Most of us are happy when we are in a creative groove, but what about those times when our creative spark dies out and we need to increase our creativity? This time of year (Thanksgiving) always reminds me of this great little trick that I try and do every day – showing gratitude.
I think most of us know that’s its good practice to be thankful, but did you know there has been research done to prove that? When you show gratitude your brain releases dopamine that floods your system, turning the learning centers on. Its like jumpstarting your brain! Crazy, right? Crazy awesome! When you take time to think of things you are grateful for your energy rises. Taking just 2 minutes out of our day, every day, to be thankful actually allows us to have higher levels of intelligence, it triples our levels of creativity, and increases our ability to solve problems. Being thankful allows us to feel joy, thus makes us look at life with more optimism. When we look at life with more optimism, we see more opportunities! With results like this, how can you not take 2 minutes out of your day to be thankful and show gratitude?
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To find out more about this proven research check out The Happiness Advantage (affiliate link) by Shawn Achor.
Taking this gratitude into a creative realm there is a great activity that I learned from Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way for Parents (affiliate link). This is an activity for both you and your little creative, as you both will benefit from expressing gratitude together. Remember, our children learn from us and what we do, so in order to pass on this amazing gift of gratitude we must start by doing it ourselves.
Try It – An Activity to help Increase Creativity:
1. SIT down with your creative and take turns naming one thing you are grateful for. Try and do this for 2 minutes. Feel free to write them down if you’d like.
TIP: You can be thankful for an experience, a thing, a person, an animal, something someone said, or did etc.
2. CHOOSE one of the things that you’re thankful for, and ask your child to do the same.
3. MAKE a ‘creative offering‘ referencing what you are grateful for, some ideas might be:
- draw a picture of what you’re grateful for
- make up a poem about it
- write a song about it
- collage bits of paper and other materials together
- sculpt it out
- paint it
A NOTE: As well as bringing joy, as described above, gratitude relieves pressure, and this exercise will naturally restore an emotional balance. It’s a great project to bring out when you or your little creative might be having a hard time.
My Take Away:
I think I had 2 big takeaways from this activity. Firstly, I am really going to try and keep up the 2 minutes a day to be thankful. It’s currently the first thing I do every morning. I’ve then been using our time in the car to and from school as time to talk to my children about what I am thankful for, and in turn finding out what they are thankful for. It’s always so interesting to hear what they’re thankful for, sometimes it reminds me to remember the little things – like Captain America costumes and closets.
Secondly, I think that this exercise is a great way to start a drawing or a project when you’re in a creative rut and don’t know where to start. Starting a conversation, even if it’s just with yourself, about gratitude is a sure way to spark a thought about something you love, or a positive experience you are thankful for. For me, sometimes it’s even color combo’s like my neighbors glorious aqua pots with luscious red flowers that I pass by every morning. Even if the things that you’re grateful for don’t inspire your next project, you’re feeding your brain happiness and allowing it to open up to something that will inspire you.
Do Tell: Leave a comment below
- What are you thankful for?
- How did you feel after doing this activity?
- Will you join me in taking 2 minutes daily to show gratitude?
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