Creativity As A Way To Cope

As you look around the chronic illness community you will often find that we use creativity as a coping mechanism.  There is science to back up our intuition that creativity is a good thing for us.

“When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life,” Csikszentmihalyi said during a TED talk in 2004. “You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”

This quote comes from a much larger article on this subject I found on CNN’s site.  I thought it extremely interesting, perhaps you will too.  This is Your Brain On Crafting.

Today I thought I’d share with you some things I’ve been doing recently to spark my creativity.  I received a tablet for Christmas, it comes with a stylus so I can draw right on the screen.  I love it.  It’s hard when I have very little space, and I often have to stop working very quickly to bring out a lot of art supplies, so learning how to create art on the computer has been wonderful.  I’ve been using an app called Sketchbook. They post challenges that you can take on if you like.  This has been perfect for me.  I have had a very hard time creating art in the past year, deciding on what to do has been too hard.  The challenges give me a focus.  It’s like having an assignment back in school.  I get so involved in these projects that times goes by without me noticing.



If you would like to see the photos larger just click on one and you can see a slide show that will show them in a larger size.

The assignments were:

  • Upper left – Biggest Fear – Title “The Monster Within”
  • Top Right – Female Human Animal Hybrid – “Butterfly Woman”
  • Middle Right – Modern Mythical Creature – Loch Ness Monster “Nessie”
  • Bottom Left – Person I’d most like to meet – “Siddhārtha Gautama” (Buddha)
  • Middle Bottom – Abstract Tree
  • Bottom Right – Dream Home

Do you have a creative outlet?  You don’t stress thinking you are good at it or not, just do something.  No one else ever has to see it.  Coloring books are really popular right now, this is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.  Is there something you have always wanted to try?  Photography?  Learning how to crochet?  Knit?  Cook?  Stamping? Paper Crafts? Jewelry?  Poetry? Writing?  So much to try, so little time!!

After decades of research by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi he found getting involved in something creative produces the same effects as meditation.  Something he calls flow.

“When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life,” Csikszentmihalyi said during a TED talk in 2004. “You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know I’m very into mindfulness and the benefits of it and meditation.  So learning this made me very happy, especially since I just haven’t been able to meditate recently.

(shh, I’ll share a little secret with you, I’ve been really depressed for a long time now.  The antidepressants I’m on simply aren’t working.  Things need to change.  I’ve had a psychiatric nurse practitioner here who writes my prescriptions, but she isn’t very good at working with me since things have changed.  I’m bipolar, I’m having a severe mood change, I need help. So I’m searching for someone I can really work with, and I think it’s time for me to go back into therapy.  I’m working on it, but it is taking a bit of time.  While I’m finding the right doctor and therapist that click with me, I’ll be trying to do as much work as I can to help myself.   Including, being a lot more creative.  I plan to post  much more about my days, to see just how I’m doing, the good days, the bad days, and all the days in between.  I hope you will join me on this journey.  I might even post more of my challenges.)

Keep Calm and Create




7 thoughts on “Creativity As A Way To Cope

  1. <squeals!> I would love to have a home in the Shire, so have to agree with your photo of your “dream home” 🙂
    I do believe creating – something — ANYTHING is very therapeutic. Even blogging (a form of creating) is beneficial to me. You know that I, too, have Major Depressive Disorder. I find that there are times the medications are not helping and adjustments need to be made. I’ve also been in out of therapy as needed. Finding a counselor who “clicks”, is key, YES? I wish you luck. Know I appreciate you and all the “creating” you do.


  2. I read the article and how true! I never called it “flow’–just being “lost in time”–but I like that term. Flow is the secret to happiness. Yes! I can even get lost in time watching a good movie or documentary or TV series on really bad pain days where I can’t do much else. Flow–I will have to try to remember that term.

    I love that you can draw on your tablet!! Those are all great, Wendy! I can’t imagine you did that with a stylus on a tablet–wow! Where there’s a will there’s a way. Perfect for you. You don’t have to drag things out or worry about being interrupted. Perfect!

    Whenever something negative is trying to take over my focus (pain, fear, soul weariness, whatever) I am determined to do battle to change the focus to something more positive–even if it is getting lost in a book or coloring or just thinking of all the things I am so grateful for…deliberately focus my thoughts on something else. I don’t want to feed the negatives, you know? They are hungry little monsters–ROFL! 😉

    Love and hugs!!! 🙂


  3. Excellent post. Creativity is a distraction from the reality of now. We all need an outlet, I think, for our pain, frustration, anger that is positive and reaffirming.
    Coloring books are good if you don’t have a tablet and can’t draw. Mine is small enough to fit in my purse, and I carry around these thick, multicolored lead children’s drawing pencils. So, while I’m waiting for an appointment, rather than stew, I color.
    Sorry you’re having trouble finding the right pysch team — I know how important it is to have one. I know it’s tough to deal with depression and crap on your own. If I can help, let me know. I’ve got way too much experience with that.


  4. I love to create whether it be in word or art. I noticed, as well, that people who deal with the myriad of challenges tend to be creatives. Makes sense that we use the things that make us feel alive to enlighten. You inspire me to work harder at my creativity.


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