Column is a monthly feature that explores the world
of creativity and aesthetics.
Happiness & Creativity Mike
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
It is often said by writers, artists, and
composers that their creativity is at its most
prolific when melancholic. I ponder on
this and argue that sadness
prerequisite of creativity, but rather that creativity
is vital to our happiness.
reveals what the world could be" Princeton University
is the highest creative faculty of
mind, but the most unruly." Miriams Well
imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poets'
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy
A local habitation and a name." William Shakespeare: A Midsummer Nights
Art of Trauma
challenges and difficulties often motivate our
creative urge. When we are very sad we either
repress our feelings, or need, or are forced
our negativity head on. Conscious
expressive creativity (writing, painting, composing
etc.) helps us to communicate
and confront our fears and anxieties when
our dream time (I'll call this "unconscious
is unable to leave us refreshed and recovered
In contrast when
we are happy
and content we may seem less emotionally
driven to create.
however is not the whole story, although it is
often our prime urge. I'd also like to distinguish
between emotion and feeling. Emotion defines
our strong feelings like joy and anger, while
feeling takes in our sensory and intellectual
perceptions and appends that to our emotions.
This view presents feeling as more complex than
emotion. These are ideas that need pondering
and I'm having to re-read
recap, when we are sad we want to become less
so, and one way of achieving this is to share
our sadness for others to understand our circumstance
and empathize with us. Expressive creativity
is therefore a vital strategy for dealing with
the great challenges
and trauma of unwelcome events, and
may well be the reason we evolved to be as creative
a species as we are.
addition to emotion there
are other equally important motives for
creativity. We must create to satisfy our insatiable
curiosity. We must be creative to solve the practical
challenges we face: from designing a chair for
us to rest, work, and play on, to developing
new medicines and treatments that help prevent
suffering. Creativity is far more than art. We
are all creative. We all dream.
Happy Are You?
of us are less happy because we do not allow
time for our creativity to flourish.
Diener, Professor of Psychology at the University
of Illinois, argues it is possible
measure happiness. Ed Diener has devoted his
working life to researching, writing, and teaching
about 'subjective well-being', the
scientific name for how people evaluate their
lives. Ed Diener has produced
a simple five question survey that can indicate
your level of happiness.
find out how happy you are, read
the five statements below, and use
the 1-7 scale to indicate your
agreement with each item. Being
open and honest in your response
the accuracy of your happiness rating.
you have answered all five questions
press the "submit" button.
Your score and a brief summary
of your happiness by Professor
Diener will immediately
appear below the "Submit" button.
is not the same as pleasure. Pleasure is the
partner of emotion, happiness is far more long
lived. What pleasure brings we soon adapt to
and become dissatisfied with. Happiness builds
resilience, both in ourselves, and in society
in general. Get creative today and build your
feedback on The Column. Go to Feedback,
complete the form, and make your views known.
de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®.
Mike has been commissioned as an artist,
composer, photographer, print and web site
designer, and author. Mike
is also the Creative Director of 2BrightSparks,
a software company.
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