After 1,2 & 3 your stress level is so under control you might not need to read this last post on The Incredibly Creative Stress Kit.
4. FABRICATE! YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE
HOW IN THE WORLD DOES CREATIVE EXPRESSION HELP STRESS?
During creative states of intense concentration your brain wave pattern changes, much like hypnosis. It can be any creative activity -writing a poem, dancing, playing the piano, knitting, sewing, singing . . .
When engaged in creative expression your brain filters out extraneous information and mind-chatter diminishes, lowering the stress response. When the stress response goes down a change in your physiology takes place: cortisol levels lower, heart rate slows, immune responses elevate. It’s not just your muscles that relax!
Here are two exercises to create those calm cues by making up situations and images YOU control. Now that’s incredible!
CALM DOWN COLLAGE
Calm collage by Lucy, age 8
Magazine cut-out collage using just 3 pictures
Here is an incredibly fun, easy, visual way to signal your brain it’s time to cool down and not continue keeping your neurochemistry on a fight or flight course. And don’t forget that CONCENTRATED awareness while you are creating your collage!
ALL YOU NEED: magazines, a scissors, glue and a sheet of paper, file card, a journal page or even cardboard (you choose the size).
WHAT YOU DO:
- Cut or tear out serene peaceful, calming pictures.
- Cut or tear out pieces of color that represent calm to you. For example, if there is a sky-blue dress, just tear out the color from the dress so that the dress isn’t recognizable—just a piece of the color.
- Arrange the pictures and pieces of color on you paper in a way that pleases you.
- Paste all the pieces down.
- Put your collage up in a place where you will frequently see it to give your brain a calm cue.
You will feel pleasantly calm, just like the collage you have created.
If an 8 year old can learn how to do this YOU CAN TOO!
When you lead a stressful life it is often necessary to creatively give your brain cues it needs to:
- Interpret peace, calm and serenity
- Know that you’ve dealt with a difficult situation or person
- Hear that you are safe and not in danger
Stacked writing by Lucy Arndt, age 8
Generally we don’t advocate thinking about, ruminating on pain, discomfort, or negativity as it only strengthens the stress response. Stacked Writing, however, is a way of “releasing” negative thoughts and feelings and decreasing stress levels.
What you need: A piece of paper and a SMOOTH writing pen. If you have a journal use that. When you are done no one can decipher what you wrote so anything goes!
• Write non-stop for 15–20 minutes (set a timer so you aren’t constantly watching the clock).
• Write on top of what you’ve written. Keep turning the paper as you write. Fill the page with sentences, phrases all on top of each other so that what you wrote is indecipherable.