Doing research for this piece, I learned a new word, actually a new phrase; it's eudaimonic well-being. Simply put, this means living life in a full and satisfying way. Living creatively is associated with two of the six dimensions of eudaimonic well-being (e w-b). One of those dimensions is personal growth. Humans who engage in creative activity every day, such as taking photographs, creating a new recipe, doing a little scrapbooking (etc) were significantly more likely to experience personal growth than those who did not engage in creative activities. Another dimension that e w-b and creative living share is intrinsic motivation; a love of creating just for the sake of creating and not for any external rewards. And the third dimension that e w-b and creative living have in common is environmental mastery; the ability to manage the many responsibilities of daily living. This includes budgeting in time for creative thinking and play. Those individuals who include a little time each day to be creative tend to have a larger capacity for creativity; that is, the more you create, the more creative you become.
So what about those folks who don't see themselves as creative? How do they live a creative life and develop a greater sense of well-being? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about your own creativity in a more creative way.
A. Do what you do well. Maybe you're not an artist or a writer or a composer. Maybe you are an organizer...or you excel at making others laugh. These can be your creative outlet. You may not think of them as gifts because they come naturally to you. But they are. Realizing these gifts is a first step in finding your natural creativity.
B. What makes you different? Once you begin to think about your own talents, think about how you make them individual to you. Ask someone you love, trust...even like...to write down what they admire about you or what they think makes you unique. It may be hard for you to look objectively at their list, but try to sit with it and soak it all in. Allow yourself to feel it...because these beautiful, wonderful things are all YOU!
C. What makes you feel alive? Think about all the times when you've felt at peace, encouraged, or simply "at home"...those things that bring you satisfaction and true enjoyment. it can be anything from volunteering at a children's shelter, to petting your dog, or watching classic films. Make a list of the things that give you real satisfaction and a sense of purpose.
D. Use all of these things to evolve your own life...or someone else's. When we see and use those things that come easy for us and bring a smile to our face and peace to our brain, we are tapping into our own unique and brilliant creativity. here are a couple of examples of what I'm talking about: If your gift is organizational skills, for instance, use that talent as a way to bring people together for a cause you believe in. Perhaps try organizing a fundraiser for your favorite nonprofit or, maybe, organize the office at the local animal shelter or food bank. There are a million ways you can use your organizational skills that are both creative and useful! If your gift is making people laugh, don't be afraid to use more humor in your workplace. Help to brighten up the hum-drum routine of your co-worker's day. You get the idea, right? So find creative ways of using your natural talents and watch yourself (not to mention others) flourish and thrive!
E. Try new stuff. Once you know and feel and live what makes you unique and see how it affects the people around you, don't be afraid to broaden it. Introduce yourself to new people, new ideas, new places...and other things that you once might have thought you wouldn't like. When you let yourself do and be what you naturally enjoy and are good at, new ideas will be drawn to you...and you to them. The best part about all this is that you are having a positive effect on those around you. When you are doing what you find fun, you make it fun for everyone else. And the chain reaction is that you will inspire others to find their own innate creativity, as well. How wonderful (and creative) is that!
While the creative life isn't always directly associated associated with our ideas on happiness, living a creative life does seem to be associated with having a more meaningful and fulfilled life. And who wouldn't want to achieve that? We are all creative, in one way or another, and can find amazing ways to sprinkle our own brand of creativity on nearly everything we do! So go out there and creative your own beautiful, fulfilling and meaningful life. The world will thank you.