How Wellbeing Practices Can Support Creativity
Creativity is not only something that artists do, it is a way of being in the world. The process of creativity can be both rewarding and challenging, often requiring deep introspection and a nuance of emotional sensitivity that can be taxing as well. For this reason it is essential for artists and anyone engaged in creative practices to care for their physical, emotional, and mental health. Practising wellbeing can have a significant impact on nervous system regulation and creative output. Here are some ways in which wellbeing practices can support the creative process.
Reducing stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can hinder an artist's ability to focus on their work and channel their creative energy effectively. Practising meditation, breathwork, or yoga can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts the effects of chronic stress. By reducing stress and anxiety, artists might have more access to mental clarity and focus, leading to greater creative processes and output.
Creating space for imagination
We live in an age where our attention is constantly being hijacked and over-stimulated by technology. The space that was once filled with imagination is now crowded with information. Engaging in wellbeing practices offers us an opportunity to disconnect from our devices and reconnect with the environment around us and each other, which can inspire new ways of thinking and relating.
Boosting mood and motivation
Wellbeing practices such as exercise, spending time in nature, or engaging in creative activities can help to boost mood and motivation. Studies have shown that physical activity, such as cardio exercise or yoga, can improve heart health and increase heart rate variability, which is associated with lower levels of stress and anxiety. Activities that promote wellbeing can energise us and inspire creativity.
Practising self-reflection and mindfulness can help anyone to develop greater self-awareness and a deeper understanding of their own emotions and experiences. By cultivating a greater sense of self-awareness, artists can create more authentic and meaningful work. Wellbeing practices such as journaling, meditation, or therapy can support creative exploration.
Cultivating a sense of community
Creativity is often associated with solitude, and while that is true, creativity also requires social stimulation and the art of good conversation to inspire new ideas. Connecting with other artists can provide valuable support and feedback, which can help to improve the quality of the work produced. Participating in group activities, such as art classes or workshops, can also help to cultivate a sense of community, leading to greater motivation and inspiration.
Improving nervous system function
Wellbeing practices have been shown to have numerous benefits for the nervous system, which can in turn have a positive impact on the creative processes. Meditation, breathwork, and therapeutic bodywork can reduce the stress response and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can counteract the effects of chronic stress and burnout. Practices such as mindfulness meditation and somatics have been shown to improve immune function and reduce the risk of illness.
In essence, practising wellbeing can have a significant impact on our overall health and creativity, by reducing stress and anxiety, creating time to slow down and tune into the imagination, boosting mood and motivation, enhancing self-awareness, cultivating a sense of community, and improving nervous system function.
When our bodies have been tended to, our mind is at ease, and our nervous system is rested and regulated, we also have more capacity to engage with the unknown, which is perhaps one of the most essential ingredients for creativity. Well known psychotherapist and author, Esther Perel says that “creativity is an active engagement with the unknown,” and without it we may never know what is beyond the next horizon.