Updated: Jan 19
What is Your “Creative” Medicine?
The act of creating empowers us to have a say on how we will shape and respond to the suffering and hope within us. —Catherine Moon
As an emotionally pain-ridden teenager, creating art and journaling was my only relief from the pain. My art was my medicine, and I made it a priority in my life because it has helped me deal with many of my life’s challenges including a cancer diagnosis.
You can scrape away the layers of disappointment and hurt that no longer serve you and add fresh brush strokes of awareness and self-love.
—Rebecca Schweitzer Release Your Creativity
Hospitals are now developing “Arts in Medicine” programs because research has demonstrated that art-making and other forms of creative expression enhance the healing process. These programs promote creative activities to help patients cope with the symptoms of treatment and reduce the stress of illness.
You don’t have to be a talented artist to enjoy the benefits of the creative process. Studies show that “artistic skill” is not necessary to receive the therapeutic benefits of creative self-expression. What is more important is that you find a medium (coloring, painting, crafting) that you enjoy and make it a conscious form of self-care.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is allowing physicians to write prescriptions for free museum visits for their patients. The museum supports the idea that “art is good medicine.” In a 2017 report, the Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing in the UK stated, “The time has come to recognize the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and well-being.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel, the author of The Art of Healing, believes we receive the most healing benefits from the creative process when we are in the “zone.” Being in the zone is when you are focused on an activity and time falls away; you feel energized and fulfilled in body, mind, and spirit.
You do not need any training or talent to get into the zone, you just have to allow yourself to be present while focusing your attention on one thing. Your creative medicine can be, art journaling, doodling, gardening, or coloring with your kids. Everyone has their favorite thing that makes them go “aah.” What makes you sigh and go “aah”?
When you make creativity a priority you give yourself access to the healing benefits of creative expression. I saw firsthand those coaching clients who incorporated creativity while in treatment for cancer developed better coping skills. They used creativity as a tool to manage stress, depression, and worry. When you create with the intention to explore the healing benefits, you use creativity/art-making as a type of medicine.
The following story shows how one client had a better quality of life because she used her art-making as her creative medicine.
A coaching client found the Creative Prescriptions activities so helpful she decided to create an art journal to document her cancer treatment. I saw many of the pieces that she created. They were powerful images about her life and her cancer which helped her to process her journey, this was her creative medicine. Even though she was in treatment, she made creativity a priority because of the many healing benefits she would not have experienced otherwise.
What is your creative medicine?
Fill in the Creative Medicine Wheel – for your free worksheet click the following link
Once you have completed the creative medicine wheel answer the following questions:
What creative activities put you in the “zone”?
What benefits do you experience while being in the “zone”?
What is my creative medicine? What art activities, crafts, or hobbies help me feel better?
To explore the healing benefits of creativity for yourself, pick one of the above activities and schedule a “creative medicine date.” Give yourself enough time to explore and enjoy the activity you picked.
When can you schedule some “creative me” time this week?
After your first “creative medicine date,” journal about your experience.