The Art of Getting More Creative - Brain Plasticity

I never considered myself a very realistic artist. I love color, design, abstract painting, and ceramics, but my mind was never very good at drawing. In enters my three- year-old, extremely artistic daughter (as most children at this age are: “ Mommy, can you draw me a deer?” she asks in the sweetest, my-mom-can-do-anything-in-the-world voice. Now, my mind starts to say, “Zeyna, I am not a very good drawer…” But, errr! Stop right there! I don’t want to be teaching her these limiting beliefs, that if we aren’t the best at something then we shouldn't even try. So, I say, “Sure!” ...and I panic inside. I think, 'Okay, get your phone and Google "how to draw a deer."' I find one that looks pretty simple, but I'm feeling the stress inside me building. At the same time, I am trying to relax because it seems the harder I try to draw something well, the worse my already-limited drawing abilities are. So I am internally boosting my self-confidence, saying to myself things like, “Just one line at a time.” And...I made a pretty recognizable deer face!

This goes on for the next few days, my daughter asking me to draw things such as a fox, Santa Claus, etc. I start to think about how much relaxed focus it is taking for me to draw these simple images, which leads me to think about neuroplasticity or brain plasticity and how my brain is building new neural pathways and ways of thinking by incorporating a new mental activity like drawing, something I don’t regularly do. We get stuck in our habits. The way we drive to the gym, the meals we prepare, how we speak to others or what we think we can or can't do. By trying new activities, we can change they way we think and add new creative expression to our lives. Any kind of activity we don't usually do, mental or physical, helps to expand our neural pathways. This can help when we are trying to come up with new ideas or figuring out how to solve a problem.

What’s something you have been wanting to try to expand your life experience?

 

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