Have you ever wanted to paint, throw a pot or play an instrument?
Turns out that you aren't alone. More than ever, Americans are enhancing their every day lives by incorporating some kind of creative outlet. Whether it's painting a plate on date night or joining a weekly Bollywood dance class, we're choosing to spend more of our time in creative pursuit.
This is great news and here's why:
• Creativity Increases Balance
Most of us tend to work too much. By finding an artistic endeavor that is fun and inspiring, it can pull us away from work - in a good way. It helps us balance our right and left brains - our analytical and creative sides.
I have a friend who recently took up the tablas, a drum used in Indian and Pakistani music. She'd always loved percussion, and briefly took lessons as a teen but never got serious and soon abandoned it. Her desire to play, however, was always there. So a few months ago, she decided to take lessons.
Now she tells me she'd rather drum than work! She uses it as a reward for getting her 'work stuff' done. The other night she sat down to play and before she knew it, two hours had flown by. She has a new passion.
What a great way to spend part of your day!
• Art is Stimulating and Relaxing
When we open ourselves up to creativity, it can often have surprising outcomes.
Last year I began an apprenticeship in silk screening and printmaking. Every week I met with my teacher for three hours. Together, we worked on the various aspects of design and developed each project, walking it through the many steps it took for completion.
I began looking forward to these afternoons. I even started doing block print projects at my house, on my own, and used this creative outlet as an antidote to left brain fatigue on the days I'd work almost exclusively on my computer. After five or six hours, my brain was fuzzy and my eyes hurt- time for a break. Instead of zoning out, I'd grab my tools and my rubber stamp and begin working.
Within ten minutes, I'd feel completely rejuvenated, awake and clear.
• Art Opens Us to Our Own Creativity
I don't know if it's because we're using the right side of our brain or something else, but the act of doing art helps unleash that creative flow. It's like a weird free association that goes on when you're not really thinking and yet completely in the flow.
During these times, I find that I often get answers to questions related to business or different projects or am able to see a situation or challenge in a new way.
We are all creators. That's what we're here to do, create a masterpiece of our lives.
If you're ready to incorporate a creative outlet in your life, here are a few easy ways to do that:
1. Think About What You Love
Hark back to activities you enjoyed as a child. Did you love singing in the choir, acting in the school play or hanging out in the darkroom? Allow yourself to ruminate on this. Think too about what attracts you now. Are you drawn to jewelry and beading? Fabrics? What do you browse on Pinterest?
Start paying attention to what catches your eye and makes your heart beat faster.
2. What's Happening Where You Are?
Thanks to sites like Pinterest, CraftDaily and ClothPaperScissors.com, it can be easy to get started with DIY projects. If you're like me, though, and want a little more guidance, check out your local art museum, studios (art, dance, yoga), community center or theater, galleries and music stores. It's amazing the talent that's out there and the myriad of classes being offered.
3. Not 100% sure? Try It!
Before I settled on printmaking, I played around with other materials. I beaded for a while, then I did some mixed media stuff. I even went to a clay sculpture class before I took a printmaking one.
There was something about printmaking that seemed really fun to me and it had a lot of avenues of exploration. I decided I wanted to gain proficiency in one technique before I went on. But I tried a bunch first to find my niche.
The exciting news is that you don't have to be the next Picasso or Eric Clapton to simply explore and have fun. Tapping into your creative expression will bring more joy and more fulfillment into your everyday life. Get on board today!
Shakti Sutriasa is the Founder of DecideDifferently.com, offering life coaching, counseling and workshops that combine modern psychology and spirituality. Shakti is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has an MA in Education. To learn more Click Here