One aspect of health that is often neglected in the media and our discussions in my office is creativity. The creative mind is a calm mind, a focused mind, a sharp mind. Focusing on a project distracts us from our normal everyday issues. It is an active meditation, forcing us to slow down our hectic pace. It trains us to hold focus and attention for a long time. It keeps us learning and growing.
When we are stressed, we get into a fight or flight state (aka the sympathetic nerve response). We release hormones and fire neurons that get us reacting instead of thinking, worrying instead of doing, and getting sicker instead of healing. Creativity shuts down in this stressed state, though conversely if you can get into a creative state you can shut down the stressed state. You can relax, focus on your project, and forget all about the worrying for a little while.
Though any creative pursuit allays stress, I particularly enjoy making things with my hands out of wood, metal, and wool. Every Christmas, I try to make as many gifts as possible. This year, I had a great time making candlesticks and candles for people. Check out this video of me making candlesticks. Slow down and enjoy it. The rhythm of the hatchet, the lathe, and the hammer are primal rhythms that tap into something deep inside. Hopefully you enjoy it and subscribe to our new Through the Woods Youtube channel if you’d like to see more videos to inspire a healthy lifestyle.
If you have a craft or creative thing you love doing, make sure you are practicing it regularly. If you don’t have one, then it is never too late to start! While the end product of your creative pursuit is important, the journey is the most delightful. When you get good enough that you also enjoy the things you make, well that’s like the cherry on top.