Wellness as Creativity
“Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity. Creativity is so fascinating that when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of our lives”.
(Goff, 1993; Myers & Sweeney, 2005; Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer, 2000).
During a recent interview for ‘Travel Writers Radio’ on my experience leading ‘Expert Wellness Workshops’ for LUX* Resorts in the Maldives and Mauritius, I was asked how Creativity correlates to Wellness.
My overly passionate views couldn’t help but ignite, over this obvious yet often overlooked link.
To me, these concepts are inseparable; I discovered this during a very dark period in my life after a divorce, where I struggled with anxiety and depression. It was my reconnection and engagement with my own innate creativity, which opened the doors to my ability to heal myself.
For a time, I had moved back home with my parents, whom I hadn’t lived with in over 8 years. I remember opening one of my Dad’s old sketchbooks at the kitchen table and as I began to sketch on the blank forgotten pages, which had delicately yellowed with time, I felt the constant tremors from the anxiety begin to still.
For days I remained at that table, which felt like an island within the churning ocean of life. I filled the pages with lines, shapes and images as I gently reconnected the threads to a part of myself, which had long been abandoned.
Coupled with a daily yoga practice, and later, meditation, I found a sense of hope and built up the necessary resiliency to piece my life back together.
I’ve not mentioned this as openly until now, but I want to be honest about my journey and the place of integrity and vulnerability from which namARTste arose.
“Creativity correlates highly with a person’s overall sense of well-being and wellness”. (Goff, 1993; Myers & Sweeney, 2005; Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer, 2000).
Because creativity asks us to tap into a dynamic, interactive and imaginative state of consciousness, we find both refuge and inspiration waiting for us. It builds our sense of competency, our desire to continue dreaming-up and inventing, to share an inner aspect of ourselves extrinsically. Building a bridge between the inner and outer landscape. We no longer keep things bottled-up, but rather have a healthy and theraputic way in which to express ourselves, which in turn, builds our overall sense of wellbeing.
“Henri Matisse, changed his artistic style because of intestinal cancer at age 70 from oil painting to doing paper cutout murals for the last 13 years of his life” (Zausner, 2007).
“His latter originality added to his reputation and his place in art history but more significantly, Matisse’s creativity added to his energy and outlook on life. Most likely Matisse’s creativity added to his longevity since he found a new purpose and outlet in life.”
(Samuel T. Gladding, Creativity and Wellness)
It seems to me, to be a bit of a chicken versus the egg scenario. Does creativity feed wellness or does wellness feed creativity? Personally, I believe that regardless of which comes first, Creativity is correlated directly with wellness in that “it enables people to become healthier through:
- Perceiving new worldviews,
- Being innovative,
- Strengthening their resiliency
- Shoring up psychological and physical dimensions of their lives
- Remembering and respecting the past, and
- Taking control of their lives by keeping events in perspective.
“Creative individuals are adaptive, intelligent, open, playful, determined, motivated, and have a wide range of interests as well as considerable energy. They gravitate toward environments that are supportive of their efforts or they find ways to devise and positively utilize the surroundings in which they live.” (Samuel T. Gladding, Creativity and Wellness)
Another important wellness factor, which has developed in my life, is the ritual of creativity. Taking the time to carve out the space in my day. Whether it’s getting out the paints for 30 minutes after a long day of work as the sun gently sets, or colouring with a cup of tea, writing in bed with an honest glass of wine, or allowing myself to be romanced by the light of a screen as ideas pour from my fingertips. These rituals add to my overall wellbeing, they feed me in a way which nothing else has ever come close to.
Science or no science, life experience has led me to believe wholly in the practice of creativity as a cultivation of wellbeing. I see these two aspects as inseparable. Beautifully so.
“Overall, creativity and wellness belong together in the promotion of healthy human beings. they overlap. (Samuel T. Gladding, Creativity and Wellness.)