“I saw a direct connection between consciously expressing our creativity and healing our lives” – Jacob Nordby
Every human is creative
baking * cooking * restoring cars * raising animals * gardening/farming * canning food * landscape design * photography * making herbal products * website design * interior decorating *painting/drawing * flower arranging * writing * creating a language * carpentry * dancing * acting/directing * playing an instrument * composing music * singing * hairstyling * doll-making * puppetry * sewing * fashion design * jewellery making * knitting/crocheting * furniture restoration * arts and crafts * blogging … (Jacob Nordby, The Creative Cure – 2021)
There has been extensive research on the benefits of creativity – of creating something, anything. One of the main benefits of creativity is the improvement of wellbeing, through an individual’s functioning, both mental and physical. Creativity can take place individually, socially, educationally, medically, and in rehabilitation settings.
As Jacob Nordby (2021) says as a result of his creativity workshops, ‘I saw a direct connection between consciously expressing our creativity and healing our lives.’ For some, creativity is a process of self-discovery; for others it is a process of self-recovery. It is enjoyable as a stand-alone activity, as a means of ‘keeping busy, keeping active’ or as a means of income.
In art, creativity can come through painting, illustrating, cartooning, finger painting, doodling, carving, sculpting, metalwork, stitching, pottery, ceramics, photography, collages – and the list is endless.
American psychologist and artist Margaret Naumburg (1890-1983) believed that, through creativity, people could awaken their unconscious thoughts and feelings – for some, feelings that they have repressed for a long time. For some people, their artwork reveals their true feelings at the time, or over time, and can promote healing. Creativity, such as art, used specifically for healing to accompany standard psychological and medical treatments, can help to address the needs of the following (Medical News Today, 29 September 2020, What is art therapy, and how does it work?):
- people who experienced trauma, such as combat or a natural disaster
- individuals with significant health challenges, including traumatic brain injuries and cancer
- people with certain conditions, such as depression and anxiety
- people with autism
- people with dementia
- people with eating disorders
- people with stress-related conditions.
Therapy practitioners, help groups, and self-help individuals use creativity for the following:
- improving their approach to conflict resolution and anger management
- enhancing social skills
- managing stress
- strengthening self-regulation
- improving an understanding of self
- facing childhood and past traumas
- improving functionality of disabilities and injuries
- addressing cognitive limitations
- improving expressions of feelings and emotions.
Naumburg wrote about art, but Nordby writes about all and any types of creativity. He says in The Creativity Cure (2021) that ‘Besides being fun, creativity offers a path out of stagnation, unhappiness, self-judgement, and the kind of robotic living that leaves so many of us unfulfilled. Creativity is a forgotten cure for these life-depleting ailments and a spiritual practice for returning to your truest self and living a life of love.’
Creativity is for everyone – it is not only for people who are ‘good’ at creativity. It can take place anywhere – it can occur locally or globally. An example is when people from all over the globe contribute to a specific artistic and creative project.
Creativity can be done for a singular purpose – just for the sake of it. But, generally, the end product is presented to someone somewhere. It is performed or shown or installed or displayed or screened, etc. Therefore, creativity could have multiple benefits with implications not only for individuals, but also for communities and for society.
People do not have feel creative to be creative. In addition, studies have found that simply looking at anything creative can provide benefits – such as visiting an art gallery, museum, community art installation, concert, outdoor event, etc. The appreciation of creativity can be soothing, but also inspirational.
Jacob Nordby defines creativity as ‘the process by which imagination becomes reality’ but for some, the reality does not look like their imagination, their initial vision. This can be frustrating, disappointing, and even depressing – primarily brought about by individual expectations.
Creative people can get creative blocks – periods of time when they want to be creative but nothing happens – and this can cause stress and anxiety. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld said, ‘Clear thinking at the wrong moment can stifle creativity.’ Nordby also provides information on three forces that can dampen creative impulses: socialisation, traumatic experiences, and rejection.
Creativity therapy and activities do not necessarily address core issues.
“Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature – all are lottery tickets for creativity. Scratch away at them and you’ll find out how big a prize you’ve won.” – Twyla Tharp
“When the artist loses herself in her art, then the art comes to life.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan
DISCLAIMER: This website’s author does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for physical, emotional, or medical problems without the advice of a physician or psychologist, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, information provided here is not intended to replace readers’ existing or other medical, psychological, financial, or legal advice. The author’s intent is to offer general information to help readers in their quest for emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, guidance towards self-empowerment, and/or for entertainment purposes only. Rainy Day Healing and Martina Nicolls shall not be held accountable for any loss which may arise from any readers’ reliance and implementation of any information provided. For information on courses and personal consultations, see TERMS AND CONDITIONS.