasure. Don’t set expectations for yourself, don’t have an end goal, let the flow take you wherever and then start all over again
Find time – The hardest of all is committing to the process. Don’t make it daunting. Just start with 5 minutes here or there or set no timeline at all! Just try it for as long as it feels good.
Make it easy - Use what you already have, you shouldn’t need an investment to start. If you don’t already have a wide variety of paints and brushes, start with a pencil and paper –. If you’re interested in photography start with your phone and work your way up to expensive equipment if you feel passionate about pursuing it. If you want to dance, find a youtube tutorial before you purchase lessons.
Try a few things – Don’t limit yourself! There's such a range for creative expression, don’t’ feel like you have to do just one thing. It might take you a few tries to find something you feel connected to. If you feel inspired by something, make a note of it. Maybe you hear a song that moves you, maybe you read a quote of poetry or see an image that makes you stop and think. Try following an artist on Instagram or Facebook for more inspiration.
Art sourced from Gina Ciaccio - all images available for purchase in print, visit https://www.gina-ciaccio.com/art-for-sale