How to Develop Your Creativity (and Why It Matters)
When it comes to health, wellness, and personal development, we usually think about things like exercise, meditation, or stress relief. But creativity is a component that usually takes a backseat, even though it’s also an important aspect of well-being and can be key to personal growth.
That’s partly because many see creativity as a gift that some people are just born with. In reality, though, it’s more like a muscle. Like your abs or quads, your creativity muscle needs to be exercised, and it’ll get stronger with time. There are many ways to become more creative, and it’s well worth trying some of them.
Why Creativity Matters
It lets you express yourself.
Being creative is a means of personal expression. Whether you feel joyful, depressed, frustrated, angry, or relaxed, you can express it through creativity. It’s a healthier and more useful alternative to either bottling up your emotions or taking them out on somebody else.
It uses a different part of the brain.
One of the biggest benefits of creativity is that it develops a specific part of the brain. The brain is divided into two halves, with left hemisphere governing logic and the right hemisphere governing creativity. If you’re not being creative, you’re only using half your brain!
It improves health and brain function.
The benefits of creativity go far beyond what you might imagine, and being creative will impact your overall wellness and performance. Engaging in creative behaviors reduces anxiety and depression, boosts immunity, and helps prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. It also improves our capacity for learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
How to Become More Creative
Try new things.
Monotony is the death of creativity. The more you expose yourself to new things – new ideas, places, tastes, experiences, or activities – the more creative you’ll become.
Of course, these new experiences won’t be as impactful if you’re not able to truly pay attention to them. That’s where mindfulness comes in. Practicing mindfulness enhances our experiences, helps us notice more things around us, and boosts our ability to be creative.
Like with anything else, you’ll find more success with developing creativity if you take it slow. Don’t think you need to draw all day long or sculpt an intricate statute from scratch. Much simpler activities like coloring in an adult coloring book, attending a Paint Night, or learning to play an instrument will yield the same benefits. Start with something small, and see how you want to expand.
Make it a habit.
Creativity is also most beneficial when it’s practiced on a regular basis, so see how you can incorporate it into your daily life. Maybe you can commit to doing a creative activity at the same time each day, like first thing in the morning or right after work. The more you get used to being creative, the easier it’ll seem and the more you’ll reap the benefits.
Making an effort to become more creative can help in every area of life, from how you feel to how you show up in relationships to how you perform at work. Try to start building your creativity, and know that it’s an investment in yourself.
Letting Work Take Over
Work stress inhibits happiness for many people, especially in jobs that seem to easily bleed into the rest of life. Are you working extra hours every week or constantly fretting about work when you’re off the clock? A better work-life balance could make a big difference to your happiness.
To the extent that your job allows, make your time off sacred. Plan a real vacation, commit to stopping work by a certain time each day, or make sure you’re taking at least one full day off every week. And use your time not at work to do things that increase your happiness. Make an effort to connect with friends, pursue hobbies, or spend time outside.
With the levels of stress and busyness that have become the norm for most people, making changes like these is easier said than done. But committing to them is the only way to stop sabotaging our own happiness – and that’s something that should be a priority for everyone. Have a look at this video to see how a week at Vikasa is built to reduce stress and give you tools for a better return home.
About the Author
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.