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The Joy of Creativity

In this Campfire Chat, we explored the Joy of Creativity!

Creativity is everywhere. It’s what makes life interesting, what keeps us all moving forward, and provides an invaluable source of escapism. But how can creativity be used to help support our mental wellbeing? Are we all creative? And why is creativity so important?

Key discussion points in the Campfire Chat included:

What does creativity mean to you?

When you research the term creativity, there are hundreds of different definitions. It can mean so many different things to different people, but it ultimately comes down to imagination – the ability to use your imagination to create. Innovation comes from creativity, and we cannot hope to move forward without it. It gives us confidence in our convictions and is a vital form of self-expression.

To explore this further, there is a fantastic article by Peter Connolly and Aoife Raleigh, Imagination and its role in innovation and wellbeing, which perfectly brings these concepts together.

Why is it important?

Challenging perceptions

Creativity is a highly effective tool for challenging our perceptions. What you might see as beautiful, someone else might not be able to stand. Creativity allows space for communication, discussion and progression. It gives us the freedom to explore new things, do something different, think outside the box and build self-confidence.

Self-development

As humans, we don’t like ambiguity. Our lives are based around goals and deadlines. All this structure leaves little room for imagination. As we get older and gain more responsibility, we lose that imagination and capacity to dream that we had as children. We start to focus on what is realistic and productive.

In today’s world, there is a certain pressure to constantly be ‘doing’ and we have become fearful of boredom. In a world of smart phones, there is no longer capacity for boredom. We’re no longer used to just sitting with our thoughts. It’s unfamiliar and unnerving but is extremely useful when it comes to exploring new ideas and concepts. The best ideas come from giving our imaginations the time and space to flourish.

Switching off

Creativity allows us to switch off. Doing something you enjoy and that is meaningful to you allows you to become completely absorbed and takes you away from the worries of the outside world.

Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s flow theory explains this concept.

When we start making creativity an obligation, it no longer serves us. Implementing creativity into your life is an active decision, but once it becomes a ‘must’ rather than a pleasure, it loses its power. It is therefore hugely important to find something that makes your heart sing, rather than latching onto what you think creativity should be. If it isn’t meaningful to you, it won’t be beneficial. We each need to be brave enough to be curious and experiment, in order to discover what’s truly important to us.

Creativity doesn’t have to be conventional

Creativity takes many forms, and it doesn’t have to mean sitting and painting a masterpiece, writing a novel, pottery, or anything artistic. It simply has to involve your imagination. Whether that be coming up with an inventive way of treating a particularly difficult patient or simply sitting and looking out the window on the train rather than reaching for your phone, creativity can be applied to a whole manner of circumstances.

Panellist top tips:

  • Ask yourself the question, what if?
  • If you can, block out time in your diary to do nothing. Don’t label it as self-care, as by doing that you place an obligation on yourself to do something and it then becomes an inconvenience. Just spend time with your imagination.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy – there is no hierarchy when it comes to creativity so do whatever you want to do for you. Not for anyone else. It’s about the process and doing something that you find meaningful. Keep going until you find something that works for you.
  • Have fun, take baby steps, and just do it and trial it!

If you’re currently struggling with your mental health, Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached on: 0303 040 2551. Or if you prefer, you can send them a confidential email.

The Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached on 116 123 or send a confidential email to jo@samaritans.org.

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