The Great Escape: How Creativity Reduces Stress

By Lori Hartwell

I have always loved to create. I think I learned to lean on the creative side of my brain when I was young and dealing with all the pressures of kidney disease. Engaging in creativity helps my brain calm down and feel more in control. Engaging in creativity provides numerous benefits for my physical, emotional, and mental well-being. As I have gotten older, creativity is like food for my soul. I always need a creative project around to give my mind a break. I leave a project out where it is easily accessible. I no longer put all my arts and crafts projects away. When I need a creative fix, they are waiting for me nearby.

Lately, I have been learning more about colors and how they interact with each other. I have learned I pick colors based on my mood, and that exploring color combination helps me to express emotions and explore my feelings. When I am painting, I see shapes or patterns appear. Over the summer, I had a few health hiccups and everything I painted seemed to have a bird symbolism in it. I took this as a sign: I will take flight again. I will get through this.

I like to make jewelry and am always looking at new designs, beads, and trends. Sparkles make me happy. I smile when I put some crystals on my bead board and see if they want to be a necklace, earrings, or bracelet. Creativity is like a daily meditation for me.

Sometimes medication can make my hands a bit shaky, but over the last few decades my fine motor skills have remained steady. I chalk this up to constantly using my hands to create things. Engaging in such activities regularly can assist in maintaining or regaining dexterity and coordination.

Thinking about a creative project can provide benefits as you explore all the possibilities, even before starting it. I am fascinated with how people create things and enjoy watching other people create. Completing an arts and crafts project myself gives me a sense of achievement and it always makes me feel better. I love the challenge of learning something new.

Participating in arts and crafts can connect us with others who share similar interests, either in person or through online communities. I love looking at Pinterest for creative ideas, and pin away. Creativity is endless. I belong to several creative Facebook groups and subscribe to several artists on YouTube channels.  If you consistently follow a group, it facilitates the formation of social connections through opportunities to share experiences, learn from others, and receive support for your creative endeavors. It is important to note that creativity is not limited to certain individuals or professions. It is a skill which can be developed and nurtured through practice, curiosity, and open-mindedness.

I like to invite my friends over and we can play with a pile of creative supplies and munch on potluck snacks and chit chat for hours. It’s the best therapy for my soul. I encourage you to do the same and engage in your creativity.

There are several places where you can find creative ideas:

1. Pinterest: Pinterest is a great platform for discovering and saving creative ideas. You can search for specific keywords or browse through various categories to find inspiration.

2. YouTube: YouTube offers a vast array of videos with creative content. You can subscribe to channels that focus on creativity or search for specific topics to gather ideas.

3. Facebook Groups: Joining Facebook groups centered around creative topics can connect you with like-minded individuals who share their ideas and projects. These groups often have engaged communities that provide valuable insights and inspiration.

Lori-Hartwell-foudner-president-kidney-talk-host-authorLori Hartwell is the Founder and President of Renal Support Network (RSN) and the host of KidneyTalk™ Podcast Radio. Lori was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of two. She survived 50+ surgeries and 13 years of dialysis, and is now living with her fourth kidney transplant.  In 1993 she founded RSN to instill “health, happiness and hope” into the lives of those affected by chronic kidney disease. Lori is also the author of the inspirational book Chronically Happy: Joyful Living in Spite of Chronic Illness and is a four-time kidney transplant recipient.

Web ID 4080