Creativity Will Keep You Well

Do remember that catchy song written by Bobby McFerrin in the late 90’s ‘Be happy, don’t worry.’ If you do hum along with me as you read the good news of why the fun of creativity is so-ooo good for us.

The new age guru biologist Dr Bruce Lipton explains –
‘Cells, tissues, and organs do not question information sent by the nervous system. Rather, they respond with equal fervor to accurate life-affirming perceptions and to self-destructive misperceptions’ . You still humming? You can see quite clearly that our cells are going to respond with alacrity when we are happy and will release a mighty fine cocktail of good chemicals into our system. 

Dr Bruce Lipton

Be happy ……..

What makes us happy is being in the FLOW – 

“Flow” is a psychological state in which individuals feel entirely and joyfully absorbed in an activity that challenges their skills and abilities. 

The term Flow was coined by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (delightfully pronounced Me-High-Chick-Sent-Me-Hi) a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University in California USA. He is also the founder and co-director of the non-profit research institute Quality of Life Research Center that studies happiness and creativity. 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Creativity is not limited to our stereo type idea of picking up a paintbrush, threading a needle, using a hot gun, a block of clay or strumming a guitar it can be a physical activity like sport. When I got my epiphany to do something creative I was at first limited by mobility and dexterity. It really stretched me to dream up possible projects. But you know according to Prof Me-High-Chick-Sent-Me-Hi that act of stretching yourself, is the first important step of getting in the flow. Flow is when time means nothing, your whole being is involved and you are using your skills to the utmost. 

Within a short time of starting my creative projects I found I slept better waking each day with a welcome anticipation. I felt stronger and was more content in myself, The type of things I did ranged from the simplest – like planning a picnic to the more complicated as my mobility and dexterity returned. After faithfully planning, executing and reviewing these projects every day for eight months I returned to the neurologists who upon finding no symptoms pronounced I was in remission. 

Come on now start your creative juices going they will take to a happy place, away from the scariness of COVID 19. 

Once more with gusto dear friends –

Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now

Not Buying Into The Fear

In my book A Journey of Creative Healing, this step has to do with my rejection of the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. In the 1960s little was understood about the disease and its prognosis was grim. My refusal to believe I had a disease of that magnitude stood me in good stead as I viewed my illness as a physical and emotional breakdown caused by shock of the loss of my young husband. But if I had accepted the diagnosis I believe the outcome of a return to good health may well have been very different.

This step of refusing to buy into the fear of the unknown is just as relevant in our COVID 19 world today. There is no other news that fills our screens, blasts from our radios and fills our newsprint than this virus. 

Government and health authorities discuss the plight every hour, every day. Hypothesising that if we keep on this trajectory there will be no beds for other medical needs, there will be a dire shortage of respirators. And it does not stop there, so many in our community are joining the long agonising queues at welfare offices and face dire financial stress. 

You would have to be living under a rock to not to be fearful.

According to science our primordial part of the brain has an appetite for bad news. In fact this reptilian part of our brain is constantly scanning our horizon looking for anything that will threaten us. If it finds a nub of juicy danger it doesn’t send this through to the neo-cortex of our logical thinking. Instead lizard-synapses-firing it retains it, constantly edgy ready to initiate our fight or flight response. Put simply we are addicted to bad news.

Which, very nicely thank you, plays into our potential for the nocebo effect. Nocebo, (from the Latin I shall harm) is the counterpart to Placebo (I shall please). The Placebo has many ‘pleasing’ studies that show the benefits of a sugar coated pill but the Nocebo challenges even the most radical researchers for the obvious reason they could harm patients. But it is well recognised by the medical world that people develop symptoms or an illness by either suggestion or our own negative conditioning. In other words be careful what you wish for! 

The answer is simple make a real effort not to dwell in adversity. We know what we need to do to keep us safe, social-1.5m-distancing, washing your hands repeatedly and stay home.

Restrict the amount of news you listen to. Try not to workshop with your bubble folk every questionable step those in authority make. Set your intention to embrace mindfulness and practice gratitude. Indulge in light-hearted movies, especially anything humorous, sex (if you are still up for it, okay double-entendre weak but hey hey) exercise, dance, sing or anything that will release the good chemicals into our systems. 

It was Franklin D Roosevelt, no stranger to adversity himself, who said ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’