It’s a common misconception that creativity is only reserved for people who paint, draw, write, sing, and so on. In reality, all of us have the potential to explore creativity in different ways, developing a sense of satisfaction that fuels our recovery success. We offer these tips for tapping into your imagination and innovation.
The Philosophy of Creativity
Like many aspects of the human condition, creativity has been studied from multiple scientific angles. For example, the philosophy department at Stanford University indicates the term “creative” applies to three things: “a person, a process, or a product (where a product could be an idea, performance, or physical artifact).” Additionally, the department’s research shares some positive points about how we can build upon creative opportunities, which we provide verbatim:
- Creativity [is] a disposition—involving both the ability and the motivation—to produce things that are new and valuable, and to do so in ways that express one’s agency through the exercise of choice, evaluation, understanding, and judgment.
- At least some people can learn to enhance their creative motivation.
- At least some people can learn to enhance their creative abilities.
- So, at least some people can learn to become more creative.
The American Psychological Association (APA) states in this article that “despite the widely held belief that some people just aren’t endowed with the creativity gene, there’s not really any evidence that one person is inherently more creative than another.”
What’s even more encouraging is that we all have the ability to cultivate a habit of creativity. The APA suggests doing this by working through four skill sets:
- Capture new ideas. Write them down, record them into your phone, doodle them out—whatever it takes to not let them slip away.
- Seek out challenging tasks. “Take on projects that don’t necessarily have a solution. This causes old ideas to compete, which helps generate new ones,” according to the APA.
- Broaden your knowledge. Just because a topic doesn’t have direct relatability to something you currently do shouldn’t limit your interest in it.
- Surround yourself with interesting things and people. Visit a new museum. Go to a different type of concert featuring music you don’t normally listen to. Schedule regular dinners with friends. These are just a few ways to stimulate creativity.
Creativity is also essential to better mental health management. Diversus Health reports that “spending time on creative goals during the day is associated with higher activated positive affect. Positive affect refers to positive moods people experience including joy, happiness, and optimism.”
Many inpatient addiction rehabilitation centers, including Willingway, have recreation therapy as part of their treatment programs, which frequently incorporates various opportunities for people to use creativity as another reliable coping technique for reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional health disorders.
“Practicing creativity is a wellness exercise, similar to having a healthy diet and steady workout routine. Even if we don’t think of ourselves as artists or creative innovators, we all have a varying amount of energy, intelligence, and discipline to expand on our ability to express ourselves and be creative,” the organization adds.
More Ideas for Exploring Your Creativity
In addition to the skills mentioned above, experiment with the following ideas to discover what helps enhance your creative thinking.
- Be more curious. Ask questions and seek to understand the world around you. Try different hobbies and experiences to stimulate this thought process.
- Practice divergent thinking. You’ve heard the old adage “think outside the box”? It really helps to challenge yourself to consider various solutions or ideas rather than the usual conventional perspective.
- Allow time for reflection. Mindfulness, meditation, and introspection expand self-awareness and focus, which helps you gain new insights and make connections.
- Change your environment. Get out into nature, try a new route to work, travel more…these and other shifts create different thought processes.
- Take more breaks. Our first inclination is to just power through, but it’s vital to allow for breaks during intense work or problem-solving sessions—even therapy. This helps prevent burnout and fosters creativity. Relax with your eyes closed, listen to music, or take a walk.
- Read widely. Consider all types of materials and genres to spark new ideas.
- Practice creativity exercises. Use prompts to stimulate thinking, brainstorm with other people, play with mind mapping, and other unique applications.
- Stay open. Cultivate an open mind and be willing to explore unconventional ideas. And avoid judging your own thoughts too quickly—let ideas percolate a bit before evaluating their potential.
Whether you want to imagine and then manifest something into existence, or just want to become a calmer, more rational problem solver, consider yourself a creative person with the ability and motivation to do so.
Willingway: Decades of Whole-Person Care
While you may have a particular health condition, you’re not simply a diagnosis. At our Georgia and Florida addiction rehabilitation locations, we customize evidence-based treatment plans to help people not only address addiction, behavioral, and mental disorders, but also recognize their many facets of being and improve upon each one. This whole-person treatment approach provides better opportunities for long-term recovery. If you or a loved one is ready for this type of dedicated comprehensive care, please call us today.