January 17, 2010

Get The Balance Right...

One of the things I'm working on this year is taking better care of myself. This doesn't mean that I've resolved to lose 20 pounds or to lower my cholesterol. It's more general, and thus I think it's more achievable. It just means that I'm taking steps to feel better, both physically and mentally. Because I don't have a specific goal in mind (like be a size 6 by June), I feel like I have a better chance at success. So far, my plan is working: I'm eating better, getting a little exercise, socializing a bit and expressing my creative side more. It's this last part that is about balance -- and I really think it contributes to a better sense of mental health. Creativity means different things to different people and honestly, it isn't something I feel gifted with. I envy creative and artistic people. They just seem to have a special quality and perspective. I've read that creativity is something that is cultivated -- it's like a muscle you exercise regularly or it atrophies. I'm starting to believe that's true. I think you've got to expose yourself to a variety of experiences and stimuli in order to start building that creative spark. And I really do think there's a link between a suppressed creative mind and depression, and that there's a reason that art therapy is such a helpful tool in treating and diagnosing mental disorders. I feel like if I'm able to bring balance to my life -- to fulfill both my everyday practical obligations and satisfy my creative desires -- that I'm a happier person, a more whole person. The problem is that everyday life isn't always conducive to developing creative tendencies. How do artists and writers do it? How do they separate their lives -- their commitments and obligations -- from the time they need to nurture and grow the other side of their selves, their expressive side? How do other people get the balance right?

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