A Glimmer A Day

Finding Your Glimmer and Improving Mental Health Through Creativity

What is Creativity?

Glimmers are anything that gives us little moments of joy and calms our overwhelmed brains and nervous systems. You can find glimmers in the simplest of things, a beautiful sunrise, jumping the waves on a hot summer’s day, the first shoot of a planted seed. Glimmers are often found in the realm of creativity. According to California State University:

“Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.”

How To Be Creative

Creativity comes in many forms whether it be through writing, painting, pottery, doodling, drawing, acting, creating music, experimental cooking, knitting, sewing, jewellery making, colouring in, quilting, woodwork, designing fashion, coding and many more. That is the beauty of creativity, the possibilities are endless and the only thing that might hold you back is your lack of skill in an area or a lack of imagination. These days ‘How To’ videos can be found on YouTube to teach skills in whatever activity you fancy learning or doing. Materials are easily available to buy online and for the entrepreneurial among us, creations can be used to create another source of income or in popular vernacular ‘a side hustle’.

Doing something creative is the ultimate glimmer maker. Glimmers can be found in the planning of the desired activity, the doing of the activity and course the final result as you appreciate what you have made and achieved. The results do not need to be perfect but as long as you have enjoyed the process of creating and reaped the hormonal benefits of doing something you love to do, that is all that counts.

A Poetic Glimmer

Writing poetry is one of my glimmers. I love the creative process of catching some of the racing thoughts swirling in my brain and organising them into themes, patterns, and rhymes that make sense to me at least. It’s cathartic, it gives me a sense of fulfilment that I have created something I am proud of. The process of creating helps calm my racing brain and brings down my anxiety levels. I feel joy in the moment and peace as all my other worries are forgotten for a while as I just focus on my art. The fact that I can write poetry for myself or choose to share it with others is also a glimmer, creative control is my own.

Why creativity is important for our mental health

The problem with being creative is that it often can be quite time-consuming and difficult to prioritise as we have so many other pressing activities that often fill our busy schedules. However, we must make time to create regardless of how busy, tired or unmotivated we feel. Allowing our creative juices to flow is extremely beneficial for our mental health. Creativity releases hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and the neuropeptide oxytocin and reduces the stress hormone cortisol- it all helps relax our overwhelmed bodies, encourages better sleep and improves mental and physical health. The article entitled ‘The Creative Brain’ explains the chemistry behind it clearly:

“Despite the multitudes of neurotransmitters within the body, three are consistently shown to interplay with creative behaviour: serotonin, dopamine, and the neuropeptide oxytocin. And while not a neurotransmitter, the stress hormone cortisol also interacts with oxytocin to impact creative thinking.”

A Glimmer Challenge for you

So whatever your creative glimmer is or maybe you fancy trying out something new, I challenge you to purposely be creative for at least thirty minutes, three times a week. Set aside a time, set your alarm and stick to it. I can guarantee that you will feel the benefits, not only in the moment but also throughout your daily life. If you would like to share your creative glimmers we would love to see them, please send a photo to aglimmeraday@gmail.com