12 Creative and Personal Benefits from A Creative Process
We often talk about creative benefits, in terms of how engaging in art, also helps us in science and other academic work.
But the benefits of creating are way more than that.
Last week I shared a story with you, about how my newfound joy of painting, or playing with colors as I call it, nearly came to an end, before I had barely started.
I'll just quickly tell a short recap:
I have started to paint for fun, simple just to do something relaxing, something I can play with, where the process is the focus. And it worked, I love sitting on my balcony and play with colors. That is, until I started to get more ambitious about how it should look. My expectations got high and as a result, my joy got low.
Now, because I have trained as a creativity coach, I am aware of what happens in the creative process.
Especially my own creative process.
It's not like I have a final answer, or because I have tools to help me deal with unrealistic expectations, that I will never have unrealistic expectations again.
The creative process is a practice. No matter how much you know. Creating takes practice.
And it's hard. If it wasn't, everyone would do it.
But the creative benefits and fringe benefits of creating are so well worth it.
Some benefits are fairly instant. You feel the emotion as you engage in creativity, but some creative benefits come down the line and are perhaps not as easy to spot. These are what I call fringe benefits.
What are some creative benefits?
Taking the time to do something that is important to you, and that is created by you, despite whatever else is going on in your life, is a way of respecting yourself. Like nothing else will. You build self-respect when you show up for yourself again and again. It’s like date time with yourself. Not focusing on how good what you make is but that fact that you take a little time for yourself. As you know, being good at something takes time. Self-respect is showing up for your interests, desires and creativity.
You learn how to cope with your feelings, and everything involved in the creative process. One of the hardest things to deal with is when life is difficult. Many of us don’t cope very well with struggle and not being good at something. When you create you will have times when you don’t know what the heck you’re doing or what to do next, but if you persevere you’ll learn how to cope with the situation. Invaluable skill to have.
Creative endeavor usually take longer than you think - and hope for. (A personal challenge of mine). More and more of our society is now based on instant gratification, and our patience with ourselves and each other is paying a price. Creating takes patience, another reason so many of us don't bother. Omg, I want to see instant results. It’s a good thing I love creating so much, otherwise I’m not sure I would keep at it. Practicing patience is one REALLY good reason to do creative work.
You get to practice persevering with your thinking, your ideas, and your actions, through frustration, fear, and when things don't go according to plan. Because creative work never go according to plan. Show me something that does. 85% of us give up on our creative intention so perseverance is a great benefit. Patience and perseverance are similar but then again not. I’m not a super patient person but I’m known for my perseverance.
You get to practice trying to find different solutions, and problems, and ways of doing things. You might have to check out different types of researching and figure out new ways to get through your work.
When you engage in a creative act, you WILL make mistakes. Mistakes will happen. It is part of the process, just as excitement is. What you learn, is how to make a mistake and move on from it.
A key life skill to have!
Stepping into the unknown.
Our instinct is to do what we already know. We create habits easily. Whether they serve us or not, and often they don't, doesn't matter. We do what we know, what others do, what feels safe.
By engaging in creativity, you by definition step into the unknown. To new and imaginary things.
It's scary (which is why so many of us don't) but also hugely exciting and freeing. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable hard. Imagine what possibilities open up for you if you can stand being uncomfortable?
New brain pathways.
This has been widely documented. When you engage in creative thinking and a creative act, your brain makes new connections. Which is why children who have art as their school curriculum, also do better in other subjects. Using your creativity creates new (and fantastic) pathways in your brain and this is how you grown and change. Pretty cool!
What are Fringe Benefits of creating?
A fringe benefit of creating could be a new relationship.
I have met new wonderful friends from engaging in creativity. From different countries.
I consider that a HUGE fringe creative benefit.
You learn to care less about what others think.
This takes practice. And for me, a lot of practice.
Comparison is a huge creative killer, but the more you practice and engage in creating, the more you learn to stay in your own lane and be happy with that.
Very often, no, I would actually say, almost always, the creative act takes you on detours and diversions, and this often leads to new paths and interests. All of a sudden, you open your eyes to something you had never considered before. And your curiosity is awakened.
There is nothing like creating art of any kind, that'll heal you inside and out. This is another proven fact.
How many artists don't we know, that have used music, poetry, writing, painting etc. as a way of coping with life?
When you heal your inside, it has physical healing too.
How can you get these benefits?
The whole point of engaging in creativity is to do it. Sorry to be so blunt. And what's really great, is that it doesn't matter what creative act you do. Or how small it is. Painting 5 minutes a day, or journaling 5 minutes a day counts.
Don't go thinking you have to be the next Elizabeth Gilbert.! She’s agreat at writing her way, but you are great (or will be) at creating your work. Get an old notebook out and scribble, write, draw or doodle. That's not only "good enough". That's GREAT!.
Create for yourself, or share with others, the benefits are yours.
If you need a little help to get started, a really good question that I will invite you to ask yourself is:
What is something I have enjoyed making or doing in the past?
And start there :-)
I truly hope this has been helpful to you.
The benefits of creating are too many not to give it a try. :-)