A Guide to Creative Expression – How to Overcome Negativity with Creativity

Whether you’re a working mother, exhausted freelancer or a student with too much guilt yet no results – look through this helpful guide to creative expression and its benefits.

A volunteer’s guide to creative expression:

Cat relaxing on window
(How do humans recover from fatigue, when there’s so many deadlines? Author: Chris Barbalis)

All too often we hit a slump, where work doesn’t feel all that fulfilling anymore. Your own pace seems too monotone or too slow. Is it burnout or is it laziness, we ask ourselves, not knowing that the best way out of it often lies right under our noses. We don’t have to overthink or use our mind. Just our hands!

Being creative with Claymaking
(Your hands are not just for tapping and clicking. Use them! Author: Alex Jones)

Negativity vs Creativity

Many studies have shown that doing art of any kind: painting, drawing, writing, crafting: sculpting, ceramics, knitting, etc. is as healthy to our minds and bodies as doing yoga or practicing mindfulness. The Scientific American claims that „The researchers found that only creativity—not intelligence or overall openness—decreased mortality risk“. As well as that creative people’s ability to handle stress is much higher, since they tend not to get as easily flustered when faced with an emotional or physical hurdle. The creative mindset sees things less as obstacles and more like challenges. So why do we often find reasons to not create?

The Lessons from Childhood

As a kid, I always loved to make collages. I would steal my grandmother’s magazines and start cutting the hair, eyebrows, dresses, and glueing each part into the paper, creating some colourful, vaguely human image. I lost those collages a long time ago, but they bring nothing but sweet memories when I think about them. Yet at one point, I stopped doing them. We’ve all dropped a childhood passion one time, and never picked it up again. School, friends, growing up, needing to find a job, right?

The cost of digitalization means that modern generations have access to more resources, all of them through one media – our screen. Learning or working through one screen, whether we like it or not, becomes dull. That is why it is so refreshing when we turn our focus on anything else: playing with pets, cooking, watching TV, taking walks. But there is that small sense of guilt that comes with consuming media or relaxing, that feeling that we are wasting time, not being productive. That feeling often makes people feel guilty instead of refreshed when they get back to work.

What’s the solution?

As cheesy as it sounds, every one of us should experience ‚going back to your roots‘. Pick up the pencil again, start strumming the guitar again, find patterns to sew online. You will relax and have something to offer to the world. To yourself, most importantly.

A few tips

  • Observe & Listen – an underrestimated tactic to relax, calm yourself, and learn. Take time throughout the day to sit still and watch. Due to busy schedules and our monitors, we are often oblivious of the world around us. Inspiration comes from the small corners most people forget to see. Be the one to catch that!
  • Make notes – write down small flashes of ideas, happy moments, soft reminders to take care of yourself. Ideally, this is the opposite of a time organizer, where momentary thoughts become timeless. For example, I have a little sketchbook where I draw what I see and write down any wise or funny things I hear.
  • Fake it till you make it – the hardest of them all. Confidence makes me think of a straight back and proud smile, a person in sunglasses fearlessly walking through the streets with the latest fashion. But the true confidence is the subtle one, quiet determination to bring and vocalize your ideas to the world, no matter what. Confidence is key to your professional work and business. It goes hand in hand with creativity, proving to be a deadly combo.

If you’d like to learn more tips on self-improvement, click here!

– Mina ♥️