When we think of art, many of us think of paintings hanging in the grand hall of a museum; and when we think of artists, we think of tortured individuals whiling away in a dark basement studio toiling over a masterpiece via oil paints. This narrow definition of art limits our potential to experience the world and express ourselves in ways to which we are naturally inclined. With an expanded definition, one can see art everywhere, in everything and recognize your own ability to make it.
While creativity is innate in all of us, expressing it is good for us. According to the American Journal of Public Health, creative activities decrease stress in a fashion similar to meditation, in turn reducing the risk of diseases such heart disease, Alzheimer’s and depression, and boosts emotional well-being regardless of skill level.
Tapping into your creativity and finding your art is as simple as recognizing it. Think of the activities, however big or small, that you give extra attention; that you lose yourself in, even for a moment. Do you relish writing notes with beautiful handwriting? Add flourishes to your emails? Is cooking dinner your favorite part of the day? Think about why give it extra attention, and why it gives you pleasure: Do you love forming curves in a certain letter? The way specific paper absorbs ink? Do clever wordings and vivacious verbiage make you light up inside? Does a superb soufflé make your soul sing? Whatever it is, embrace it and start considering it your art.
Take a Class
After you have recognized your art, sign up for a class to enhance your skills and spend a certain amount of time a week dedicated to learning and practicing. If handwriting is your thing, sign up for a calligraphy class; if it’s well-worded emails, join a writing group; if it’s cooking, take a workshop geared toward a specific cuisine.
Challenge yourself to learn more, grow your craft and take ownership of the self-expression that comes naturally to you.
Give Yourself Time, Space and Tools
Whether it’s a few minutes in the morning, or half an hour during your lunch break or an entire evening, set time aside as frequently as possible to expressing yourself through your art. Don’t way for inspiration to strike, just do it. But, by all means, when inspiration does come sauntering your way, make sure you have the space and tools to take advantage of it. Pick a spot in your home (a desk for writing, a four-season porch for painting, an empty room for dancing, etc.), pronounce it your creative space and fill it with the tools you need to explore the depths of your expression and create your art.
A study conducted by the American Journal of Public Health found that even observing creativity reduces psychological stress and promotes healing. Now that you have learned to recognize everything around you as art, take it in; you will nurture your creativity and enhance your connection with the world. Watch movies, read books, dine out, get lost in museums, discover art shows, take more classes, attend discussions, enjoy live music; absorbing the creative expressions of others, will, in turn, enrich your own.
BY RENEE FRANKLIN