There’s no doubt you’re aware of the use of euphoric drugs and alcohol in artistry. It’s an age-old meme, one that has been spread from person to person long before the internet was invented. And there’s science behind the idea that there’s a link between drug and alcohol use and creativity. In fact, there’s science behind the higher incidence of mental illness among creatives, as well. As discussed in this piece from Scientific American, drugs, madness and creativity correlate.
But substance use and creativity are not mutually exclusive. Creativity can be harnessed and had amid sobriety. Great contributions to the arts have indeed also come from people who were clean and dry. If you’re trying to navigate your creative self now that you are clean, the following tips might help you out.
So many artists cite meditation as key to their creative process. It’s worth a try if you’re feeling low on creative juices. Meditation can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but for many artists, it’s a way to connect with the inner self on a regular basis, to home in on innovative ideas, and to create clear goals on how to bring new ideas to life. Try meditating in the morning before you do anything else, with your alarm clock on snooze for ten to twenty minutes, in the shower, or as you wait for your coffee or tea to brew.
Brainstorming is an art form in and of itself for some people and, as such, there are many ways to approach it. But if you’re feeling behind with creativity, try an old-fashioned approach to brainstorming: grab a sheet of paper, a pen, and begin writing down words representative of your ideas and connecting them with lines as is appropriate. You might be surprised by what kind of idea-map you come up with.
3. Take a walk
It might sound crazy to some, but sometimes the best thing to do for your creative brain is to give it a chance to reset. You know how the most common fix to a problem with an electronic device is simply to turn it off and on again? The same troubleshooting method works for our brains, too. And while we can’t just turn our brains off, we can change the channel. Dropping what you’re in the middle of and taking a brisk walk around the block is a great way to change your brain’s channel. In doing this, you’ll also fill your brain with new stimuli even if you don’t realize it at the time. Every image, scent, and sound your brain processes while you’re out and moving will be catalogued for future use. Even better, take a walk in nature to completely separate yourself from the thrums of modern life. Your body, mind, and creative endeavors will profit.
4. Stay hydrated
You might not think your hydration levels and your cognitive functioning are related, but they are. One of the most common reasons we feel sluggish is not because we are tired or hungry but rather because we are thirsty. Dehydration can play games with our bodies and minds, making us feel generally depleted in ways we wouldn’t if we just remembered to stay hydrated.
So there you have it: 4 ways to tap into your creative juices without sacrificing your sobriety, health, or the creative product. I leave you with this question: how can you possibly find your true creative self by losing yourself to substance abuse?