I doubt there’s ever been a time in our human history when people everywhere on every continent have been focused at the same time on one thing: Corona Virus.
I’ve been distracted by the spread of Corona Virus and puzzled by the rapid disappearance of toilet paper from stores everywhere. The run on toilet paper has spread beyond the United States. Day after day, in Europe, China, Japan, and Australia ALL the toilet paper is bought in the first hour or two after stores open. This is a strange behavior in a challenging, stressful time.
Stress, as you might already know, impacts your immune system. And not in a good way. Walking outside is one way to alleviate stress. Being creative is another stress reliever. And here’s some good news. Creativity is a trait just like red hair, hazel eyes, and a slender build are traits. Like physical traits, creativity is determined by genes and influenced by the environment. When creativity is nurtured, it grows. Any trait can also be influenced by behaviors. Hair can be grown long or cut short, a slender frame can carry a lot of weight, poor eyesight can be improved by wearing glasses. Creativity is influenced by behavior, too.
It turns out that exercising (developing) your creativity by engaging in creative behaviors can increase happiness, improve brain function and mental health. Repetitive actions like knitting, drawing, and writing help activate the flow state, and when you’re in the flow state, dopamine is released in the brain and that’s what creates the feeling of well being.
Engaging in creative activities, like coloring, painting rocks, doodling, drawing zentangles, writing poetry, making pottery, planting flowers, working on puzzles, playing an instrument, etc., cause your mind to focus. When your brain (mind) is focused away from things that cause stress, you feel better.
I’ve been painting in preparation for exhibit (that may be rescheduled to a later date) at Freedom Park in Prescott, Wisconsin. I’m trying some new things, too. I’ve made four zines (mini books) in the past couple weeks. Working on the zines sharpens my writing skills and I was inspired to learn more about creating characters (like comic book characters). My first efforts are clumsy. But I had a lot of fun making them. The one below was made for a friend who’s day started off in a less than stellar way.
If you’d like to read Looking on the Bright Side, email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you a PDF you can print and directions for making the zine. All you need is one sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.
Create the life you want to live.
Resources to Inspire Your Creative Mind:
Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine: The Art of Making Zines and Mini-Comics a book by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson
Song Birds (a zine) by Austin Kleon
“Here’s How Creativity Actually Improves Your Health” – Forbes magazine article
Zentangle YouTube video