The age-old practice of journaling dates as far back as ancient philosophers like Aristotle and Socrates. They kept ongoing accounts of their lives and centuries of highly successful people in a variety of industries such as business, science and entertainment kept journals.
Other successful people including Leonardo da Vinci, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Marie Curie, have also journaled. They used the journaling process to keep personal notes and records of thoughts, ideas, and their lives. They may not have used the term “journaling” but it was certainly a springboard that led to their most celebrated achievements.
Many famous people used journaling to not only fuel their success but unlock and spark their creativity. Some other famous journal keepers include inventor Leonardo da Vinci, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.
How many of you had journals as you were growing up? It probably had a bright, fun cover and, of course, the lock and key! I recall keeping journals as a child and it was a safe place to record my feelings, my dreams and my wishes.
As an adult I still journal regularly to capture creative ideas and as a special place for self-reflection. Whether you’re a raising a family or an entrepreneur or busy executive, the process of journaling provides an opportunity to clear your thinking and be more creative.
There are no rules when it comes to journaling! That’s part of the attraction to this process. You can record your successes or challenges, your goals, personal feelings, reflections, and new ideas. You may be surprised what comes out of the pen and onto your page. When you’re writing things out by hand, your mind is just a bit ahead of your pen. This is where those creative ideas come to life and allow you just enjoy the process.
Here’s a list of 5 ways journaling can help build your creativity and spark new ideas.
Journaling provides a safe space where you can share thoughts and cultivate ideas in private and without any pressure. All those ideas you’ve been pondering, a problem you need to solve, a new creative project you want to explore…you can record all this and more! Since this is a personal space for your eyes only, you can let go of expectations, worry, and fear.
It allows you to connect more fully with your environment. We spend so much time in our heads, that it can be refreshing to truly pay attention to what’s going on around you. Journaling teaches you to engage all five senses when you’re writing.
It makes room for new ideas. When you have a great idea and you commit it to paper, it makes room for new ones to float to the surface. Also known as “brain dumping”, this process of getting ideas down on paper ensures there’s always free real estate in your head for new ideas to start forming.
It allows you to exercise the creative part of your brain. Journaling by hand exercises your brain in ways that typing just doesn’t. Regardless of what we do for a living, we tend to spend a lot of time at the computer. The trend is that the written word is becoming extinct. But sitting down and putting pen to paper puts us in touch with our more personal and authentic self. Once your brain is stretched through the journaling process, it becomes more likely to access that lesser-used world of inspiration
It creates a rich well of creative ideas to draw on.Your journal is a receptacle for life, which can be recycled in a variety of ways into new forms of expression and creativity. Old journals are a treasure of material from your daily life that can be turned into mixed media pieces. Collections of writings and musings can become the foundation of a story, blog post, article or even a play. Recurring themes can help cultivate a new creative medium such as poetry.
Creativity is all about the process. When you focus on final product rather than the process, you can quickly lose sight of your original intention or stall your inspiration. Journaling is an ultimate exercise in process over product. It teaches you to create for the sake of creating and not for a specific result. Knowing that your journal is for your eyes only, you can just be yourself without forcing your creativity. You can journal and create just for you.
Journaling is one of the easiest ways to build a daily creative practice. Are you a morning person or are you more inspired at night? Do you have time during your lunch break to put pen to paper? The good news is that there are no requirements for journaling at the same time every day, allowing you to be spontaneous.
You might also consider a special place where you feel most comfortable journaling. It can be a comfy chair in your bedroom, a corner in your home office or a creative space you’ve established. It should be a space where you can write without interruption or distractions.
I encourage you to set journaling goals based on the time and energy you spend rather than looking at results. Let your journal be your safe space where you can let go of fear and perfectionism and just focus on the process of getting your ideas, stories, and inspiration on paper. When you focus on the process you can stop worrying about the outcome and take time to be playful and free.
If you’re a woman over 50 you have accumulated a lifetime of wisdom as well as experiences. These qualities give you a unique perspective with which to explore a creative experience. It’s your turn. It’s your time.
