12 Most Positive Ways to Stay Creative and Keep Going
I have been thinking a lot about a unique Henson creation, the Doozers. In every episode of Fraggle Rock you could find them constructing various buildings only for them to be eaten by passing Fraggles. They never made a fuss because it gave them room to construct more buildings! You would not have expected creatures of such small stature to have thrived in their environment, yet they eked out a happy life for themselves in the caverns.
The Doozers make great role models for my goal to publish one post on my personal blog every day. I have to admit I am already running into obstacles. Like a battery my brain is being drained of its creative power! I have to use those mental powers for much more than my writing and finding balance can be difficult. Sometimes I wonder if we can thrive creatively and get our work done. Does the happy life of a Doozer only exist in children’s tales?
Well there are some techniques we can start practicing today that can put us in this mindset. They are lessons we have learned from positive psychology research. These are 12 ways we can refocus our energies to sustain our creativity.
Flow represents how we feel when we are in tune with work tasks. We feel just enough challenge without any boredom. The work brings us pleasure and helps us to access our creativity. Thanks to the research of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, we are beginning to understand the conditions necessary to enter this state.
New research is showing that our beliefs in a hopeful future may affect future trajectories. A research study compared responses of teenagers and their beliefs about the future. Low scores on the hope index correlated with depression and risk taking behaviors. This shows that hope can encourage us to continue in the bleakest of times and help us thrive.
Talent isn’t a guarantee that our creative work will get any easier. Research shows that success can come from deliberate practice. It has been described by Malcolm Galdwell as the “10,000 hour rule;” those who do well push themselves to practice consistently.
Grit is the ability to withstand unpleasantness to achieve a goal. It is often associated with single-mindedness and an obsession with an activity. We see this trait in many people we admire. Steve Jobs’ focus on the Apple aesthetic became a hallmark of the brand.
Research studies show that those who show gratitude feel happier and show more optimism. These traits can help us to feel energized. One simple exercise is to write down three things you are grateful for every day. Participants in studies related to this exercise have shown that the happiness boost is long lasting.
By helping others we increase our own well-being. Random acts of kindness really do matter. In a study of Japanese students researchers found that subjective happiness increased when participants remembered their own acts of kindness for the week.
Research has shown that couples who have children score as more unhappy than those who do not, yet overall they say they are happier. This shows that our perception of happiness also involves how meaningful we find our contributions to be. The unconditional love a parent feels for their child outweighs the long nights and worry they will feel over their life-time. We should feel the same way about our creative work by matching our frustrations with our passions.
8. Social Ties
One of the most interesting pieces of research to come out in the social networking era is how our weak ties affect us; six degrees of separation works. If you are a friend of a friend who is happy you have a 6% chance of inheriting some of that happiness. Be mindful of the company you keep and the ways they support you.
A sense of accomplishment is also linked to more happiness. This is the feeling of completing self-directed goals. In order to feel this way we need to believe that we can succeed and that it will benefit our lives. Those New Year’s resolutions are actually important if you think you can reach them.
10. Intellectual Enjoyment
Taking pleasure from our intellectual pursuits may be an indicator for happiness. More research needs to be done, but one study suggests it may be connected to life satisfaction. We should align our creative work with our personal interests.
Mindfulness is associated with meditation, but research shows that it can also lead us to a happier, healthier life. Mindfulness is defined as the intentional process of being aware of our moment-to-moment experiences without judgment. It is already being applied in medicine as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
One of the most well-known research results is that of optimism. We have known for a long time that more optimistic people are happier and are better able to overcome adversity.We can change our perspective on the positivity of future events with simple exercises. This works with other factors we have discussed such as hope and gratitude.
As you can see many of these techniques allow us to increase our sense of well-being. They reduce our stress, energize us, and give us the strength to continue on. If you have been feeling the crunch of the creative life then you might want to try a few of the suggestions from these studies.
What keeps you going and going?
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