“The right words to express oneself can never be found in any dictionary.” -Marty Rubin
When emotions build up, stress follows. Releasing your emotional valve relieves the burden of stress as well. Creative hobbies enable self-expression in ways that feel fun and satisfying. They are as unique to an individual as the emotions expressed through them.
A Fact with Wow Factor
Individuals who incorporate creative activities into everyday life report higher levels of happiness. [Source]
Stress Less Tip
Every experience of your life gets assigned an emotion. That's how your brain organizes and stores memories for later recall. Processing that emotion, or expressing it, ensures assimilation of its associated experience.
Imagine that each experience passes along an assembly line on a conveyor belt. The first stop colors the experience with emotion. At the next stop, awareness of the emotion occurs. Another stop further down the line assigns purpose or meaning to the emotion. At the last stop, the brain tucks the complete package away in its library of experiences.
If an experience stalls somewhere along the line, one of three things likely happened:
Suspending the process of self-expression at any point amplifies an emotion. From there, an emotion carries the potential for both positive and negative responses. Take overgeneralization of fear during a threatening dog encounter as an example. If this happens, you'll fear and therefore avoid all dogs, not just the dog that caused the initial fear. At the other end of the spectrum, holding on to feelings of gratitude breeds generalized positivity.
Responses to the same situation may also differ, given different initial emotions. Consider the two outcomes below, both prompted by extra attention from others due to illness or injury.
Projecting this emotional processing into an external art form helps move it along. Creative outlets in particular clear persistent complex or uncomfortable emotions. Other times, the creative release offers a reprieve from grief or chronic pain. Though temporary, it replenishes coping reserves. Developing creativity also builds and maintains a positive identity, or sense of self. Perhaps most important, creativity adds immeasurable value to our perceived quality of life.
When engaged in an expressive art, your brain waves slow to produce mental clarity and relaxation. Other benefits include:
Exploring a new art form fuels the desire to create. What works for you may not work for your closest companion, and what works today may not work next year. To stay curious and captivated, change how you bring your ideas and feelings to life from time to time.
Invite your creative side to come out a play! Browse the list of hobbies below, one for every letter of the alphabet, to get you started.
Pick one of the creative pursuits above, and click the link to find out how to get started. Plan to spend at least 15 minutes at a time on your expressive hobby.
Don't be surprised if you find the prized "flow state," also called "the zone," in your creative endeavor. It presents as a period of intense focus, connectedness to the task, and an effortless stream of creative output. It may even alter how you perceive the passing of time!
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