In previous blogs we have explored our emotions and the importance of finding balance. We discussed how being creative and experiencing arts therapy techniques can enable you to create this balance. But, is there more to it than that? What role do our emotions play in the creative process?
The role of emotions in the creative process
There are many ways in which you can release your creativity, from creating visual art to undertaking scientific discovery and invention. Creativity is not just about creating something beautiful, it is also about adaptation and progress; finding new and more effective ways of approaching old problems. This holds true on a practical and emotional level, and when it comes to our wellbeing.
When it comes to the role that emotions play in the creative process there are interesting, if contradictory findings. A recent paper examined the results of 66 previous studies onto the effects of emotions on creativity. The result was a resounding agreement that emotions do affect how creative you are. But, there was not the expected split between positive and negative emotions.
While anxiety, fear and uneasy were associated with lower levels of creativity, sadness, disappointment and discouragement were found to have no effect. Similarly, being happy, elated or upbeat were associated with increased creativity, but calmness, serenity and being relaxed were found to have no correlation with creativity levels.
Creativity and changing emotional states
Of course, the link between emotions and creativity is not that simple. As well as emotions having an impact on creativity, they are also produced through creativity and the creative process. We may start out sad, but by being involved in something creative, we may find an inner happiness. This can occur at the end of the process, or at some point during it, so creativity levels, and the process develop as your emotional state changes.
So, what does this mean when you are approaching the creative process as part of an arts therapy based activity. Firstly, it means accepting your emotions, and your current emotional state. Fighting how you feel is not going to make you more creative. But, secondly, it means approaching the activity with an open mind, and using mediums that you love.
Why is this important? If anxiety makes you less creative, then working in a medium that make you worried, scared or anxious it not going to support your self-healing. However, working with a medium that you are comfortable with, or even love, will support this process, and allow you to more freely explore the emotions you are feeling. This s one of the reasons why the activities are offer on this course are so varied, and were possible are open to your interpretation and individual creativity.
As well as changing how you approach the activities, there are things you can do more generally to enhance your creativity so that you are in the right frame of mind to approach the activities on the course. These include:
· Doing what you love and using your strengths.
· Being in the present moment and experiencing the creative flow of energy.
· Sublimating the energy of negative emotions.
· Developing your sense of curiosity and wonder.
· Undertaking or exploring meditation, prayer, or spirituality.
Above all remember there are many ways to be creative and to explore and understand your emotions. While the students’ work is including in the course to inspire and support, it should not be considered the only way to achieve your goals.