5 Components of Wellbeing — The Creative Self

By: Vanessa Soleil (CCERC)

As the month of May comes to a close, the Community Counseling, Education, and Research Center (CCERC) prepares to take a break for the summer, bringing you the fourth piece in our ongoing series on the five components of well-being. In our previous articles on the Indivisible Self, we talked about the social self (family, friendship, and romantic love), the essential self (your spirituality, cultural identity, and self-care), and the physical self (exercise and eating well). This month we will focus on the creative self (your thoughts, your emotions, what you do for work/study, and your sense of humor), and return in August with the coping self (what you do in your leisure, your stress management, and your self-worth). The counselors at CCERC are passionate about wellness and working with our clients to harness their strengths to live their best lives. Reach out to talk to someone today if you would like support in using this model to make positive changes in your life.

Not everyone wants to be a painter or professional dancer, but we all have an innate creativity that comes through in our ability to learn, laugh, think outside of the box, and express our authentic selves and natural talents. Tapping into the creative self means realizing how unique we are and recognizing the strengths and gifts we bring to the world just by being ourselves. Nurturing this aspect means attending to our thinking—being mentally active and open-minded, willing to learn and bring curiosity to our lives and interactions—and our emotions—knowing how we are feeling, and expressing those feelings appropriately. The creative self also includes our satisfaction in a job or vocation that we feel uses our skills, a feeling of mastery and competence and a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at our mistakes. There is a lot of research that supports the benefits of positive thinking, emotional regulation, and laughter—reducing depression and anxiety, while strengthening the immune system. Read on to spark some ideas of how to connect to your creative self.

  • Engage in life-long learning. Take advantage of events and programming at your local public library, universities, or museums. Watch the 25 Most Popular TED talks of all time. Enroll in a free online class through Coursera, whether it is how to speak Korean, intro to philosophy, or how to do web design, there are so many fascinating topics to dive into and learn.
  • Understand the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Sometimes we believe that our goals cannot be reached or feel discouraged at a new challenge. Our thoughts are powerful and if we approach life with the idea that our abilities and knowledge are limited or “fixed,” then we are less likely to succeed or even risk the challenge of new opportunities. In a growth mindset, we know that with practice and effort we can learn new skills, adapt, and succeed. Catch yourself when you have thoughts like “I will fail,” or “I don’t have talent,” and turn it into: “Before people succeed, they often experience some failures along the way,” and “I may not be able to do it now, but with practice and effort, in time I can probably learn.”
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