While not directly related to the cause of heart related illnesses, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders, most health care professionals acknowledge that chronic stress isn’t good for you and can exacerbate these conditions. Flow describes a state that is similar to that of meditation. It is a state that allows the mind to completely focus on a task. This state, like medication, helps in relieving chronic stress. Drawing, playing an instrument and writing all are mediums that allow the mind to take a break from the stressors of everyday life. How do you get started? Easy. Get a blank notebook at the store and keep it close by. While waiting for an appointment or picking up kids after school, pull out your notebook and allow your mind to wander in a picture of a verse of poetry. Would you rather play an instrument? Many local music stores allow people to rent by the month. YouTube offers many free lessons from beginner to learning to play your favorite song. It doesn’t take time, it add years to your life.
The United States drastically underfunds the Fine Arts when compared to European countries according to the article Culturally Impoverished by Jodie Gummow. The capital driven entertainment industry has diluted music, art and dance into a formula for profit. But the true cost is the loss of experimentation necessary for growth and innovation. Writers, artists and musicians, not in the mainstream machine, struggle to etch out a paycheck. Many demote their art to a hobby so they can make living at a day job. While this seems a benign issue, make no mistake, the lack of creativity in our culture affects our economic competitive edge. The neuroscience linking creativity and development of scientific breakthrough is clear in the article The Neuroscience of Creativity by Megan Erickson. She quotes Einstein as he describes the importance of music to his insight.
Silencing the Inner Critic
This blog post has been difficult for me to write. Even the mention of the dreaded inner critic sends my creativity and inspiration running. But I’m not alone and and if you struggle with self doubt and being overly critical of your work you aren’t alone either. Our inner critic, that has developed over of years, is trying to protect us. It serves a purpose to protect us from mockery and judgement that ultimately hurts our feelings. But when we recognize that we are not alone and that everyone struggles with this issue we can be more forgiving with ourselves and our inner critic. So when those critical thoughts start whirling in your mind tell the inner critic to “Knock it off. Thanks for trying to help, but I’m having fun “.