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How to be more creative. Part 2
Eleen Polson

Part 2:  How to be more creative

As explained in Part 1, “What is Creativity”, we were all creative as children – but lost the faith in our own creative powers whilst growing up.  Creativity is much more than just the expressive arts (singing, dancing, writing or acting).  It is the ability to create order out of chaos.  It is the ability to express oneself in unique ways.  Each and every day we create our lives through our activities.

Once we understand the importance of creativity, we can grow and cultivate this valuable gift.  How do we do this?  

Prioritize creative activities

Research in positive psychology, education and neuroscience have shown the essential health and developmental benefits that exist in participating in creativity.  There is an increased emphasis on stimulating creativity and participation in the arts to counteract for the years of neglect in this arena.  No longer is creativity seen as a luxury, but it is acknowledged as essential to health and well-being, assuring that we not only live but flourish.  What makes you feel most alive?  Is it dancing, making something with your hands, preparing a new dish, walking in nature, listening to a piece of music?  How often do you do this?  Just imagine how this would enhance your personal level of happiness, if you could do a creative activity every week? If you cultivate this ability of feeling alive within yourself, you will be able to enhance the lives of the pupils that you teach. They will watch you, be inspired by you and model themselves on your positive behaviour.  Prioritizing what feeds your soul will have a remarkable impact not only on your own health but on your enjoyment of life.  

Focusing on the Arts  

Doing any form of art (colouring in, painting, singing, dancing) is medicinal and healthy in itself.  Everyone who has ever lost themselves in a creative project knows the feeling. Neuroscience tells us that we are using different parts of our brain resulting in whole brain functioning. 

There are two ways of participating in the creative process.

Firstly one could focus on the end-product with a planned outcome. This utilizes your “left brain” and analytical functioning. An example could be to copy a picture while painting.  You expect a certain outcome and you know the steps to reach it.  Another example is learning to do a structured dance like the cha-cha.

Secondly you could just trust the process and focus on the experience while participating in the creative act. Here you do not know what the end-product would look or sound like. It is using your right, creative side of your brain and there is no judgement, just the experience.  There is no right or wrong way to be creative, there is no conditioning or expectations.  Anything is possible.  It is like whistling a tune that you make up, or doodling while talking on the phone, or singing in the shower as if no one and everyone is listening.  It is enjoying the freedom of expression without any expectation.

One method is neither better than the other. Experiment with both and notice your different feelings of happiness and creativity. 

In the next part we will look at how to overcome blocks to creativity encouraging your pupils to freely express and create. 

Playing together towards integrated well-being and mental health.

 

Eleen Polson, Expressive Arts Therapist, www.creativelearning4life.com, 0722121719.



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