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  • Jane E Porter

Creativity is Free Therapy: How to Find Your Flow

Updated: May 23

Ever feel like creativity is something mysterious that you are either born with or not? Just the other day, while waiting for an appointment, I was chatting with the receptionist about my latest web design project. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I'm not creative at all.’ ‘Hmmmm,’ I responded. ‘Are you sure?’ There was a pause, a moment of reflection, before she replied, ‘I guess we just decide these things about ourselves and don't question it.’ Over the years, so many people, on hearing I’m an artist, have given a similar response.


I, along with legendary author and business thinker, Seth Godin and many others, believe that anyone can be creative, and it’s easier than you may think. You don’t need to be able to draw or paint; there are many ways to get some creativity into your life. In my previous article, I discussed the benefits of how looking at art or listening to music can lower stress and improve mood. Doing creative stuff can amp up these benefits. Creativity offers a sense of accomplishment and provides a time-out for our busy minds. This time-out is known as being in a state of flow or being in the ‘Zone.’


The Flow State: A Brief Explanation


Back in the 1970s, psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi came up with the concept of ‘flow,’ by studying artists. Flow refers to a mental state where you're so absorbed in an activity that everything else seems to fade away. Memories melt away, the clocks stop and future fears become quiet – you are anchored in the moment.


What activities or hobbies make you lose track of time and immerse you in the present moment?


How To Get Into Flow


Art Classes or Workshops


Artist's Paint Brushes

Workshops are a great way to try something new. They are often a day or even a half-day, so only a short time commitment. If you love it, you may want to sign up for a class. They are also a great way to meet new people, even kindred spirits. A few examples are pottery, painting, cooking, sculpting, gardening, printmaking, bookbinding and DIY.


Are there any creative activities you've been curious to try but haven't yet? What's holding you back?


Journaling


This can range from writing your thoughts and feelings to art journaling, which can include drawing, painting, and collage. It can also be a visual diary where you add images of places you’ve visited, tickets from memorable events, pressed flowers, and anything else you can think of. Journaling helps organize your thoughts and provides a safe space for self-expression. Your imagination will improve the more you do it. I promise!


Creative Writing


write without fear

Many people feel daunted by the thought of writing, often because they judge themselves before they even start. Don’t do that - it won’t help! Start by writing down your ideas in any format you like and keep a notebook handy. Take a class or an online course. It can just be a personal endeavour; you need never show anyone or try to get published, but you may just want to. Writing comes in many forms – short stories, poetry, a journal, plays, articles, and so on.


Collaborate with Others


Collaborate on projects with friends, family, or fellow artists. Sharing ideas and practical skills can lead to exciting creations, for example jam sessions, video projects, group travel, beach clean-ups, tree planting, mural painting etc. Collaboration can also provide a sense of community and shared accomplishment.


Experiment with Mixed Media


Try out different art materials and techniques. You can find many free tutorials on YouTube, especially for beginners. Try not to judge yourself; I know, easier said than done. But do know that even the ‘Masters’ had many works that were flops. They painted, repainted, smashed, and trashed, just like everyone else – it’s just part of the gig. As artists, we call our flops, studies. ‘It’s just a study. That one? Yeah, that was also a study.’


Gardening


Gardening is known for its therapeutic vibe and it’s creative. Designing your garden, planting new flowers, or even growing your own vegetables can be incredibly satisfying. And, as we are all being advised to spend more time in nature, it ticks that box too.


Do you find solace or inspiration in nature? How does spending time outdoors impact your creativity?


Cooking

spoons with different types of spices

Cooking can be a wonderful creative outlet - so I hear. Experiment with new recipes, flavours and presentation. It's a practical way to be creative, it can be sociable and, everyone will love you.


What's one dish you've always wanted to try cooking or experimenting with? Could you infuse your own creative twist into it?


To Wrap Up


When your thoughts are running amock, feelings are frayed and therapy isn’t on the menu, why not try something creative? It’s not about becoming a master, although that may happen, it’s about the enjoyment of the process and the therapeutic benefits it brings.


I’m a big fan of therapy and believe that asking for help is courageous. So, if therapy is an option, it plays very well with creativity and we don’t have to choose one over the other.



I hope you found this article helpful. Please share your experiences in the comments below, it helps me create better content.


Thanks for reading and have a wonderfully creative weekend.


Janee signature with kiss





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Image Credits




 

Jane E Porter is a fine artist and illustrator from Scotland, dedicated to exploring and understanding the fascinating interplay between art, psychology and philosophy. She shares insights and observations made over the past two decades with a delightful mix of wit and wisdom. Join her as she continues her journey, delving into these themes, offering you fresh perspectives and insights on art, identity and storytelling.

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