It always amazes me how peaceful and happy I feel simply from picking up some drawing paper and pencils. No matter how many things are pressing on my mind, what worries have had me frazzled during the day……once I start drawing, I typically become focused, calm, and even am prone to start humming or singing to myself. It has something to do with the creative outlet of pent-up energy, as well as some form of shifting of gears that happens in the brain when you take on a pleasurable task. For some people they find these kind of results and responses when they garden, knit, build, write……anything that diverts negative energy and thinking into positive. When you create, you are adding something new and positive into the world, so it makes sense why it would feel so good to be the one creating it.
Anyone who has worked with children can likely testify that there is a special kind of magic found in crayons, construction paper, and pipe cleaners. Even the most unruly, loud, obstinate children can suddenly become happy and focused when presented with creative busy-work to sink into. They thrive off of it. For many children arts and crafts are their favorite activity in school, and smart teachers find ways to incorporate it into other subjects of learning. This is why it is so important to support the arts in schools, because for so many children it is the thing that binds it all together, and helps their minds develop. For myself, all through my education years ( even college), I often would doodle along the sides and corners of my notes. To some people it may have looked like I was not paying attention, but for me….those little drawings helped to center me, and turn my brain on. I was far more likely to be focused on the teachers and lessons while I drew that little fairy, then if I was gazing outward with my mind on a completely different planet.
I often get stuck in a rut of sorts where I long and crave to pick-up some paint brushes, but find myself saying I will have to do it later, there is no time now, I have to be responsible and use my time for practical things etc….. this is likely something we all do when it comes to restricting the projects and activities we find joy in, but consider to be non-essential when allotting our precious time. I think this is backwards. I think taking the time to knit that hat, build that model, bake that cake…..is just what we need to feel whole, balanced, and positive—and thus makes us stronger and better able to handle the more daunting tasks life requires of us.
Is there something you love to do, but have not done for a long time? Go pull the box out, dust off your sewing machine, stretch your water-color paper. You owe it to yourself to feed your soul and energy with something positive. You also might just beautify the world a little in the process.