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Creativity / Play

Below are the articles in the Creativity / Play category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.

Creativity / Play

Add Play to Take the Routine Out of Exercise

What can one do when boredom seeps into one’s exercise routine? Incorporate play.

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Play is the ultimate in cross-training, as you move your body through many ranges of motion at different intensities. You are likely to see gains in strength, stamina and even weight loss—not to mention an increased feeling of liveliness and enthusiasm. And when you’re having a good time, you’ll forget you’re actually working out.

Here are a few ways to inject fun into your physical activity. Be as zany as you want in adding to this list.

•Infuse a little “silliness” into your walk by skipping or doing a bit of hopscotch.

•Create little obstacle courses out of trees, curbs, creek beds, potholes, park benches.

•Learn to juggle. You’ll forget how much you’re doing for your upper arms and back.

• Jump rope—alone or with a partner.

Healing With Poetry

For years the prospect of poetry filled millions with dread. Either it meant crushingly long epics that put students to sleep, or it was so filled with hidden meaning that only professors and graduate students could understand it. The times—and poetry—have changed.

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Poetry has become more personal, and therefore more popular. It has also become a powerful tool in helping people make lasting changes in their lives.

Language can influence us deeply—not just what we say, read or write—but also what we think. When we put our thoughts on paper and examine them, it’s a first step in finding out what we want. And when we know what we want—whether it’s in our relationships, jobs, financial dealings or life goals—that’s when we are most effective at making change.

Poetry is particularly effective because it’s short and sweet, and gets to the point quickly. It has become such a simple and natural everyday form that even those who don’t consider themselves writers can use it. But it doesn’t have to be written to be effective; reading other people’s poetry can also be a way to shift the way we see our problems and perhaps come up with a different solution. Reading poetry has become so popular that it’s on buses in London and several Canadian and U.S. cities.

Poet Mary Oliver says that this simpler form of poetry is like a “coiled spring, waiting to release its energy in a few clear phrases.”

Relieve Stress Through Creativity

Stress tends to go out the window when we let our creativity free.

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Why Incorporate Creativity into our Daily Lives?

According to Ruth Richards, author of Everyday Creativity, creativity is necessary and attainable for everyone. It is “one of the most powerful capacities we have, bringing us alive in each moment, affecting our health and well-being, offering richness and alternatives in what we do, and helping us move further in our creative and personal development.”

Exploring, experimenting, playing and entering the unknown—through anything from travel to taking an improv class to cooking—are all ways to practice creativity. You can also incorporate creativity into the workplace, finding ways to add spark and delight to otherwise mundane activities. For example, give yourself time to daydream at work, if possible. Experiment with new ideas and ask questions. One newspaper editor encourages his staff to indulge their creative side through humor, listening to music and brainstorming sessions because it leads to better work, an assertion seconded by many business experts.

The Call to Create

Like the body’s urge for motion and the human need for connection, the spirit longs to express itself through creativity.

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The sound may be faint as the stirring of butterfly wings or as loud as a brass band on Fourth of July. Or you may not hear a sound at all, but feel an urging, an inner pull, a sense of excitement and longing that resonates from within. This is the call to create, and it is universal, bidding each of us to bring something new into being.

“Creativity is the Self searching for itself,” said George Gamez, Ph.D., author of How to Catch Lightning in a Bottle. We create in order to express our unique visions and perceptions. We create to communicate and to form a bond with our fellow human beings. Creative expression helps us feel connected to the world and builds bridges of understanding. It nourishes us and helps us grow, provides insights and deeper understandings. Creativity is fun, exciting and playful. It relieves stress and releases tension. It provides a way of communication when normal channels may be blocked or are insufficient—when we must speak in colors and textures and shimmering visions and music.

Creativity is love expressing itself; it heals and renews. Our creations are mirrors in which others may see themselves and the signature of our lives that says, “This is how I saw it.”

The Serious Importance of Play in Our Lives

Many of us feel we have less leisure time and fewer unstructured “play” hours than ever; yet, play is vital for good mental and physical health.

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Our high tech life with its accelerated pace has fostered a culture that seems to be always working, always rushed, always connected. With cell phones interrupting the theater, laptop computers at the beach, internet connections at every other café, and home offices that beckon us all hours of the night and day, it’s hard to separate “play” from “work.” Yet to maintain balance in our lives, and for our ultimate well-being, play is important.

Lenore Terr, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of Beyond Love and Work: Why Adults Need to Play, argues that play is crucial at every stage of life. In play, we discover pleasure, cultivate feelings of accomplishment, and acquire a sense of belonging. When we play, we learn and mature and find an outlet for stress. “Play is a lost key,” Terr writes. “It unlocks the door to ourselves.”

When we are completely involved in play our cares and worries disappear. Sailing, playing a game of tennis, or being thoroughly engrossed in a good novel, we feel pleasurably alive and light-hearted. There is nothing like play that allows us to be present in the moment.

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