Last week we talked about the power of creativity – and how simple acts of “everyday creativity” leave us feeling more energized, enthusiastic, connected, and purposeful.
Today I want to talk about the other direction: does being in a great mood help us be creative?
The findings on this are pretty interesting. Some studies show that positive affect (enthusiasm, cheerfulness, calm) does increase a person’s likelihood to be creative – but, here’s the catch: only on the same day as their good mood.
In other words, a good mood on Monday will make it easier for you to do creative things on Monday, but it has no impact on whether you’ll be creative on Tuesday. Tuesday’s state of mind will drive that.
We start all over – a blank slate – needing our own rituals and routines (or the good mood of that day if you are lucky) to help us be more creative. All of us who are trying to be consistently creative know this already, right?!
If a good mood makes you more likely to be creative on any given day, the corollary is that it will be harder to get yourself to do a creative activity when you are feeling down, which is often when you need that healing power of creativity most.
So, think about how you can give yourself extra supports – creative rituals, time blocked off in your calendar, an accountability buddy – if you want to be creative (and get the mood lift that comes with it) when you are feeling down.
For this week’s weekly practice, here’s what I want to invite you to do:
Be creative in some way each day. You can do this by engaging in a little art-making daily, but more simply you can do it by taking a new or original approach to the mundane and regular things you do in the day. Get creative with what you cook for dinner, or what you wear for the day. Make up a song on your commute, or add fifteen minutes of improv dance to your evening routine. (If you didn’t yet, download my 50 Simple Ways to Be Creative HERE.)
Notice how your mood impacts whether you find it easy or hard to do something creative. Recognize that (if your experience is aligned with the research) it’s probably going to be harder to be creative when your mood is gloomy or angry, and give yourself lots of extra supports for being creative on these days. Or, give yourself a structure (like a time in your calendar) or some reminders to be creative every day, so it will be there for you when it is hard.