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Unlocking Your Inner Artist in Art Therapy: A Guide to Tapping and Sustaining Your Creative Energy

by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC

Unlocking your inner artist and sustaining your creative energy is a journey that everyone can embark upon, whether you're an experienced creator or someone who feels disconnected from their creative side, and there are simple and effective ways to ignite and maintain that spark.  This blog post will explore how to tap into your creativity, what happens during periods of creative inactivity, and offer practical art therapy directives to keep your creative energy flowing. By embracing these strategies, you'll discover how to nurture and sustain your creativity over time, enriching your life with continuous inspiration and artistic expression.

Make Space for Creativity

To begin accessing your creative potential, start by making space in your life for creativity. This can mean setting aside dedicated time each day to engage in creative activities, even if it's just for a few minutes. Embrace activities that spark your interest, whether it's drawing, writing, playing music, or something entirely different. The key is to approach these activities without the pressure of perfection. Allow yourself to play and experiment without worrying about the outcome.

During periods when we are not actively creating art or engaging in creative endeavors, our creativity doesn't disappear—it lies dormant, waiting to be reawakened. However, prolonged inactivity can lead to a decline in creative confidence and inspiration. It's similar to physical exercise; without regular practice, our creative muscles can atrophy. Yet, even during these dormant times, our subconscious mind continues to absorb experiences and ideas that can later serve as inspiration. To maintain a connection with your creative self, try to stay engaged with the arts in some way, such as visiting museums, reading literature, or listening to music.

Advantages of Art Therapy

Art therapy offers various directives that can help individuals tap into their creative energy. One effective method is the "art journal," where you create daily or weekly entries using a mix of writing, drawing, and collage. This process allows for self-expression and reflection, helping to unlock deeper emotions and thoughts. Another directive is the "mandala drawing," which involves creating circular designs. This practice can be meditative and helps to focus the mind, reducing stress and fostering a flow state where creativity thrives.

A particularly engaging self-expressive activity is "free association drawing." In this exercise, you start with a blank sheet and draw whatever comes to mind without overthinking. The goal is to let your subconscious guide your hand, revealing hidden thoughts and feelings. Similarly, "found object sculpture" encourages you to create art from everyday objects, promoting a mindset of seeing beauty and potential in the mundane. These activities not only spark creativity but also enhance problem-solving skills and emotional awareness.

Sustaining creativity over time requires a balance of discipline and spontaneity. Establishing a routine can be beneficial, as it creates a habit of regular creative practice. However, it's equally important to stay open to new experiences and ideas. Diversify your sources of inspiration by exploring different art forms, cultures, and perspectives. Surround yourself with a community of like-minded individuals who support and challenge your creative endeavors. Sharing your work and receiving feedback can provide new insights and motivation.

Another key to sustaining creativity is to practice self-care and manage stress. Creativity flourishes in a relaxed and open state of mind. Engage in activities that rejuvenate you, whether it's spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in physical exercise. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance ensures that you have the mental and emotional energy to devote to your creative pursuits. Additionally, don't be afraid to take breaks when needed; sometimes stepping away can lead to breakthroughs.

Experimentation and play are essential components of a sustained creative practice. Allow yourself to take risks and make mistakes. Creativity is often about exploring the unknown and venturing beyond your comfort zone. Celebrate your successes and learn from your failures, viewing each experience as a valuable part of your creative journey. Keep a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world around you, as this mindset will continuously fuel your imagination.

Lastly, remember that creativity is not a finite resource but an ever-renewable one. The more you engage with it, the more it grows. Document your creative process and progress over time to see how far you've come and to identify patterns that work best for you. By nurturing your creative spirit and integrating these practices into your daily life, you can sustain and even enhance your creative abilities throughout your lifetime.

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