Engaging in creativity provides as wonderful opportunity to practice self-healing. Whether you are working on a specific artistic project or spending time on your favorite hobby, self-healing can occur as you explore your thoughts and emotions through your craft.
What is self-healing?
I define self-healing as the act of tending to one’s spiritual, mental, and emotional needs in a way that promotes a revitalized sense of love, wholeness, and purpose, and a diminishment or eradication of qualities, traits, or habits that do not serve your highest good.
Self-healing acts can come in many forms, from adopting an optimum diet for your health and fitness goals to engaging in activities that increase your sense of well-being. Self-healing can affect you generally or target specific areas.
I’ve found that many of my self-healing activities tend to target my emotional and spiritual needs. For example, writing is a wonderful tool in promoting self-healing. Writing helps me organize my thoughts, release suppressed emotions, explore my ideas, and create new personal insights that affect the my world view.
Dance and creative movement is also an excellent tool for self-healing. Oftentimes, we lack the words to express our deepest emotions, and attempting to write them down just doesn’t do our feelings justice. Dance can express many human emotions, especially those emotions that are deemed not as socially acceptable. It is an outlet that allow us to physically express the many aspects of the human condition in a visceral manner, in a way that touches us to the core.
Creative artists can directly address many of their mental, emotional, and social needs through their art. Issues such as racism, sexism, mental health issues, and even mundane topics such as marriage and parenthood can be intentionally be addressed in writing, dance, art, and so forth. Artists often communicate their own questions, experiences, and struggles about these topics in their works. No doubt they experience a personal catharsis from the art they create, while also enabling the consumers of their work to experience the same—as good art should do.
The Power of Hobbies
Hobbies and doing little things you truly enjoy can be very healing. When you engage in your hobby, you’re opening yourself of to creative wholeness and satisfaction. when you’re really engaging your creativity you’re engaging your mind consciously in a certain task and while you’re engaging in that hobby consciously healing can be occurring so consciously.
I’ve especially found that hobbies that require me to use my hands are especially helpful when I need to process a lot of information, wind down from a stressful workday or week, or when I need to give my overly analytical side a rest.
In my experience, hobbies with repetitive actions such as crocheting, knitting, or sewing are effective in helping me shut off my overly analytical mind that can be filled with anxiety and worry. These activities help me to stay in the moment and the task at hand. They require their own method of problem-solving. Focusing on knotting, twisting, and weaving yarn and thread provides the perfect distraction to worrying about things I can’t change or have very little power to change at the moment.
Putting my problem-solving tendencies towards a creative act is more productive and satisfying than spinning my wheels wondering “what will happen next.” Plus, the added bonus of completing a project or learning a new skill is a sure confidence boost.
Many times hobbies have gotten me through some really difficult situations in my life. My hobbies have helped me to cope with whatever issue I was dealing with, be it financial, social, or emotional. I use my hobbies as a way to bring balance, peace, fun,and joy back into my life.
When you work on a hobby, your conscious mind is focused on the task of the hobby, whether that is sewing, crocheting, assembling model airplanes, or making jewelry. While you consciously work on these fun activities, your subconscious mind is freed up to tackle and resolve issues in which you feel stuck.
Which creative act is best?
There really is no right or wrong in how you use creativity to self-heal.
Intentional creative acts such as writing, dancing, singing, or even acting are more direct methods one can use to administer self-healing. But I think for these instances to work, you have to be very intentional. To use these creative acts to heal, you have to approach the activity from that angle and then fit the creative expression to your intended goals.
Hobbies, on the other hand, circumvent the conscious mind’s logical and linear problem-solving mode, gently redirecting the conscious mind’s attention to an unrelated task (the hobby) and allowing the subconscious mind room to make connections and present solutions that heretofore escaped you.
I engage in both intentional and indirect creative acts, as I have activities in both areas that enrich my life. Writing and dance are my intentional activities, and sewing, crocheting, and crafting are my favorite hobbies.
What are some creative activities you enjoy in which you tend to experience healing?