Almost a month ago I was helping out at this year’s PASS event, and while talking to some fellow students about blog topics one really caught my attention—creativity through arts and crafts. As an avid pinterest-er (yea I admit it), I have recently renewed my love of all things crafty. With all the hustle and bustle required from my master’s program, I’d nearly forgotten the simple joy and satisfaction that comes from creating something. This was actually quite a shame, because as soon as I rediscovered this, I realized that I find some catharsis in creating something myself. The simple act of watching the pieces of something come together – of smoothing paint over an uncolored surface of my masquerade mask or cutting out bunches of felt flower petals – puts me in the zone.
Arts and creativity are a personal joy- the activities that make me happy are not always the same activities that are going to bring satisfaction to anyone else. Instead, we each can explore to find ways that help you to express yourself. I have friends who paint, sew, scrapbook, sketch, scribble, and knit for their creative release. You don’t have to limit yourself to the visual arts. You could try some auditory stimulation by picking up an instrument or singing. What about writing? Grab a journal, jot down your thoughts, and perhaps scribble a poem. Or maybe your interest is culinary creativity? Try grabbing some pots and pans and whip up something tasty!
There are tons of websites and venues out there to get you inspired on your creative journey. Here are just a few:
Carrboro Arts Center: The Carrboro Arts Center has loads of classes- dance, cooking, painting, photography and more. If you’re looking to explore some different things or maybe further develop your skills in one area, this is a great place to look!
Pinterest: Never fails to offer me inspiration in my crafting and baking endeavors.
Blogs: There are literally thousands of blogs highlighting different creative activities. Try doing a quick search for whatever activity you’re interested in- I guarantee you’ll find something good.
Low-commitment creativity – coloring! Grab a coloring book and crayons (or print the pages free online). Coloring is a great way to relieve stress and express yourself.
Need inspiration? Wander your local craft store. I’ve always found that meandering through AC Moore or Michaels introduces me to many new ideas.
Remember, you don’t have to choose just one or stick with just one. This is for YOU! Feel free to not finish a project and try something else. And be gentle with yourself – your painting or scrapbook or poetry or cupcakes need not be perfect the first time. Enjoy the process of creating. While it’s always fun to have a great product in the end, regardless, you can have always have fun along the way!
Whatever creative endeavors you chose to engage in- I wish you fun, joy and the license to let go! Share with us your favorite creative activities in the comments below.
PS. I’m not the only one promoting creativity! Check out these peer reviewed (oohh fancy!) articles that all highlight the benefits of creativity!
- Effects of written emotional disclosure on implicit self-esteem and body image. O’Connor, D.B., Hurling, R., Hendrickx, H., et al. Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK Unilever Discover, Colworth, UK.British Journal of Health Psychology. 2011 Sep;16(3):488-501.
- The durability of beneficial health effects associated with expressive writing. Sloan, DM., Feinstein, BA., Marx., BP. National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare Systems, Boston, Massachusetts. Anxiety, Stress and Coping. 2009 Oct;22(5):509-23.
- Writing about testing worries boosts exam performance in the classroom. Ramirez, G., Beilock, S.L. Department of Psychology and Committee on Education, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. (New York, N.Y.). Science. 2011 Jan 14;331(6014):211-3.
- Journaling: creating space for “I”. Charles, J.P. Clayton State University Morrow, Georgia, USA. Creative Nursing. 2010;16(4):180-4.
- Effects of written emotional disclosure on implicit self-esteem and body image. O’Connor, D.B., Hurling, R., Hendrickx, H., et al. Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK Unilever Discover, Colworth, UK. British Journal of Health Psychology. 2011 Sep;16(3):488-501. [↩]
- Writing about testing worries boosts exam performance in the classroom. Ramirez, G., Beilock, S.L. Department of Psychology and Committee on Education, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. Science. 2011 Jan 14;331(6014):211-3.