A lot of women might say they are just not creative, but I believe that in fact everybody is, and that we are just misunderstanding what creativity truly is. The dictionary definition of creativity says “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. Using our imagination or following through on an original idea is really part of our everyday life.
I believe part of the reason people say they wish they were creative is that they lack the confidence and maybe even lack faith in their ability to be creative. But what if it was part of daily living; simple activities we could engage in to build that confidence?
Remember that being creative doesn’t need to be complicated. It should be something that when you engage, you leave everything else behind! In this post I’ll share some ideas to help you not only get started but pursue what really excites you.
Don’t let anything stand in your way! Put your fears aside and start simple. Learning throughout your life can positively impact your health, give you a more youthful mindset, and help improve cognitive functioning as you age.
15 ACTIVITIES TO NURTURE YOUR CREATIVE SOUL
Go on a nature walk
Write a poem
Read a few chapters from an inspiring book
Draw or doodle in a sketchbook
Cook or bake using your favorite recipes
Handwrite a note to someone special
Journal about what you’re feeling, learning, etc.
Take a picture with your phone. You might even share it.
Do a simple cross stitch
Listen to your favorite music
Cut some flower to brighten up your living space
Join an art, garden or writing club in your area
Paint a mini canvas
Spend time in your garden
Pick up yarn and knit or crochet something
You’ll probably notice a few activities in this list that you already do as part of your weekly routine. If you don’t have your own garden, visit a community garden to take in the beauty or visit a local nursery and find an easy-care plant that can help you bring nature indoors.
You don’t knit or crochet? How about embroidery or some hand stitching? Want to bring your note writing up a notch? Make your own card using colorful paper, stickers, watercolors or whatever you have in the house. Just the act of creating a card is therapeutic. And just imaging how delighted the recipient will be knowing you took the time to create something just for them!
Appreciating nature, enjoying music, or just being curious are all signs that you’re creative! It’s inside you just waiting to be expressed! Write down creative ideas throughout your day and build your list of fun activities that bring you joy and nurture your creative soul!
I believe in you and your creative spirit! Experiment, discover, and enjoy!
Now that you know what creativity is and how it’s beneficial for your health, wellness, and social life… What Now?
I’d like to offer an idea to help you get started. Write out a list of all the things you loved to do as a child. Don’t censor this list, just write down everything you can think of. Did you love riding bikes, exploring, painting with watercolors? Let your mind roam free and see what amazing ideas you come up with.
It may take a few sessions to fill out your list. Don’t rush the process and don’t settle for just a few things. You might want to visit some old photos of you as a child to remember what life was like in those innocent years. This will likely bring back many memories no matter what age you are. Take time to reminisce and bask in the sweet memories as they enter your mind.
Some of my fondest memories were hopping on my bike and riding for miles! I’d stop and pick flowers, take in the landscape, and just feel the freedom of riding with no specific destination in mind. Yes, that was a creative experience…I was letting my mind roam free and I often returned with a fresh perspective and new ideas.
Creativity is mixing a bit of inspiration with a dose of imagination.
Then there were all those moments I spent in the kitchen with my mom and my sisters learning how to bake and cook. With 4 girls in our family, we were often doing something creative like baking cookies. I was even famous for making mini pizzas out of English Muffins! A creative soul even at a young age.
Back to your list. I’m hoping you’ve got a good selection to pick from so it’s time to pick the 3 top things that really excite you! Does it make your heart race to think about hopping on a bike? How about searching for a special recipe and making it to share with your family. Would you feel that special delight to take out your camera (or iPhone) and take some nature photos, landscapes, photos of your kids or grandkids?
The first step is to pick the one that excites you the most! As you look at your list what activity makes you want to jump right in? Does it require any specific supplies? If so, check first around your home and see if you can use what you already have. One of my favorite aspects of creativity is repurposing common household items.
