Individual Inspiration

Creative Relief

We can all agree: It’s a challenging time.

Whether it’s the pandemic, the loss of a loved one, police brutality and systemic racism, political turmoil, loss of a job or business closure, or climate change as seen through the rampant wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding around the world—we’re all in need of some extra support.

We know the arts can help. And we’re not the only ones. (In 2019, the World Health Organization published a review of over 3,000 research studies into the beneficial effects of the arts on health and well-being published between 2001 to 2019. Read here.)

STEP ONE

Be Inspired

Why is inspiration important? Studies have shown a wide range of benefits of being inspired. For example, one study focusing on college students found that students who tended to be more inspired on a day-to-day basis were more likely to set inspired goals and more likely to attain those goals. In some early work by the psychologists, Thrash and Elliot, developed an ‘inspiration scale’ to measure the frequency of experiencing inspiration as well as offer a prediction of a number of positive consequences, such as mastery of work, absorption, creativity, perceived competence, self-esteem, and optimism.

Select a medium below, and grant yourself a few moments with the creative work, and whatever it brings up for you, before moving on. Allow yourself to be open to awe. Be curious. Look and listen more deeply.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

– Pablo Picasso

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STEP TWO

Create

Why create? Creating art of any kind has many benefits for mental and physical health and improving the quality of life. For example, creative expression has positive effects on “interpersonal connection” and “social bonding”, as well as the ability to help with emotional self-regulation (Christensen and Gomila, 2018). Studies have also shown positive physiological impacts from creative activities: such as reducing anxiety, elevating moods, and improving focus (Holt et al. 2019).

Read the prompts below, and choose one that resonates with you. Try to set aside a few moments to explore your creativiy before moving on. In the next step, we’ll invite you to optionally share your creation with our community.

PROMPT ONE

For one of the art works above, write a dialogue for what you think is being expressed within the piece. For example, what do you think the dancers are expressing to each other, or Bach’s violins, or the two profiles in Oommen’s collage?

PROMPT TWO

When listening to the music or reading the prose above, close your eyes and focus on the images that come to mind. Consider the images and their meaning, and then choose one mental image to represent your experience and either snap a photo OR draw the image in your mind. 

PROMPT 3

After you’ve experienced one of the art works above, go to a quiet, open space where you can move around safely. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Slowly start to experiment with moves that express some of what you are feeling. Make choices about the size and fluidity of your movements based on the intensity of your feelings and emotions. Once you feel comfortable with one movement, try to compose another to build onto the first, just as if you were building a sentence. Continue until you feel you expressed the idea you intended.

STEP THREE

Share

Why share? Studies have shown sharing your creative work, can increase confidence and self-esteem (Kaimal and Ray, 2016), as well as encourage social relationships and community. (Eng et al. 2019).

Share your creative expression from Step 2 with someone you know. or on social media using the hashtag #creativerelief. Not on social? Email your work to [email protected] and we can post it for you. 

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CHECK-IN

How Did That Feel?

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More Resources

Crisis Resources

If you are in crisis, please reach out immediately for help. There are several resources for help in a crisis:

  • CALL:  1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center
  • TEXT: MHA to 741741
  • CALL: 911

Special Thanks

The Stuck at Home (together) initiative is partially funded through the generous support of:

Sponsors

Thanks to these partnering organizations:

The Foundation for Art & Healing