“It is better to travel well than to arrive”
– Buddha

The research is in: Creativity supports you in living a happier, healthier life. I have documented this extensively under the Creativity Cure tab on this site, but the main quote is worth repeating:

Art therapy and creative practices have been proven to greatly reduce stress and anxiety, jog the memories of Alzheimer’s patients, and significantly diminish depression. [1]

The impact of creativity is so profound that other research states, “Any engagement with artistic activities, either as an observer of the creative efforts of others or as an initiator of one’s own creative efforts, can enhance one’s moods, emotions, and other psychological states as well as have a salient impact on important physiological parameters.” [2]

For me, this makes creativity the greatest tool in your Spiritual Toolbox, because it’s very implementation into the other tools makes them more varied, innovative and even fun. So, what does your Creativity Tool look like, and how do you use it?

1. Acceptance: Yes, you are creative.

Creativity is simply the expression of imagination. Think back to your early childhood and you will surely come up with memories of imaginative kinds of play and moments in art class where you made a big mess and had a lot of fun – that’s creativity. Do you fantasize? Dream up ideas about how you would like to live? Does your imagination “run away with you?” If you can’t draw a straight line the way you “think” someone creative would, how about drawing one the way you think it should look? Better yet, draw one without thinking.

2. Watch for indicators:

Losing track of time, feeling present, shutting out the world – and – truly enjoying yourself are all indications that you are engaging in something creative.

3. Recall childhood experiences:

Your creative past is a wonderful way to color your present. Close your eyes, take a breath and bring to mind any joyful childhood memories of art-making, writing, singing, dancing, engaging in fantasy play with friends; anything that freed up your psyche to just “be” yourself, without any feelings of self-consciousness. These memories and associated sensations are stored inside of you. Are there activities you can engage in now that are similar or relate to the ones from your past?

4. Detach from the outcome:

Showgirls knitting garments during a drive to provide goods to servicemen. From the Life magazine archive.

Creativity is about the journey. The benefits you reap from creative practices have very little to do with the outcome; in fact sometimes they are completely unrelated. When you are truly in the moment, the outcome takes care of itself.

5. Share your experience:

As a solo or collaborative ride, there is great beauty and value to sharing the process. Whether you take a writing workshop, cook a meal with someone, sing in a chorus, make art with kids, engage in a brainstorming session, or inspire others by your own example, no need to hold back – the benefits are worth sharing.