Feel Better and Be More Productive: Unclogging Creative Outlets

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Having creative outlets is important for good mental health but many of us reach adulthood feeling guilty about time spent on pleasurable activities.

There are many depressed and anxious people who could find some relief by putting their guilt aside and enjoying a hobby or avocation.

Humans have an itch to explore their curiosity, inventiveness, and express the things that stir their joy. We can apply creative thinking to anything we do but nothing substitutes for the expansiveness generated when creative instincts are let loose on our interests.

The Western culture has created a powerful link between being productive and financial survival or success. There is nothing wrong with having success to satisfy our needs and wants. The problem is with limiting the definition of productivity to material, bankable gains.

The Productivity of Enjoying Creative Outlets

  1. Increased Energy
    Creative endeavors energize us. Physically we may tire, but something within us becomes excited or satisfied.
  2. Tranquility
    Hobbies relieve stress by slowing and focusing the mind on an enjoyable project of our own choosing. Being absorbed by an activity has a meditative, calming effect on us.
  3. Better Physical Health
    Sustained, high levels of stress are harmful to our mind and body. Reducing our stress intensity is a boon to our overall health and sense of well being.
  4. Brain Boost
    Creative thinking keeps our gray matter flexible and causes the brain’s neural network to continue developing new pathways; use it or lose it.
  5. Better Problem Solving
    A sharp, flexible brain makes its owner a more innovative problem solver. This mental acuity will spill into other areas of our life and help us connect the dots when necessary.
  6. Better Relationships
    Feeling good, having energy, thinking clearly, and enjoying our interests can only have a positive effect on our relationships. We make ourselves less needy and have more things of interest to share with others.

Many of us stop pursuing avocations when we realize they will not generate a living income; our creativity becomes a waste of time. We also ignore our talents because we fear our best will not be as great as we hoped, or that our efforts will never match up to those of others.

Another common creative hangup is thinking our talents are only worthy if they lead to fame or change the world in a big way. No wonder we get depressed. In our society it takes courage and determination to enjoy creative outlets simply to enjoy them.

It makes sense to follow our interests, talents, and creative juices. Those things are so much a part of us that stress is generated by not giving them time and attention. They may be within to guide us, to help us navigate throughout our lives; by denying their expression it follows that we will feel lost.

"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, an poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself." ~ Abraham Maslow

Photo by John Nyboer


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