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Daily Creative April 18-19, 2020: Can creativity increase happiness?

Welcome to the weekend edition of the Daily Creative. I will most likely post one activity per weekend, but that doesn't mean you should take a day off. You can repeat an activity from the past, or come up with your own. Take your five minutes no matter what - it's a small commitment that will have a large payoff.

Did you know that studies show that engaging in short, creative activities every day increases positive feelings? That's right, not only will you be more creative, but you will be happier. Consistent practice is the key. I encourage you to approach your practice with a sense of play and lightness. The benefits are long-term, yes, but the practice itself is fun. Find the fun or even the the funny in your practice.

Today you will need a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and the ability to shut your eyes. Use a blindfold if it feels helpful, but you can certainly just close your eyes as well. You might want some colored pencils or markers, but those are optional.

Close your eyes or don your blindfold, and for 30 seconds draw on your paper. You don't need to try to draw anything specific, just draw. Doodle, loop, scribble, make lines, whatever feels good. Just draw without stopping for 30 seconds.

Now look at your result. Take a minute to notice what you see. Shapes? The beginning of figures? Are all the marks grouped together on one part of the paper or are they spaced out? Are your lines continuous or are they short and separate? Look at your paper sideways. Look at it upside down. Can you find any figures or images in your drawing? Be open to what might be there. Now take your pen or even some colored pencils and complete an image that you see by adding additional lines or color. Remember, there is no wrong way to do this and you are not creating a work of art. You are opening your mind and looking at something differently.

I see this exercise as a wonderful metaphor for finding creative solutions to messy problems. Sometimes we bang our heads against walls trying to force our way through when approaching from a different angle would offer a clearer path. Food for thought.

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