From increased happiness and reduced stress to boosting your immune system and protecting against dementia, expressing your creativity has been found to have incredible benefits for your health.
If you lead a busy life, you might find you have little room in your schedule for creative activities. But as entrepreneur and author Amy Stanton points out in a recent article, the reality is that it’s totally possible to incorporate more creativity into your daily routines so you can live a happier, healthy life. Below, you’ll find the 4 ways Stanton adds creativity into her daily life.
Morning pages: Stanton is a believer in getting your creative juices flowing first thing in the morning. On a daily basis, she engages in an exercise from one of the best-selling books on creativity ever written, called The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It’s a simple exercise: dedicate 40 minutes to freewriting, preferably by hand, until you have three full pages of thought poured out in front of you. No editing. No critiquing yourself. This exercise is a daily reminder that what tends to get in the way of our creativity the most is our own critical nature. As Stanton puts it, morning pages are less about writing and more about practicing letting go.
Personal projects: Stanton says she is far happier and more engaged in the work she does when she’s connected to some sort of creative pursuit. That, however, isn’t always possible when she’s working on a client’s behalf. That’s why she believes in pursuing personal creative projects. It could be having fun rebranding your company, it could be writing a book, it could be picking up a hobby like drawing or painting. What’s important is that it’s yours.
Sing, dance, play: All of these activities involve expressing creativity through your body, which is a powerful thing. When we express through our bodies, we tend to shut out all the distractions and sync our mind and body together in unison. Stanton says just an hour of dance class is more effective for her than a year of therapy, and she isn’t alone in touting the mental benefits of creative expression. Many Nobel laureates swear by the importance of the arts as a crucial inspiration for meaningful scientific discoveries.
21 Days of Sketching: To explore a deeper connection with self, Stanton recently tried an activity from artist Sheila Darcey called 21 Days of Sketching. The activity is as straightforward as it sounds, simply requiring you to get a pen and paper to sketch out drawings each day for 21 days. Similar to the morning pages, sketching can be a release and a way of expressing — and unloading — the unconscious.
Stanton says that through sketching, she was confronted with her perfectionist tendencies, struggling at first to draw without judgment. But then she realized the point: sketching isn’t really about sketching, but rather, about releasing judgment, unloading emotional weight, and so many other things. That’s what creativity is all about. Letting go.