Spark

Perspectives, news, and announcements from the Center that will ignite your passion for wellbeing.

Creativity Fuels Your Wellbeing

April 16, 2018

After 4 years of speaking to hundreds of women in networking events, individual coaching sessions, and speaking engagements, I have come to realize how vital creativity is to a woman’s wellbeing. In my own life, I reached a point where having my creativity on the shelf became unbearable. I didn’t realize it was the missing link until I reconnected with it and discovered it was actually a form of fuel for my wellbeing. Now, I consciously nurture my relationship with my creativity every single day and enjoy the boost of energy it gives me for whatever life sends my way.

Creativity is a big word and one that is often misunderstood. Let me start with my thoughts about what the term even means. I am reminded all too often in my conversations and coaching with others that there are many versions of the creative path.  I often hear a version of this statement, "I thought I would be an (artist, singer, writer, etc.) but that dream didn't work out."  And yet as I listen to the story of life the person shares, I can see how indeed the expression of an artist, singer, or other form of creativity has unfolded, just not in a typical way.  As humans we can get stuck thinking that our creativity should emerge in a certain format, when in fact, the expression comes out in a myriad of ways.

It’s my belief that any choice or action can be creative - from how you advocate for a cause you believe in to how you spend time with your children. Anything that is an expression of yourself in the world is creative because you will do it differently than anyone else. So, let’s take some pressure off our shoulders and let our unique brand of creativity shine in the world!

Despite the boost of energy creativity always provides, a regular relationship with creativity isn’t common for most people. I find that many people are driven by beliefs that don’t support their relationship with creativity. I want to dispel common misunderstandings about creativity, so you have a healthy relationship that boosts your energy.  The top three limiting beliefs I hear are: people don’t feel they are creative, don’t feel there is enough time to spend on their creativity, and don’t feel creativity has a place because other responsibilities are more important. Then there are creativity squashers like “I don’t compare to Picasso so I won’t paint,” or “I am an imposter, I have nothing useful or original to say,” or “I can’t make money at this so why waste my time.” All just forms of inner critic chatter that keep us from our full expression.

I had to wrestle with my own demons about being responsible and productive while making a space for my creativity. I was afraid that if I took regular time for my creativity I would be less professional and a less productive member of society. Both ideas terrified me! But in the end, I came to see first hand that engaging my creativity fills me up and also ironically, makes me a more productive member of society. In short, I have more to give to others and the work I am doing in the world when I make time to engage in creative expression in a variety of forms. For me, my creativity prescription is a mix of what I am choosing to wear each day, traveling, sketching, writing, bringing beauty into my home, planning fun family events, cooking, and singing.

What forms of creative expression make your heart sing?

I am passionate in my knowing that creativity is a form of fuel for our wellbeing! And I know that creativity, in whatever form you choose to express it, will make your life more meaningful and fulfilling. All of which creates a healthier dose of wellbeing for you.

Publications

Mandala cover from fall 2017. The cover features a collage of images of Earl Bakken, and the University of Minnesota's "M"

Mandala is a biannual magazine produced by Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. It captures the core aspects of the Center: reflection, transformation, spirituality, creation, and the ongoing journey that continues to shape what we are to become.

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The Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing blog covers a range of integrative health and wellbeing topics. For more information about our blog, contact us at csh@umn.edu