Creativity allows us new insights into our pain and problems. Putting cold logic aside, and using the creative part of the brain, we can access new levels of understanding to see what is bothering us.
Here are a few ways that help to explore our problems using creative solutions and non-linear thinking.
- Free Association
This means writing down anything that bubbles up and needs to come up. It could be a string of words, or sentences that make sense but they just come out without you holding them back. To get into this type of flow, it can help to have a daily journal practice going. If you need a little push, then you can ask questions (so the analytical part of your mind comes into play), and then answer them in any which way you want. Such as “If I were honest about how that made me feel, I would….” And finish the sentence in the most real way for you.
- Structure Your Writing
With this way, you can take some control of the pen. You may actively choose to write down such things as affirmations, or what you are grateful for.
You could try to write a letter to someone, either a friend or someone who has hurt you. In this way you are thinking and working on each sentence to best represent your feelings. Seeing your pain out there, on the paper, is a fantastic way to view it from a new angle, see different solutions that you hadn’t thought of before – as well as shedding the weight of carrying it around with you. It’s no longer a part of you. But it’s still there for you to access it if you need to.
- Creative Writing
Stories and Poems may be more natural to you, or if not, try them anyway. With a story you can write about any character you like, and have them work through their own issues. This way, you can see from a distance how others might react. Allowing the creative part of your mind to come up with solutions for your own stuff. We are often kinder and more compassionate towards others, comapred to how we are for ourselves. So with a story character, you can see how compassion and kindess can transform their pain – and then it seems much more within your grasp to be that way to you too.
Similar to free association with writing, doodles allow anything to spill forth. You could be doing another activity such as listening to a radio programme, or talking to a friend on the phone. This disengages the controlling part of the mind, and lets your hands work away at what is there to be worked through. Doodles don’t have to be analyzed, but they could help unblock a block that’s there without you knowing it. One small creative act can inspire another. So doodle, rather than browse on the net on your phone. Creative solutions are needed in all parts of our lives, so let that part get a bit of practice in!
Actually draw what your pain feels like to you. Does it feel like you’re falling off cliff? Then draw that. (It REALLY doesn’t matter if you don’t think you can draw! Stick men will do, anything will do, just give it a go). Or do you feel like what you really, truly need right now is a huge hug from a big warm, friendly and cuddly being? Then draw that too. I used to carry around with me a little drawing similar to that cuddly being, and it always made me feel better, because seeing it, I felt it! Seeing it also allows you to appreciate what a burden you’ve been carrying with you. It can help contain the wild beasts of emotions that are raging around inside. If you draw those beasts, then the next time you feel them, you know they are to do with that pain you drew. It brings them together, which can help when we feel lost in emotions.
Use paints, or pens, or crayons to bring light to your issues. Splash colours onto boards in a huge expressive rainbow of emotions, and let colour lift your mood. In a more constrained way, you can use the latest trend of colouring in, to let your hand do something, whilst letting your mind work away in the background in a meditative fashion. Either way, colour brings light to our inner worlds, so let it shine!
Sometimes the blocks we carry in our thoughts and our emotions come up in our bodies. Release them in these ways.
Either self massage, or going to get a professional massage. You can give your face a wonderful de-stressing rub, by pressing along your eyebrows and the sides of your forehead. You can press the pads of your hands with your thumbs, or rub you thighs vigourously. Touch feels good. Pressing and squeezing out knots feels fantastic, and there’s no reason to deny yourself this pleasure when you can do it yourself. You can also use massage balls, that you can place under knots in your back, neck or legs.
Music is an amazing carrier for our emotions. It brings them up and lets them out. But combine music with dance and you have a powerful way of releasing pent up tensions. This is no time for being self-concious. Just move! Any way you want. Jump, wiggle, shake, hop! Anything goes, let yourself move, even if you feel jerky and awkward. Expressive movement like this allows our creativity to bubble up. And creativity and tension don’t go together, so when you allow yourself to work through tenseness with creative expression, you really blast it away. Shaking is also incredibly important to us as human beings. When we have had a scare or an emotional/physical trauma, we really need to shake. Just like an animal who has narrowly avoided being eaten would go to a grassy den and shiver out the tension – we need to let it out too. But we usually resort to holding in pain. Shaking is the body’s natural way of destressing. If you can’t shake because you feel silly doing it, then hold plank pose, or squats and your muscles will naturally twitch, allowing that deep release you so need.
- Sing, Talk, Shout.
Moving our words and feelings out via singing is another form of expressive, and releasing movement. Sing! Cry! Talk to someone, shout from the rooftops. It’s another way we shake it out. Shaking and shivering in our vocal chords from a vibration that comes from deep within our core is beautifully releasing. We all learn in different ways. Some people learn better from reading, others from listening, others from moving their hands. Whatever your way of learning can also be your way of expressing. Move, write, draw or sing. Get connected to your pain, see it, move it, understand it and heal.
Let me know how you do! Or tell me what you use to creatively express yourself!