Humans all start life as a defenseless blank state–messy and crying yet ready to absorb and adapt to the world around them. Each day brings plentiful chances to experience, react, and learn from the surroundings. Children enact new skills as they grow, daily acclimating to their role and cultivating an understanding of society. A bulk of this natural process involves developing a unique sense of creativity. Creativity is a highly dynamic idea, comprising factors such as divergent thinking, problem-solving, and individual inspiration. It is such a crucial element of personality because it defines how you view the world as well as what you wish to make of it. Oftentimes it is a misunderstood concept, one that parents focus a lot of time and energy on fostering in their child while they neglect their own. Here is a brief overview of why creativity is essential, what obstacles you may encounter, and why Oregon is a perfect place to practice it. 

Embracing Uncertainty

We can all be honest that the world has been suffering lately. Watching or reading the news can be disheartening, and most of the content raises more questions than it answers! With this current state of uncertainty, many of us are left feeling anxious, hesitant, and longing for peace. One of the best ways to combat this type of stress is through creativity. While the routine of crashing on the couch with takeout and a favorite show might be a reliable comfort, this provides very little creative stimulation. Expanding your mind does not have to be exhausting or terrifying, but it does require exposure to original ideas and circumstances. Make a habit out of saying ‘yes’ to activities and places that offer chances to practice important skills like flexibility, positive attitude, curiosity, and determination. Start with something as simple as consuming content that you would not usually, like a different genre of tv show. Take a chance on starting a conversation with the stranger behind you in line. Visit an unfamiliar historical site. Sign up for community activities, like a dance class or open forum. These examples are just a few of the ways you can practice creative thinking. Oregon is full of creative minds who are actively reaching out, looking for others willing to share their time and ideas with. Choosing to engage the mind and broaden your scope makes it significantly easier to de-stress in this hectic, demanding world. Remember that fear is not an enemy, it is a useful friend when properly understood. Challenging perceptions and enacting change are both common positive results of an active, creative mind.

Positive and Negative Ions

Take a quick mental trip back to elementary science, remembering that the matter making up the world around us is composed of atoms. These building blocks also carry electric charges that are determined by the electrons it possesses. Positively and negatively charged ions work together to keep balance, shifting and bonding to each other at different times as needed. Little do most know, this process has effects on human health and creativity. Positive ions are naturally generated by humidity, dust, pollution, and strong winds, but they are also created in mass quantities by man-made products like fluorescent lights, televisions, air-conditioning systems, cellphones, printers, paint, carpeting, and more. An excess of exposure to positive ions is associated with adverse health effects, such as fatigue, headaches, irritability, nausea, and poor concentration. Overall, positive ions sure do not leave much for us humans to be positive about; however, negative ions are the heroes of the day! Just like antibodies attack a virus, negative ions will seek out and attach themselves to free-floating positively-charged pollutants and drag them to the ground. They are also inhaled and incorporated into the bloodstream, where they work to raise serotonin levels. Negative ions are generated by beaches, waterfalls, dense forests, heavy rain, springs, mountains … basically, Oregon is brimming with natural sources! Just by taking in some big, deep breaths of ocean air, you can counteract weeks of positive ion build-up and leave feeling rejuvenated. Just remember to leave the cell phone behind consciously! On the following day you feel particularly ill or impaired, consider recent ion exposure. If you spend excessive periods around electronics and pollution, make a dedicated effort to properly offset this with increased exposure to negative ion sources.

Parks, Peaks, and Pastimes

Creativity is frequently associated with artists and stops right there. Ask around for someone creative, and most people will quickly point in the opposite direction. Developing and appreciating your own unique sense of creativity is imperative to your personality. It is also (and perhaps, unfortunately) something that no one else can do for you. It typically has little to do with a successful artistic career and rather is deeply connected to the things, places, and people that inspire you. Creativity shows up in the ways that you react to and innovate within the world. Hypothetically, imagine you got home from errands to find that a pipe burst in your kitchen. Not a single soul would be pleased to arrive at that flooded disaster! However, it is guaranteed that each person will choose to handle that stress in their own way. There are the options to grab towels and start sopping up the mess, call the emergency plumber, gather the important things and head to a relative’s, and even sit down in the water and cry. Coming up with a solution to immediate problems requires the use of creativity, but the best part is that it never needs to be perfect. Creativity makes individual reactions endless, even in similar circumstances, and this is one of the greatest defining factors of our species! There may be certain times or situations in which your creativity truly shines or struggles. Remember that one of the toughest battles is admitting your style and needs will never be exactly the same as others, but the dynamic interactions of opposing ideas create the most fertile creative environments. Some are motivated by a crisp, foggy morning with a strong cup of tea. Others need a loud night with friends at a concert. Others need a reliable schedule with plenty of solitude. Others need lots of mindful tasks to complete and problems to solve. Others need a complete absence of structure to function creatively! It is never a waste of time to indulge your own creative needs. If our ancestors had neglected the deep inner calling of their inspirations, many of our beautiful parks would not exist. Our peaks would remain uncharted. Our favorite pastimes would never have been invented. Instead, Oregonians of all ages embraced uncertainties and came up with their own creative solutions. It is never too late to experiment with new ways to improve your circumstances. Age is no restriction to using imagination, only close-mindedness! 

Research Sources

Three Types of Creativity and How to Use Them by Balancing Change Mindfully

The Different Types of Creativity by The Institute of You How to Boost Mood, Immunity, and Cognitive

Performance with Negative Ions by Jane Harkness of Peaceful Dumpling

When a Negative is a Positive by Healthy Living Info

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