It has been argued that some people are creative and some are not. But I believe we are all creative; it's just that some people are more confident in using their creativity, and therefore they just appear to be more creative.
The key to tapping into your creative resources is to do one thing differently each day to keep you fresh. These things can be small or large. It can be as simple as changing the newspaper you read, driving a different route to work, or watching an action film instead of a romance. This keeps you fresh and the creative juices flowing.
Another way of boosting creativity is to mix with as many different types of people as possible. This will give you other perspectives on things. Changing your environment is a must. This helps you see the world from a different angle and helps you challenge the norm. During my most creative times, I have lived and worked in Spain; retreated to my caravan in Monkton, near Canterbury, Kent; and taken weekend breaks to places like Barcelona and Paris. This has really helped my creative process.
Creativity Comes in Cycles
Being bipolar is a licence for creativity. When I am hypomanic, I am at my most creative. I find myself painting into the early hours of the morning, writing, developing business ideas, and generally tapping into my creative resources. Over the past eight years, I have achieved great works of art, written a book, and begun a new business.
Hypomania is the place you go to before mania, and if you could bottle this place it would be worth a fortune. The only way I can describe hypomania is to relate it to a battery that needs recharging. As you recharge the battery, the energy gets stronger and stronger, until you are ready to burst, and then you arrive in mania.
As I mentioned earlier, I have found that there are times in my life that I am less creative than others. I find it very hard to create when I am having a depressive episode. I often find it impossible to operate at all. What I will say is that when I come out of the depression I am renewed and ready to tackle any new task. The lesson I take from this is that everything has a flip side. You just have to be patient, and creativity will knock on your door once again.
Structure & Regular Activities: Take Classes in Subject That Interest You
I also find it useful to take classes in subjects that interest me. For two years, I took a weekly three-hour oil painting class in Sevenoaks, Kent. This class gave my creativity a new lease of life, and I produced many oil paintings on canvas that I was very proud of. The other positive about participating in that class was meeting like-minded people who were all passionate about art. Collectively, they helped my creative process. I also found visiting art galleries and studying other artists' work really rewarding.
Another creative outlet I have found has been my weekly writing classes. These classes help would-be writers publish their work, both in magazines and books. Once again, being with people who share my passion for the subject has helped my writing process. Writing can be a very solitary existence.
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I have found that having structure in my life and regular activities in my diary support my creativity. The repetition—whether it be taking regular art or writing classes at the same time each week—helps me keep my creative juices flowing. Creativity is a state of mind. You have to believe in yourself and trust your instincts. As I've said I believe everyone is creative; just not everyone knows how to tap into it.
EXERCISE TO TRY AT HOME: Journaling
A good way to tap into your creative resources is to keep a daily journal. You can write about anything—the more mundane, the better. You do not want to think too much about what you want to say, so the more stream of consciousness the better. You are trying to tap into your subconscious.
The key to this journaling exercise is that you don't read the pages for three months. You then review them and see what your desires are, what you feel angry about, what you want to change, and so on. It gives you insight into your subconscious and allows you to see things differently.
* Subtitles by InnerSelf
©2012 by Lynn Hodges. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Findhorn Press. www.findhornpress.com.
Living With Bipolar Disorder: Strategies for Balance and Resilience
by Lynn Hodges.
From the initial diagnosis through recovery and transformation, this handbook offers positive, real-life solutions and support from one who not only suffers from bipolar disorder herself but has experienced it with her mother and her daughter. Employing a practical, candid tone, the guide offers firsthand advice on how to lead a fulfilling life despite having this debilitating mental-health condition, with a special focus on addressing the personal questions that arise following diagnosis.
About the Author
Lynn Hodges has unfortunately had a lot of experience with mental illness. In addition to a family history of mental illness, Lynn herself has been diagnosed with Bipolar One – the most serious mental health illness in the category of Bipolar Disorder. Despite all this, Lynn is an amazing survivor who has learned to embrace her illness in everyday life. In this she has been so successful that she now facilitates for the Kent Council (UK) classes and workshops on "What it is like to live and work with Bipolar Disorder" to both mental health professionals as well as patients.