There are many different mediums that can be used for tapping into our creativity. It can be fun giving different artistic methods a go in order to find the ones that you connect with the most. Here are some examples of different creative mediums that can be used:
Creating shapes from Plasticine or clay
Creating music and songs
Painting or drawing
Making a collage
knitting, sewing or felting
Doodling is the first creative method I will be covering in this series of blogs.
Doodling is often thought of as a spontaneous activity used to stave off boredom. Whether that be in a dull lecture or meeting or whilst on the telephone. Doodling is is a simple activity that requires little effort, skill or time, yet it can have a powerful impact on our minds and emotions. A psychologist called Jackie Andrade (2010) carried out a study that suggested doodling creates the right amount of stimulus to keep our brains active, rather than wondering off, which results in greater memory recall.
In 1938 Mclay et al. suggested that doodling is frequently used when:
waiting for an idea for solving a crossword puzzle... seeking inspiration, preparing lessons.... It serves not only as a recreation from concentrated work but also from mechanical repetitive activities like "memorizing", "transposing music"
Mclay et al (1938) suggests that doodling “may be an outlet for motor tension” and a “distraction of their [the doolers] thoughts from unpleasant contents.”
So doodling not only reduces boredom and engages our creativity but it can aid memory, concentration, bring inspiration, whilst reducing negative thinking and physical tension. So whilst on the surface doodling can appear as a rather pointless activity there are many benefits to engaging in it.
So, pick up that pen or pencil, give it a go and see what you think. If it’s not for you then I will be continuing these blogs for other creative ideas you can try
Another way of being creative is through movement. You don’t have to be a dancer to be able to use movement as a means of expression. Dancing encourages us to connect with our bodies and our inner world, it can be meditative or cathartic and ground us in the present moment. Movement is intrinsic to human beings and was used by Ancient humans during rituals and ceremonies.
There are some types of dance classes that are designed with the idea of movement being a gateway to increased awareness and well-being. Examples of these are 5Rhythms Ⓡ and Chakra Dance Ⓡ
Here are a couple of simple ideas on how you can start to express yourself through movement.
Stand still for a moment, connect with your body and become aware of any physical or emotional sensations. Become aware of the little movements you make in order to stay balanced. Allow the movement to get bigger, stay with that for a little while. Maybe your arms, legs and the rest of your body want to move too. Stay relaxed, focused inwards and move as your body wants (rather than the movement coming from your thoughts)
Select a piece of music. Spend a moment just listening to it, notice what emotions it invokes in you. Allow your body to gently sway to the music and your emotions in that moment, then as above, allow they rest of your body to move in the way it feels it needs to.
I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words - Ruth St. Denis
Zentangle www.zentangle.com is a concept that was created by Rick Roberts and Mary Thomas. It involves drawing structured patterns as a means of improving confidence, focus, awareness and relaxation. Whilst on initial inspection it can often be mistaken for a form of doodling, Zentangle is a more formal method for creating patterns. Whilst some Zentangle creations can look very elaborate they are often fairly simple to create. This can give the drawer confidence and appreciation of their own creative abilities. This method believes that there is no such thing as a mistake when creating an image. Any unintended marks made by the drawer are all part of the creative process and can be incorporated into the overall image. This makes Zentangle a wonderful technique for anyone who feels their ability to create is blocked by self criticism or perfectionism.
Some people think of tangling as a creative Mindfulness exercise. It can bring about a focused in the moment state of awareness that is similar to meditation.
If this is something you would like to try there are various books on how to get started, you can find information on the creators website and there are various zentangle ideas on pinterest.
Andrade, Jackie (2010) What does doodling do? Applied Cognitive Psychology, January 2010, Vol.24(1), pp.100-106
Mclay, W.S., Guttmann, M.D., and Mayer-Gross M.D., (1938) Spontaneous Drawings as an Approach to some Problems of Psychopathology: Published in Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. 31(11). Pg. 1337.
* When undertaking any form of exercise it is worth speaking to your GP beforehand