Welcome to our new Friday creativity series, its a 5 part series on creativity, how it can be part of your life and what benefits you can draw from it!
Are you creative?
It can feel like a provocative question and one which most adults are likely to answer ‘no’ to, but being creative and allowing your imagination to roam can have loads of benefits, from improving mental health to helping with energy levels and future planning.
So why are so many of us reluctant to claim our creativity?
We are all creative
A NASA study of 4 and 5 year olds found that 98% of children score genius level on tests for creativity. By the age of 9, only 30% achieve the genius score and by the time people are adults, only 2% of them are awarded the genius badge.
That’s right, you were more creative when you were younger than you are now. There are several possible reasons for this – the power of rationality, different priorities and a diminishing sense of wonder in a world that feels increasingly familiar are amongst them.
We also have a problem with the way we view creativity in the Western world. We have professional troops of singers, artists, dancers, actors. We identify those who are deemed ‘good’ at these things and we label them and put them on the stage. Those of us who don’t make the cut are told that we are not singers, artists actors or dancers and are moved out of the creativity box. Opportunities to sing, dance or be creative aren’t readily offered and we stop seeking them out because we believe they are not aimed at us.
But this outsourcing of creativity isn’t part of the human experience everywhere in the world. In many cultures, singing, dancing and being creative are simply part of everyday life, whether you’re deemed to be ‘good’ at them or not.
Creativity as part of a healthy life
Gabrielle Roth explains that in many shamanic societies, when a person is depressed or disheartened, the medicine person will ask several questions including ‘when did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories’. (N.B This quote is often viewed as problematic due to the way it gazes at so called ‘shamanic cultures’ from a Western perspective).
Roth’s quote has its problems, but the essential point is that taking part in creative activities is a necessary and routine part of the humanworld. When you stop creating, you’re risking the imbalance of your health and wellbeing.
Are you creative?
So, are you creative? Yup. You bet you are. And if you answered no when you first started reading this article, then it’s time to start rediscovering your creative self.
Over the next few weeks we will publish a series of articles exploring human creativity – what it is, how to give it a boost and why it’s so important to include creative experiences in your day to day life.
In the meantime – here’s a quick creative challenge to try to get started. When you’re brushing your teeth this evening, try brushing them differently. Switch it up. Use a different hand to brush with, start at the back and then do the front, brush without toothpaste, brush in a new location. Just think of a way to brush your teeth differently. Get creative! There’s no right or wrong way to do it.