Written by: Amanda Cottrell, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
What is something you could do for hours and hours as a child? That activity where you time almost stood still and hours would feel like minutes? Take a few moments to envision what your childhood was like and what you remember loving to do. That may be your unique creative therapy.
Some people may cringe when asked to think about their creativity. This may be because they have visions of having to draw in school and dreading every moment of it. The thing is creativity is not just about what you traditionally think of as the arts. There are so many different ways people can use their creativity.
I believe that everyone has their own unique creative capacities. These unique creative gifts may be hidden by trauma from childhood or just not having the confidence in oneself to step out of their comfort zone and share their truest essence.
I forgot what my truest essence was for years. I had always been good at drawing and painting. I remember I would spend hours and hours drawing as a child. I even won awards for my drawings. Yet, I never prioritized this part of me because I never felt that it was valued growing up. I also thought my art was not good enough to really ever do anything with it, so why bother pursuing it.
So many people struggle with that sense of being “not good enough.” But here is the thing, what makes you feel your truest self may not be what you pursue as a career or what you spend the majority of your time doing. But it is the part of you where you feel the most alive, grounded or calm. Maybe you recognize that you have bills to pay and mouths to feed, and pursuing a career in your creativity will not put the money you need on the table. I am not talking about quitting your career to feel alive and striving to reach your creative essence.
I am asking you to consider what piece of you from your childhood that you may be missing that you could possibly find again amongst your busy life. Once you rediscover it, you may find meaning, calm and a sense of wonder that you have not felt since you were a child.
Even though what you loved doing for hours and hours as a child may not be what you can spend hours and hours doing as an adult and that is ok. What I am hoping you recognize is what that essence was and ask yourself, “could I carve out some time in my busy life to do something I love?” Could you find some time to draw, paint, sculpt, build or craft something just for the love of doing it, not for the end result? As adults, so many people are always focused on the end result. What children get that adults forget is, “life is a journey, not a destination.” Adults spend so much time focused on the end result that we forget to enjoy the path that we take to get there.
When I teach art to both kids and adults, there is always this amazing energy shift in the room that I do not feel when I teach anything else. There is always a point in the creative time where the room is completely silent and everyone in the room is in their own zen space, just enjoying the moment. That “moment” is something that I rarely ever get teaching anything else.
I have noticed this for years. Even in the most challenging classrooms or the chattest group of adults, there is always a moment where the entire energy of the room changes and it brings in this complete sense of calm to the entire room.
When I teach adults this is even more noticeable. First adults are always more stressed out to start with. They worry about the colors and ensuring their lines are perfect. They stress about how they have set up their page or piece. They are always so worried about the end result of their art piece even that they often take the joy out of the process. That is until that moment happens when they get into their grove, they no longer care about the end result and they just begin to enjoy the process.
Creative outlets also do not need to be traditional art forms. There are people who make gigantic art displays out of masking tape! Some people's creative outlets are knitting, or carving, or rebuilding an old car. Whatever your creative outlet is, I am challenging you to find more time in your week to do it. Even if you can only squeeze in 30 minutes once a week. That time you spend for you doing something that you absolutely love just because you love it will have an immense impact on your mental health and positive impact on your life. Go enjoy some aspect of life like you did as a child, embrace the wonder and you will find that connection to your inner self.