Our self esteem can get knocked by all sorts of life challenges. Sometimes our low self esteem is rooted in our childhood but equally a difficult relationship, an undermining boss or a loss in our life can all take a swipe at our sense of self and our confidence. Research shows that turning ones attention to exploring our creativity is hugely beneficial for our mental health and has a similar impact to meditation. It also creates a focus in one’s life and creates space to process any difficult experiences we have had while being absorbed in a fulfilling task. Here are five tips to help you get started:
Choose Something You Enjoy
Creativity is a very broad term. It doesn’t just mean painting or photography or music. It can be anything from gardening, building and DIY to baking, knitting or storytelling. Ask yourself what you would really enjoy rater than thinking about what someone else might expect. Enjoying yourself after a stressful period gives you good feelings which in turn help you feel better about yourself.
Remove Any Expectations
The key to finding something creative which enhances your self esteem is to approach it with a very non-judgmental attitude and to enjoy the process without worrying too much about results. Having an unpressurised space for yourself to freely explore without constraint and expectation is key to truly enjoying the time you spend on a creative pursuit.
Choose an Outlet Which Helps You Release Emotions
Unexpressed thoughts and feelings can be very damaging and it’s important to let them out in a healthy way. If you are dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety, finding the right creative outlet can be very beneficial both as a place to express emotions but also to help you make sense of them. You don’t need to express emotions literally and directly to give them expression. If you have never painted before, you might find the gesture of slapping paint on a canvas is just what you need.
Don’t Be Afraid To Learn Something New
Give yourself permission to explore avenues you haven’t previously seen as your ‘thing’. Creativity is an opportunity for learning which can help you to build self confidence. You feel a sense of accomplishment by doing or learning a new skill or hobby and it’s not necessarily about the end result. You may even create something completely unexpected.
Join a Group
Joining a group can help you get started especially if you are exploring new territory. It is also an opportunity to connect and make friends with like minded people. This can be particularly helpful when we are dealing with stress in our lives. Even if we aren’t talking to anyone, to be in a room working on something with company is very soothing for the nervous system.
Lastly trust yourself and whatever comes out. Remember the analogy of the running tap that produces rusty brown water which eventually goes clear? Its the same with creativity. The more you experiment, the more you discover. You might not like what you create at first but keep going because you never know what might flow out!