Let’s take collage, for example. Do you have some magazines or a cardboard box you can cut up for your base? How about colored pencils or markers (which you may have on hand if you have grandkids!)? Add in a bit of ribbon, buttons, or washi tape and you’re ready to create! You could pick a theme, a specific color scheme or select pictures that bring you joy! The beauty of collage is that there are no rules! The sky’s the limit!
Would you feel more motivated with a creative buddy or partner to share this experience? Find someone who shares your interest and start this journey together. There is power in numbers, and you may be an encouragement to others by asking them to join you.
If you’re like me, you might like a solo adventure at first. Whether on your own, with a friend or a group, this process is meant to expand your world through creative expression in whatever way you choose!
Don’t let doubt stop you on this journey. You are capable, creative, and filled with ideas just waiting to come to life!
As you rekindle your creativity you can expect to experience delight, joy, and an intense feeling of satisfaction. Enjoy every moment!
If you’re a woman over 50 it’s quite likely you’ve seen many changes and experienced multiple life transitions. They might include graduating college and starting a career, getting married, having children, or even retiring. These life events can make us put our creative life on hold, sometimes for many years.
Whether you find yourself in a place where you’re settled and content or looking for something new to enrich your life may we suggest rekindling your creativity?
Before you start making excuses for why you just don’t have time or think you “don’t have a creative bone” in your body, stop right there! Each of us has a bit of creativity just waiting to be brought to life. And being creative doesn’t mean you have to paint like Picasso. It can be the simplest thing like gardening, baking, crochet, or even flower arranging. The list is endless!
Just what is creativity? I like to think of creativity as the place where imagination meets inspiration. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “The use of imagination or original ideas”. Britannica says “Creativity is the ability to make or bring into existence something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.
Other definitions include:
Allowing your personality to shine
Allowing the mind to roam freely
Expressing yourself freely
Trusting your instincts
Believing you can make a difference
Believing you can create something worthwhile
Two ideas coming together to create something new
Daring to be different
Taking something common but making it fresh and different
So, you can see creativity has a wide interpretation. Your creative gift will most likely be different from others. Many people start comparing what they create to others, and this is the biggest enemy. Don’t let comparison stand in the way of your creative life! Start. Explore. Create.
Let’s continue to explore creativity and talk about a few of the benefits. Yes, there are many health and social benefits of creative expression, especially as you age.
Creativity improves your Mood.
After engaging in a creative task, like writing in a journal, knitting, or drawing, your brain is filled with dopamine – an all-natural antidepressant that motivates you and makes you feel good.
Even singing in the car can elevate your mood and make you smile more.
Studies have found that older adults that take part in a creative activity just once a day had a more positive outlook on life and said they felt greater happiness.
Creativity improves cognitive function.
Just as parents encourage creativity because it’s good for a child’s brain development, it also stimulates parts of our brains that aren’t used for everyday tasks. This stimulation engages our right brain which helps improve cognitive function over time.
Creativity boosts your self-esteem
Creative expression comes with a sense of personal satisfaction when you’re finished. You may also experience a sense of achievement when you create something new.
Studies show that just 45 minutes of free art-making was enough to improve a person’s confidence. With your self-confidence on the rise, you’re more likely to continue being creative!
Creativity improves your social life
Maintaining social connections is important for your well-being at every age.
Creative activities like music groups, cooking lessons, or photography workshops offer opportunities to interact with others and make friends. This is especially important for those that may have experienced a loss and are feeling lonely as they get older.
Creativity is just one way to keep up those social connections. Reach out and get involved wherever you feel comfortable.
Creativity alleviates stress and anxiety
Have you noticed that it’s nearly impossible to be stressed or anxious when you’re completely and utterly in the moment, distracted by an interesting novel, cake recipe or art project? It brings you to that state where you’re so absorbed in an activity that you forget all about your worries.
Adult coloring books are quite popular because they allow you to let your mind flow freely. You’re immersed in the moment and focused only on what you’re doing at the time. These activities help reduce stress and anxiety and make you more content overall.
How do I get started?
A good place to start your new creative journey is to think about those things you enjoyed as a child. Start building your list and then try one of them! You might find your new passion and make new friends along the way.