August 2012 Monthly Spark Newsletter! via www.IgniteYourCreativity.net

August 2012

Ignite your Creativity has a new look and format.  We will be continuing with an updated “Monthly Spark” which will contain interesting articles on  the creative process, book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpaper, and a healthy dose of inspiration designed  to ignite your creativity!  During each month also stay tuned for interesting interviews with “creatives” from different mediums who will share with us their creative process.  Exciting times lie ahead as we will be changing some of our coaching programs and adding new self-paced e~courses starting September 10th.

Creative Arts as Therapy

by Belinda Witzenhausen

In recent years, the importance and prevalence of using the creative arts as a form of therapy has been brought to the forefront as a successful treatment for many disorders effecting people of all ages. From seniors who are suffering with dementia, soldiers returning from war with PTSD and  children with autism (childhood autism rates over past decade have increased),creative art as therapy is offering those in need a way to communicate and heal.

Using the creative arts as a form of therapy is a way for those with communication difficulties to express themselves and relieve stress in a safe and therapeutic way.  In general, creative activities can be beneficial for anyone by enhancing their self-esteem, promoting / stimulating imagination and providing a feeling of connection to the world. For those dealing with trauma or illness, they can be a life changing way to express themselves.   People who express their creativity can also improve their divergent thinking abilities, which can improve their problem solving skills.  Creative Arts can include visual arts, dance, photography, drama, music, and writing.  Ultimately, anything which enables you to create can help, whether it is playing music, cooking, knitting, decorating or crafts.

Music therapy is also becoming a popular alternative.  It has been suggested that music and sounds have the ability to improve mood and alter physical functions such as heart rate, breathing, and the release of endorphins as well as change the patterns of brain waves.

For those suffering from illness or TBI, occupational therapists often encourage their patients to participate in arts and crafts as a form of therapy.  Crafts not only help to reduce stress but can also improve dexterity and stimulate different areas of the brain. Psychiatrists also recommend different forms of art therapy to help patients learn to express themselves and gain a sense of accomplishment and relaxation.  Journaling is also often recommended in order to help people to better articulate themselves, make sense of their problems, and to come to terms with them.

In general, several experts have suggested that when children participate in the arts, they can nurture the development of social, personal and cognitive skills. Programs based on the creative arts can also improve academic achievement and decrease certain behavioral issues. They help children develop positive attitudes about themselves, thus building self-esteem. Creative Arts programs often involve communication, expression, interpretation and understanding, all of which are valuable skills for children to develop. Many of the programs encourage the child to think creatively, providing them with the skills necessary for creative problem solving. Development of imagination, judgment and philosophy are also fringe benefits of a creative arts-based activity. As opposed to the shorter timed classes, afterschool programs often run for several hours, offering extra time to get more involved. This results in more of a balance, providing a child with more than reading, writing and arithmetic, and promotes opportunities for development of latent capabilities in the child. In turn, the child learns to set higher standards of achievement. They understand what sustained focus is and learn that regular practice is the way to success. In the withdrawn child, participating in theatre, speech or drama lessons may be an outlet for pent up emotions. It is a valuable form of therapy as drama entails getting into the ‘skin’ of another person, the child learns to verbalize emotions and express thoughts.

Everyone can benefit from the creative arts.  They are a wonderful way to keep stress at bay and to help promote relaxation.  By simply adding different creative pursuits into their lifestyle, any individual’s quality of life will definitely improve.

Inspire Others to Live a Creative Life

by Belinda Witzenhausen

Do you find happiness while involved in creative pursuits? Why not help friends and family find their creative selves.

In the time of video and computer games children have seemed to miss out on discovering and using their creativity. On any given holiday most children will be inundated with toys that they will only play with until the next new fad emerges. Why not give them a gift that will introduce them to a new creative pursuit? What does the child express an interest in? Are they budding artists, writers or musicians? Gather some items geared toward that activity. For artists a portable easel, paper, supplies and a great how-to book put together in a rubber storage container will get them off to a wonderful start. For a musical child, (why not) get a gift certificate to take a music classes as well as sheet music and exercise books.
Creativity is not limited to just children; adults can gain so much by exploring their creative potential. A friend who is an aspiring writer was forced to retire early and was devastated. As a gift she had received a hand-painted box filled with notebooks, pens, a dictionary and a great book on writing. This gift was all she needed to help her regain her sense of purpose and open her up to a new career as a professional writer. Really focus on what the recipient’s creative interests are. They will have to put in the creative energy but you can give them a running start.
Giving creative gifts need not be expensive but just by putting thought into creating a really personalized gift, you are putting your heart and soul into the gift and it is sure to be appreciated. It is also important to inspire them by living a creative life yourself. Want a way to share your creative energy? Try planning a get together for those who have the same creative interests. By enabling your friends to immerse themselves in creativity is an excellent way to spend time with them and allows a safe haven to explore their creativity in a supportive environment. Even a routine trip to a coffee house to write, an art gallery, class or workshop can also be great ways to help inspire you and your friends to actively pursue creative interests. By putting together an event where everyone is open to exploring their creativity not only reduces the loneliness of solitary creative pursuits but also helps to create a strong support network which will be invaluable to you on your creative journey.

“Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception.”~ Alice Walker

Affirmation For Creativity

This Month’s Affirmation:

“I live a rich and rewarding creative life!”

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”


Coming Soon!

Writing Sparks

by Belinda Witzenhausen 

Do you love writing but have a bad case of writer’s block? 
For many, it often boils down to not knowing how to get started. “Writing Sparks: Inspiration to ignite your creativity!” by Belinda Witzenhausen offers valuable advice, prompts and tips to help you break through any creative block and start writing. These prompts offer a variety of fiction and nonfiction ideas designed to get you thinking and writing. Some prompts may ask you to reflect on personal opinions or memories , while others ask you to flex your creative muscles with fun and often, quirky suggestions. These “sparks” are designed to get you motivated and challenge you to grow as a writer.

Book of the Month

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience [Paperback]

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author)

A prominent researcher in the field of positive psychology, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi is probably best known for his book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.

So what exactly is ‘flow’? Well, the long and short of  it is how most people describe as being “in the zone”.  When you are mindful on what you are creating, it is similar to being in a meditative state.  It has often been described as a state in which people are so involved in the moment that they are oblivious to everything around them. Being in this kind of flow is naturally linked to happiness. Csíkszentmihályi believes that the path to happiness begins with taking control of the “contents of our consciousness”.

Csíkszentmihályi’s “Flow” makes it clear in the beginning that it is not a systematic  how-to book on how to enter into “flow”.  He summarizes his years of research by offering general principles of  “flow” along with stories of how people have used them to positively influence their lives. The book is meant to offer inspiration and motivation.

I enjoyed “Flow”, although repetitive at times, it drives home that to achieve happiness, overcome challenges and obtain your goals, the focus must be on the effort itself and not on the external failures or rewards.

List Price: CDN$ 16.99

An interesting TED Talks interview ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

“You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on experiencing ‘flow’

Ignite Your Creativity now offers E~Courses

Coming September 10th ~ Journaling to Add Spark to Your Life!~Course

Initially, journals were kept as a matter of record.  People would document events that happened to keep a historical account to pass down to future generations.  Now newspapers, blogs, videos and media are the mainstay.  Many do still use journaling as a tool for documentation but many more seem to use it as a form of expression.

The process of putting pen to paper is therapeutic as it allows one to get the mass of emotions, ideas and information that is often jumbled and bouncing around inside one’s head out and in some structured form.    All of the clutter that is in a person’s mind can cause turmoil, stress or distract one from the important things that need to be their focus.

Journals contain private thoughts committed to paper and need not to be shared with others, which allow you to get your emotions down without censoring or fear of condemnation.  Creating a dedicated time throughout the day to journal is also therapeutic in itself; by giving yourself permission to spend time on yourself is a healthy indulgence.  Journaling also helps with planning and transformation.  Recording dreams, goals and wishes can help you keep your focus on your desired outcome, plan how to get there and keep you honest with yourself about your limitations and progress.

The written word is a powerful thing. Words provoke thought, act as a release, ignite creativity, and hold within them the power to heal.  Journaling can be an incredible life-changing process and the purpose of this self-paced e-course is to introduce you to the benefits of journaling and help you along the way with what is hoped will be a life-long journey!

Stay tuned for more details!

For more information please check out: E-Courses at Ignite Your Creativity


August’s Writing Prompts

We all have goals we want to accomplish however, often we let our own thoughts and fears of failure stop us from even making an attempt. What is something you have always wanted to accomplish but have been too fearful?  What would be the worst that could happen? How will you feel if you don’t even try? What steps can you take today to be one step closer to your goal?

A picture is worth a thousand words… Write about a favourite summer weekend ritual…

 


Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
For more information please check out: Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

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About Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen

Writer, Editor, Creativity Coach, Artist, Amateur Photographer, Lover of Neuroscience, Armchair Archaeologist & Hubby's Grossly Under-Paid Bass Roadie;)

Posted on August 18, 2012, in Monthly Spark Newsletter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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