One benefit of engaging in creative activities is that it opens up room for self-expression.
If your creativity is stifled, it can feel restricting and even cause you to bottle up emotions. Kids and teens may not always have the vocabulary to express themselves, so turning to creativity can be a rewarding and healthy outlet (for all ages!).
Before you read any further, I want to remind you that creativity is not limited to painting or creating art! Creativity can also be dance or movement, music, journaling, or building things. Regardless of the activity you choose, you are getting the benefits of creativity.
My 13-year-old niece says that creativity helps her find originality in her artwork and perspectives that nobody else would take. She expresses herself through her sketches and drawings. If you’re thinking, “I’m not creative,” I encourage you to engage in just one type of creative activity. It may unlock something for you, and eventually, you’ll be trying out new things and gain comfort in expressing your true self.
There are so many great stories of how creativity helps unlock self-expression.
I want you to hear it from my mom, "The Flower Lady"... nope, she doesn't have a flower shop!
I never really thought of myself as a creative person. That might seem surprising because I come from a family of artists; however, I never seemed to find my niche. Two years ago, I decided to move from Tennessee to Pensacola, Florida. Living near the beach had always been a dream of mine, but I made excuses for why I couldn't do it. When I turned 60, I began hearing this "If not now, when?" mantra running through my brain, and the rest is history; once I decided to take action, that is!
I knew about the Graffiti Bridge from my previous visits, a local landmark where it's legal to spray paint. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would actually do that. Fast forward to a few months later, when my Tennessee town was ravaged by a tornado. I felt compelled to do something to let my friends back home know that I was thinking of them. I painted the #MJStrong tagline, never expecting that painting would become a weekly hobby and would soon lead to my nickname… TheFlowerLadyPcola.
Somewhere along the way, I discovered that when my hands are busy, my mind can rest. I don't have to force this to happen; being creative simply allows me an escape for a while. I feel as if "art therapy" keeps me well grounded and emotionally healthy. Plus, I get the pleasure of connecting with other people through my art!
The funny thing is, painting the Graffiti Bridge - something I never thought I would do - unlocked all sorts of creativity that I never knew existed! Soon, I began painting rocks as a creative endeavor when I was sitting at home. The painted rocks have positive, encouraging quotes (akin to the messages I paint on the bridge), and I scatter them around my workplace and the beach for people to randomly find. I never see who picks them up, but they are always gone when I leave.
Within two years of moving to Pensacola, not only did I start painting the bridge and rocks, but I also began building little sand villages at the beach. Once I opened myself and began to explore my creativity, so many things came to me in different ways and at different times.
When I moved here, I never thought I would be doing any of the creative things that I'm doing now. I truly feel as if I'm living my best life in my 60s! I can't wait to see what's next since I'm just now learning to grow with the flow.
We may not all have the same definition of “living our best life”, but I know that each of us has access to some sort of creative outlet. I encourage you to choose something fun and creative for your family to do, even if it’s a little outside your comfort zone. Allow creativity to help you express yourself, and as my niece likes to say, “expand your idea of beauty”.
How has creativity helped your kids and teens find their true selves?
Co-written by: Anita Spicer