Keenan Blog

Creating Calm: Unleash Your Inner Peace

January 30, 2019

Sometimes the world overwhelms all of us. Too many things to do and people to see, but not enough time. Unending demands from family, friends and work. Not to mention the daily deluge of social media and breaking news. “Crisis mode” can become so much of a familiar existence that our bodies and minds can habitually remain in crisis even when we aren’t under stress.

Resilience is a word we often hear these days to describe the ability to maintain peace of mind and bounce back from stress. Another way to look at that is having the emotional strength to cope with the things life throws at us every day. Learning how to turn off the stress switch is a life skill that will render benefits for your physical and mental health.

Many people find that they can restore their sense of calm by getting creative. Putting yourself into a creative state provides you with powerful tools that contribute to your stress resilience. Creativity takes you out of the rush of external information and allows you to focus on yourself. When you are creating, you have complete control of whatever you are creating. This can help you reorient yourself when everything around you feels out of control. Creativity can give you the means to express your thoughts and emotions, even when there’s no one around (or willing) to listen to you. Finally, it can provide a sense of accomplishment enabling you to turn back to the real world with a more positive outlook.

Some of you may be objecting that you are just not a creative person. We often think we are not creative, when what we really think is that “I really wouldn’t want to show anybody else anything I would create.” That’s understandable, because even creative people don’t want to show others everything they create, especially creations in their earlier stages (Trust me, the first draft of this blog was, ugh). But you can give yourself permission to keep anything you create strictly for yourself and still gain the stress-busting benefits.

Creative people need to de-stress, too. If your particular talent is writing and you’re having a bad day of it, you may want to try sketching a picture, or pull out your old saxophone and improvise a jazz riff. It can be just the thing to help you get back “in the zone.”

Don’t limit your idea of creativity to the typical artistic endeavors. Drawing, painting, writing or music are great, but you can also express yourself creatively by preparing a meal, rearranging a desk drawer that’s gotten out of hand, applying two (or ten!) different colors of nail polish, or singing along with the car radio instead of being miserable in a traffic jam.

Even when you can’t get away from whatever is stressing you for the time being, exercising your creativity can help make the situation less stressful. If you’re under a tight deadline, that’s the time to consider whether you can approach your task in an innovative way. If the kids are fussy and bored, get out some paper and crayons and draw the imaginary animals you feel like inside. When you share the drawings with each other, you’ll probably all be rolling on the floor laughing in no time.

When you feel the world closing in or need to reset your outlook, release your inner peace by expressing your creativity. You just might find talents and strengths you didn’t know you had. Allowing yourself to act creatively will help you feel calmer and happier in the moment, and contribute to your long-term health and well-being.

About Tim Crawford
Tim Crawford was an associate at Keenan more than 20 years, and now consults on communication, media relations and health care reform projects. Tim is a Certified Internet Marketer, chairs the Internet Marketing Association of New Mexico, and serves on the California YMCA Board of Directors.