Recipe for Creative Wellness
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Are you craving expression in your life? Here is my favorite recipe for creative wellness. This recipe only requires about 30 minutes from start to finish!
- 1 cup of simply beginning
- 2 teaspoons of open to possibilities
- 1 ½ teaspoon of changing perspectives
- 3 cups of curiosity
- 1/3 cup of challenging assumptions
- 2 teaspoons of reconnecting with your inner child
- 1 ½ teaspoon of vulnerability
- 1 dash of honesty
- Prep a supply bag*, you never know when your creative space will be calling. Make sure to find a secluded creative space at home, during your lunch break, or outside in a park. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
- Simply begin, knowing how to begin expressing creative energy can be difficult. Being open to possibilities provides a space to continually transform ideas that may provide insight and skills for creative problem-solving.
- Change of perspective. Looking from different viewpoints not only helps gain perspective, but it also helps develop a higher level of empathy for yourself and others.
- Mix in a whole lot of curiosity. It’s human instinct to explore and seek knowledge. In an everchanging world, our brains have evolved to release dopamine and other chemicals that boost mood when engaging in new things. The symbolism and aesthetic pleasure of art-making have been shown to increase levels of dopamine (Zaidel D. W., 2010).
- Challenge assumptions and reconnect with your inner child. Sometimes we fear to create due to assumptions about a product's aesthetic success. Throughout childhood, the brain adapts by creating new pathways to cope with internal and external stressors. Reconnect with your inner child and welcome imagination to ignite new pathways.
- Next combine, vulnerability, and honesty. Vulnerability is often seen as a weakness. However, it takes courage and honesty to share true emotions and ideas. Creative outlets provide a safe place for imperfections, expectations, and fears of the unknown to be heard.
- After all ingredients have been mixed, take a moment to reflect and acknowledge the time you’ve dedicated to your creative space. Engaging in 45 minutes of art-making has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol (Kaimal et al., 2016).
The staff at Project Courage encourages clients to explore creative wellness to help manage strong emotional and environmental stressors that may trigger substance use. Learning to manage triggers with creative tools can reduce stress within the mind and body. The satisfaction of art-making is received by the viewing or interruption of visual aspects (mind) and by the physical interaction with materials (body). This satisfaction is seen by the body as a “reward” and replaces the same neurotransmitters used for substance use activation (Hass-Coehn & Carr, 2008). The staff at Project Courage also engages in creative wellness to build on team communication, improve self-awareness and problem-solving skills.
*Creative Supply Bag
- Journal or sketch pad;
- Markers, graphite pencils, colored pencils, oil pastels;
- Glue sticks, mod podge (paintbrush);
- Paper towels or hand wipes;
- Scissors, erasers;
- Magazines, old books, photos;
- Nature items & more!
By: Heather Congdon, LPC-A, MAATC
Hass-Cohen N., & Carr R. (2008). Art Therapy and Clinical Neuroscience. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Kaimal, G., Ray, K., & Muniz, J. (2016). Reduction of cortisol levels and participants' responses following art-making. Art therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 33(2), 74–80. https://doi.org/10.1080/07421656.2016.1166832
Zaidel D. W. (2010). Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology, and evolution. Journal of Anatomy, 216(2), 177–183. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01099.x
By: Heather Congdon