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A distinctive Human characteristic is the capacity for creativity. We can imagine and visualize something in our minds and use our limbs, tools and other skills to make it a reality.

For this discussion, I’m going to use creativity to refer to more than strictly artistic things. When you create, you make something. You build, construct, imagine, think up and otherwise assemble what you have conceived. This includes artistic means like painting or writing or music. This also includes other more logical means like building houses and cooking meals. Some of us also use spoken words, body movements, ideas, communities, networks, social connections, and even political statements.

1.     Creativity is a counterpart to consumerism. All creatures consume things. We must consume to survive. Humans have the capacity to create for the sake of creating and expressing. I believe that our connection to our creative nature is highly indicative of our spiritual, mental and emotional health.

2.     When we create, we exceed ourselves. We’re not just consuming, but we’re giving something back to the world. We’re putting a part of ourselves out in the world to touch and be touched by others. Written words, prepared food, carved wood, practiced performances…these are the ways we un-isolate and exist as more than just bodies that consume. Our minds and emotions and souls become active. We bump up against other people’s creations and have the potential for relationship.

The things we create, the works we do, they become an extension of ourselves. Our works should not be the essence of who we are, that essence is something deeper. Rather our creativities are the tools we use to present our essences for interactions with other people.

3.     Creativity makes you looks at how busy you are. If you don’t have time to be creating something, you’re probably too busy.

4.      Creativity is one of the first things to suffer when you are stressed. If you can regularly and with excellence devote energy to your creative method of choice, then chances are you are living a relatively balanced life.

5.     Creativity makes you look at how comfortable you are in your own skin. Every person being unique, every person’s creations and contributions to the universe will be unique, and this is not only okay, this is expected. When I’m in a creative mode but I’m trying to do work that’s significantly similar to someone else’s and if I’m doing this because I don’t like what I come up with naturally, this is a good indication of internal conflict, angst, dissonance, disparity, or otherwise not-liking-myself, which is no way to live.

Having said that. There is always room for self-improvement and learning from others is a great way to self-improve. The thing to remember is that the finished product will be more like you and less like anybody else.

6.     Creativity has some answers to depression, anxiety and even addictions. These three conditions have some very self-focused aspects. Being creative forces you into a different mindset. Your creative work is something to think about other than what makes you sad, your worries, or using thoughts.

7.     Creativity is empowering. You get to look at the work of your mind and hands and realize you did something! You expressed something! You have given an offering to the universe instead of merely consuming.

8.     At the very least, creativity offers a break from the normal routines of life. Whatever you do for paid work during the day, you can create something with words, notes, colors, shapes, numbers, wood, metal, voices, bodies, flour and sugar, logic and politics, friends and communities. Whatever your skills are, you can use them to create something that is different than the rest of your life.