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Let it Flow

October 30, 2019

Let it Flow

Being creative from a midlife point of view isn't about ending up with a macrame pot holder that you can give to your sister-in-law for Christmas (lucky her), my desire for you to embrace a creative hobby is all about good mental health.

There's something that can happen when you're engaged with the creative arts.  It happens to gamers as well, but I think a true creative hobby is probably better for us than getting an increased risk of arthritis from pressing all those buttons and moving the knobs about on the X-Box.  Don't get me wrong, if you're on the train and fancy a few minute's break on Candy Crush it could also happen, but I'd prefer you to engage in a more meaningful hobby.  I know, it's my upbringing.

I'm talking about something called "Flow".

Flow is a state of mind that happens when you are so engaged in what you are doing that you don't think about, see or feel anything else around you.  You are so absorbed in what you are doing that you are right there, in the moment.  Sure, this can happen at work but because you have fixed rules about work, the brain doesn't flow quite as much.  With a creative hobby there are no rules, it's only you and your imagination saying "what if"? That's where real Flow lives.

First, Flow focuses your attention on what's important in the job at hand and the positive aspects become more apparent as you get deeper into it.  It teaches you to rise to the challenges that the creative task presents and develops your problem solving skills as you come up with solutions.  Third, it energises your focus and releases free, natural dopamine (which is the body's natural feel good chemical) as you take your enjoyment from the process.

It's a bit like enlightenment.  You can't force it, you can't fake it, it either comes or doesn't but if you get it, the mental health benefits are very similar to meditation, plus you've got a macrame pot holder - winner.


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