When I prescribe creative activities to my patients, many are delighted at the prospect of painting, journaling, knitting, or similar endeavors. But others are hesitant. “Oh, I can’t do that,” they say. “I can’t paint,” or “I can’t think of anything to write in a journal.” It’s important to realize that this is not about creating artistic masterpieces. It’s about getting well. So don’t fall into the trap of judging yourself or the things you create. It’s not the artistic merit of your projects that counts—it’s what those projects can do to heal your “pain brain.”
Try turning the clock back and acting like you’re a little kid again. When someone handed you a piece of paper and some crayons, you probably drew or scribbled for hours! And you did so without
worrying whether you were producing great art; you were happy just being creative. With a stick in your hand, you became Zorro. With a dishtowel tied around your neck, you leapt off furniture and you imagined you were Superman. With a few dolls, you created entire scenes and invented conversations for different personalities.
Yoga For Upper Back Pain Relief You Are Creative! Photo Gallery
You were born with natural curiosity and the desire to explore and express yourself. And that’s what creativity is: curiosity combined with exploration and expression. So when you find yourself standing in front of an easel with paint brush in your hand, just paint. If you already know what you’d like to paint, fine. If not, let your hand move across the canvas as it pleases. Don’t tell it what to do; let it tell you. If your hand wants to paint on the top part of the canvas, fine. If it wants to dip the brush in a new color, great! Allowing your hand to paint as it pleases shuts down the critical part of your brain that says things like “That’s not good enough.” This part of your brain is loud and dominant. When it’s turned off, other parts of your brain can finally be heard.
The part of your brain where pain is felt may guide your hand to paint some jagged rocks, or perhaps a spike driven into an eyeball. The part of your brain where emotions are felt may guide your hand to paint a frowning face, or some teardrops. The part of your brain dealing with connections to other people may guide your hand to paint a fence with you on one side, all by yourself, and lots of other people on the other side, ignoring you.
It could be that the parts of your brain that finally have a chance to “speak” aren’t concerned with specific images right now. Maybe they just want your hand to move across the canvas, first rapidly and then slowly, pushing down hard and then easing up, going in circles in the center and then dabbing dots around the edges.
It doesn’t matter what these parts of the brain want your hand to do. The fact that they finally have a chance to “speak” is all that really matters. Maybe they want you to create a recognizable image, an abstract image, or just move your hand and arm with purpose, no matter how obscure that purpose may be to your conscious mind.
It’s all creative, and it’s all good.