A psychologist explains why doing creative things frees us internally, and offers examples to help us get started.
Guillermo Dellamary is a psychologist and a regular contributor to Aleteia. Here, he explains why doing creative things frees us internally, and he offers numerous examples to help us get started.
It’s very common for people to believe that the best way to seek relief from the stresses of life is by taking medicine or waiting for the situation to change. But there’s a very practical remedy that is always within our reach to help balance our lives: engaging in creative activity – from writing a diary or painting a picture to gardening, cooking, carpentry, woodcarving, or origami.
Creating has a lot of benefits. In addition to fostering our passions and our taste for something that we enjoy, it encourages us to concentrate and strive to do something we find entertaining.
Tension is part of life
Life is not easy for most people who inhabit this beautiful planet, so it’s almost inevitable for us to live surrounded by problems and difficulties that naturally create some tension and stress. This is why it’s important to promote creative activities, of any kind, to encourage us to be healthier and not to succumb to the negative emotions that abound in our environment.
A connection with our Creator
Creative activities also inspire us to feel more connected to our Creator. Because we are made in His image and likeness, He has given us the power to create many new and original things that we can invent and produce, often simply and easily.
Creativity encourages us to imagine things more colorfully, to come up with more innovations, more novelties, and new solutions to various problems. It makes us dedicate our time to things that are more worthwhile than lamenting about life.
The results don’t have to be perfect
Creating involves doing something you haven’t done before, giving a new shape to an object, developing something that wasn’t there before. It can mean putting letters on a blank sheet of paper, with your own ideas, or making some strokes with a brush on a blank canvas, even if you don’t know how to paint or draw.
Creating doesn’t necessarily have to mean producing something perfect, but it is something that can be perfected with practice.
We have to break away from boring routines and leave aside our insecurity that we don’t know how to do something. Dare to paint something (anything!), to weave as you wish, to take care of your garden as you learn, to write whatever you want. Don’t judge yourself harshly if the results aren’t immediately up to your expectations; instead, be proud of your willingness to try, and keep trying. Whatever helps you use your creativity! You’ll soon start seeing the results, which will reduce your stress.
The worst thing we can do is to get trapped in tedium, boredom, and – above all – in passive leisure that leads us to be recipients of vast amounts of visual entertainment, thus losing the opportunity to be active, especially using our hands and feet. Physical movement helps us to de-stress.
You don’t have to be a great artist, nor be a specialist; creating is often most enjoyable when we’re doing something without pressure or a specific obligation. You can do it for pure pleasure and on a whim, because you find meaning and joy in it.
Try, try again
Creative activity, rather than tiring us, stimulates and relaxes us. It helps us improve our mood and gives us more stability. So it’s worth a try!
Take those paints and brushes out of storage in your closet or drawer, and try painting again. Or, if you’ve already started writing a novel or short stories but let this activity fall by the wayside, then take it up again. You won’t regret it!
Enter your kitchen with a new creative spirit, and make that recipe of your mother’s or that dessert that you liked so much as a child and that you hadn’t dared to make because you were afraid of making a mistake. Try again to cook something you like, and dare to invent something new, whatever you want. Reactivate your creativity and give it the mental space it deserves, as one of the most wonderful remedies we have in times of stress.
Make changes in the decoration of your home; reorganize the furniture or the location of your bed. Buy new plants or plant seeds in a pot and wait to see the fruit of your enthusiasm. All of this is very healing and within our reach, as part of our human nature.
We carry within us the remedy for many of the ills that afflict us. It all depends on us deciding to be creative.