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Bio-hack: Unlock your gift of Creative Flow

Welcome to my first blog post! And I am super excited about this one, as I am going to share some practical steps for you to begin exploring your own creativity to support your mental health and wellbeing.




CREATIVITY : HEALTH & WELLBEING LINK

Why would creativity have any effect on your health and wellbeing? Well, you might be surprised to learn that the connection goes deeper than many may realise. We live in such a beautiful age where neuroscience and psychology are beginning to offer us insights into the impact of creativity and the arts on our mental health and wellbeing. Maybe you want to feel less depressed and anxious, the arts is a great way to to release difficult energies and become more present and centred. Maybe you want to learn a little more about yourself and your sub-conscious, embodied art making can become very instrumental on the path to self-expression, discovery and creation. Creativity has lots of wonderful gems to dig up, in each and every one of us no matter our age or stage or skill-set. Here's few benefits of bringing more creativity and art into your everyday life:

- Increased self-esteem and confidence

- Reduced anxiety and depression

- Greater sense of self

- A sense of achievement and accomplisment

- Support emotional, psychological & social well being




CREATIVE BLOCKS

What is a creative block? This will look different for everyone, I am sure. The voice in your head might be telling you that you are not an artist or even have a creative bone in your body. You are probably really busy with work and day-today life? You are a perfectionist and can't stand the mess? You want to improve your skills but always feel stuck and uncomfortable? You have a general dislike for art? You want to be more creative but have no idea where to begin? You hit a creative block....


Earlier this year when I was confronted with the question 'what hinders your creativity?'; I was at a point in my artistic development that I could not even face the sight of my paint brush. It terrified me. I was very hard on myself, so much so I just did not want to paint. Often I would begin, and decide it wasn't 'good enough' or 'perfect' and I would stop. There was little joy, little energy and no desire to create anything.

Here are a few steps that have helped me to push through. I hope these can help you connect to your inner artist! And I finally picked up the paint brush and created this baby......



1. ASK YOURSELF

What hinders your creativity?


2. SOLITUDE & SELF-REFLECTION

Find your WHY?


3. DEDICATION & DISCIPLINE

Make a plan & commit to it


4. EMBRACE THE PROCESS

Push past the discomfort


5. CREATIVE FLOW

Find your balance


6. GET STARTED

The fun part


All the deats below >>>>





1. ASK YOURSELF

What hinders your creativity?


This can be very individual for everyone, often shaped by personal experiences with art and the way we view and critic ourselves. I won't write too much, stay open with this...



2. SOLITUDE & SELF-REFLECTION

Find your WHY?


Somewhere in the silence, miles away and free from the demands of the busy world outside you might begin to see, hear, feel a spark of inspiration from within. Give yourself some space to rediscover and get very clear on your WHY, your motives, your reasons, whatever these may be. Does your income rely on your creativity? Do you want to feel more relaxed and centred? Do you love being creative but are always stuck?


This is about YOU >> If we do not choose the path of self-discovery, we instead become self-conscious. Comparison, doubt and lack of self-belief can hold us captive (Pearson, 1991). Try your best not to compare yourself, your skills, your hopes and dreams to others. This is all about YOU... right here, right now and where you want to be in the future.


Remember your WHY whenever you want to you give up.

3. DEDICATION & DISCIPLINE

Make a plan & commit to it


Your WHY is only the beginning. Just like anything you are trying for the first time or trying to become better at you must 'exercise' to achieve this and reprogram sub-conscious behaviours. This requires self-awareness, planning and commitment. It does not need to be much, 15mins, three times a week. Start small and stick with it.


Struggling to push past the first minute >> "Don't like it? Do it for one minute longer. Still don't like it? Do it for another minute... and repeat until you ARE doing it.


4. EMBRACE THE PROCESS

Push past the discomfort

It will be uncomfortable, I can't and won't even sugar coat this part. (or not? maybe there are people out there who LOVE the chaos, the mess, the unpredictability? but you probably won't be reading this...) I still struggle and often dislike the process of creating anything new. I become the procrastination Queen and become very busy all of a sudden, at it's height I may even clean my house top to bottom... The best way I get through this, is to hold the discomfort lightly, notice that it is there. You may find things like fear and self-doubt creeping in at this part. It is all entirely normal and natural as we seek familiarity and comfort to feel safe and secure but creating something new can push these boundaries immensely. Yet, as you create and overcome some of these fears and doubts during the process you will begin to feel that it is ok to let go of some control and feel a sense of accomplishment and alignment. That's the exciting part! Feeling like you can do this, like you can do anything! Which of course, you can.


5. CREATIVE FLOW

Find your balance

This is the fun part, finding what really gets your creative juices flowing! I will draw upon Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow Theory. It has been through finding the right balance of using my highest level of skill and highest level of challenge that I have found creative flow in my ideas and paintings, overflowing into others areas of my life such as my studies and business. So take a look and see if you can find yourself something that meets your skills and challenges you just enough to hold your attention! I have designed a cute chart, in pink of course for you to look at based on his magical Flow Theory. I look at this like a ferris wheel, going around and around through the seasons, where you may not always be in your flow. That's totally ok too.




6. GET STARTED

The fun part

Don't know where to begin? Use your hands and get into it! I have a couple of easy ideas / approaches to kick you off if you are stuck...

1. Chalk Pastels

2. Magazine Collage




1. Chalk Pastels Embodied Expression

This approach is purely based on feeling and creation without too much depth of cognitive thought or analysis.


The technique below is super easy, anyone can give it a go! The rubbing can be rhythmic and soothing, and the colours striking!


Supplies Required:

- Thick paper

- Chalk Pastels

- Masking Tape

- Fabric or Handy Towel to rub chalk to paper


Step 1:

Mask page with desire shape i.e square

Step 2:

Choose colours you feel drawn and rub / blend onto page

Step 3:

Remove masking tape to reveal crisp, clean edges (most satisfying part!)


Extra:

What does it mean to you? Start with a word list of all the things that come to mind when looking at your artwork. You could even write a little poem.




2. Magazine Collage Cognitive Creations

Sometimes it can make more sense to think about something you want to document, or something that's bothering you. Collage is such a great way to add simple images and words that may otherwise be difficult to find, articulate or depict (this is so great if drawing isn't your thing, or struggle visualising images).


This technique super easy, for all ages and stages. Cutting and ripping magazines can feel rather therapeutic, and you can make up images you may not even have thought of before.


Supplies Required:

- Thick paper

- Old magazines

- Gluestick

- Scissors


Step 1:

- Cut / Rip / Glue images and/or words that appeal to you from the magazine


And you're done! Enjoy your collage.



ENJOY UNLOCKING YOUR INNER CREATIVITY

I hope some of these tips will be helpful to you on your pursuit of creativity. It is a journey that sometimes comes naturally, and sometimes can be a tough grind! But once you arrive, it is truly beautiful, rewarding and magical. I will be exploring lots of other creative outlets in future blogs, if you have any requests or anything you would like to share feel free to get in touch, I would love to hear from you! Want to share your creations with me? #look_lizzy





On a serious note, should any art-making processes stir up some difficult emotions you can reach out to me on here or there are links to other services that are also available to you in New Zealand:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/

https://mherc.org.nz/

https://www.anzacata.org/


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© 2019 by Elizabeth Faye.