Did you get a chance to read through Saturdays’ class? If not, it’s totally okay! For those who have, here is the promised discussion on why I believe fitness and creativity are linked, as well as a little about me that you may not know.
First, I am going to do something that terrifies me so I can get over the hump and get it out of the way now. As I share with you about my fitness journey and how it has affected my creativity, I am going to share about how my weight and fitness level has changed over the years. I hate pictures because I have never been happy with my weight. Not when I was 105. Not when I was 130. Not when I was 180. Not when I was 250. Not when I was 210. Not when I was 204. It has always been a hinderance for me because I compared myself to what I saw as sexy and acceptable around me. I decided that rather than just talk about it, I would find pictures that show the last 9 years in various stages, with the majority of the fluctuation being within the past 3 1/2 years. All pictures have been shared publicly on social media except the one from the bathroom, which I am still trying to figure out why I took since I am not a person who does selfies often, let alone full body ones! The pictures show that when I talk about fluctuation over the past years, it’s been a good amount of up and down.
When I was looking through the pictures, I noted how toward the end, I finally started to really smile despite the weight… whether I feel good about where I was at the moment weight wise or not, I noticed that my smile was starting to be more genuine and less fear of the camera. This is because of the mental check I did over the past year as I stopped allowing others to determine my confidence and stopped allowing myself to talk to me in ways I would never talk to others.
What you can’t see in the photos is the creativity differences in my life. But when I look back at my creativity during 2010, when the first picture was taken and think of the way it changed during the various times, it is clear to me there is a connection. I realized this last year when I noticed I was journaling a lot more and using design when doing so. I was doing more mixed media art again and sharing my thoughts visually as well as in written word. I was going through a notebook every month, sometimes 2 and 3. (I have one box that is just journals from 2018 compared to the second box that has journals from 2013 to 2017.) It is wild how much my creativity took off as I started to engage better with fitness for the right reasons.
When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we aren’t super creative for the most part. Some people are VERY GOOD at drawing from the darkness and using that pain to create. I have some poetry that will send chills down folks’ spines that I wrote during my marriage when I was at my darkest periods. But the creation during that time is limited. The depth comes from the sadness where as when you feel good about yourself overall you tend to have a wider range. I noticed that when I was feeling good, I would to only write but express myself through spoken word, drawing, painting, dancing, singing, etc. You might not want to see or hear me being creative in all these areas, but it was definitely a wider range. Additionally, the creativity carried over to other areas of my life. I became more creative in my parenting and approach to work. I was able to think more outside the box and create from a place of freedom not darkness.
I can’t deny that in my life there is a direct influence of fitness on how much I create. It’s not just about self-confidence. The more I move, the healthier I begin to feel. The healthier I begin to feel, the better my choices are for food and eating. The better I eat, the healthier my brain feels, thereby opening up positive feelings, clear thinking, and creativity. And the more creative and happier I am, the better I feel about life overall. So the link between moving and creativity is a given for me.
For me, just talking a long walk can clear my head and bring new life to my thoughts. Whether it is a work project or something I am doing for fun, walking feels great as my blood flows and I feel the wind on my face.
Kickboxing is something I do when I am feeling frustrated, though I would like to start doing it more often so I can lose weight as well as just for fun. But the exhilaration of the exercise has always been something that got me flowing where I can write better.
Meditation is a must for me. I have to sit and clear my head that way as well, and I believe all fitness should include time for meditation and moving my body in stretching positions so I can ensure flexibility and promote joint health.
As always, I love using essential oils, so it is no surprise that I wear a few dabs of Oola Fitness and diffuse En-R-Gee when exercising. When I am done, I use Relieve It on my shoulders, knees, and upper arms to support recovery and reduce any impact it may have had on my body that will hurt the next day!
Other’s Experience – What Studies and Resources Say
A 2013 study reveled that creatives tended to use movement to overcome mental blocks and inspire creativity. The study found improvement in convergent and divergent thinking when folks exercised and moved their bodies more often. The specifics of the study are noted in the link.
In 2016, Business Insider shared this article that discusses the impact of exercise on the imagination and creativity. While more study is needed in this area, the article notes, there is good evidence that movements expands our ability to be creative.
In this article by ACE, we hear firsthand experience from the author and then more discussion of the book mentioned in the Business Insider article, “Happy Brain, Happy Life.”
While this definitely isn’t a journal-worthy post, I hope it has provided you with both my opinion and some research from others to show there is a link between fitness and creativity and this is why I share with you articles on fitness. Even if you just move a little throughout the week, starting somewhere is helpful.
Do you find that you are more creative when you move or do you not believe that creativity and movement are related?
If you aren’t near a gym and would like to take fitness to the next level this year, Conquer Fitness United offers an online program for those not near Hartford, CT, who can’t make it into the gym. What Drew is doing up there has made me consider moving to Hartford because I haven’t seen another gym like that in a while. He is honest, direct, and cuts through all the layers of gunk you’ve built around your heart and mind. Drew doesn’t just care about your body but the whole person you are. His program is not for the weak but is for anyone willing to go all in. (I don’t do affiliate links on the blog, so this is free promotion that Drew doesn’t even know about yet.) You can follow him on Instagram for great encouragement as well.
If you would like to review the class, which you can do at your own pace and without anyone hurrying you through or slowing you down, here are the links and titles:
- Slique, Strong, and Fit #1: Take Your 2019 Fitness to the Next Level