I’m a big fan of creativity, and I am often sad when I hear people say “I’m just not creative.” Anyone can be creative and it has huge health benefits, increasing resilience and reducing stress for example. We don’t need to be the next Picasso or have the genius of Mozart to be creative. Small actions every day count. This short video from Happier.com explains how and why you should get creative:
The website Happify have created a great Infographic on the science of creativity which you can find here. It will give you further inspiration on how to get your creative mojo working. One of my favourite books on creativity is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – it’s a 12 step recovery programme for people who have lost their creativity. I learn something new every time I read it and I would recommend working with Julia in person if you get the opportunity. Julia is coming to London later… Read the rest...
In this excellent TED talk Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, questions the stereotype of the creative genius as some sort of tortured soul with mental health problems. Elizabeth talks honestly about the pressure of continuing to follow her passion for writing after achieving such success with Eat, Pray Love and explores how other creatives find their flow and inspiration either despite or because of success they have achieved. Elizabeth praises the courage creative people have in just showing up every day and “doing their dance” whatever that dance may be. Despite the pressure to continue to succeed she has taught herself to show up and continue to do what she loves to do, ending her talk with this lovely ode to the creative process:
“Don’t be daunted.Just do your job.Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be.If your job is to dance, do your dance.If the divine, cockeyed… Read the rest...
Doing more of what makes you happy seems like an obvious idea but how many of us actually take the time to ensure that we do find the time to do all the things we love? I recently decided to put this theory to the test by trying out some of the very sage advice from the Action for Happiness 10 Keys to Happier Living: Key No 5 Keep Learning New Things. The love of learning is one of my signature VIA strengths (if you don’t know your signature strengths you can test them for free here) and another signature strength is creativity. Research has shown that using your signature strengths in new ways is a sure fire way of being happier and it is even better if you can find ways to use signature strengths in combination. For me learning new creative skills is definitely something that makes me happy so I decided to try out a new skill by enrolling on an Annie Sloan paint workshop at Lavender Green in St Albans.
My only regret about going on my summer holidays this week is that I will miss the next two instalments of Channel 4′s Shed of the Year programme presented by architect George Clarke. The science of positive psychology has long debated whether hedonism (a life devoted to pleasure seeking) versus eudaimonia (a life devoted to meaning) are the main routes to happiness. It turns out science was wrong – what has been missing in our lives is more shedonism!
As I watched the first instalment of the programme which you can catch up on here I couldn’t help but wonder how the humble shed got to be so sexy! The amazing creativity which the finalists had poured in to the construction of their sheds was breathtaking. Whether you choose to label the “sheddies” as maverick eccentrics or creative geniuses there is no denying their passion for creating a unique space of their own.
TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit
This excellent article from Forbes magazine by Margaret M. Perlis looks at the important topic of grit in detail. It’s a long article so you may need grit to get through it, but it’s definitely worth a read.
Recently some close friends visited, both of whom have worked in education with adolescents for over 40 years. We were talking about students in general and when I asked what has changed with regards to the character of kids, in unison they said “grit” – or more specifically, lack thereof. There seems to be growing concern among teachers that kids these days are growing soft.
When I took a deeper dive, I found that what my friends have been observing in-the-field, researchers have been measuring in the lab. The role grit plays in success has become a topic du jour, spearheaded by Angela Duckworth, who was catapulted to the forefront of the field after delivering
This interesting article by Maria Popova in Brainpickings looks at how much of the wisdom in a book written over 60 years ago is still relevant today. How To Avoid Work by William J. Reilly looks at the question of how to find out what you love doing so that work feels like play. This seems like a good plan to me. Enjoy the article
This article by Stuart Jeffries was published this week in The Guardian. I wanted to share the article a) because it is extremely well written, b) because the British are so obsessed with the weather and c) because apparently some of us may be about to get a lot happier this weekend and need to prepareourselves for this eventuality. Enjoy the article and enjoy your weekend.
Summer is finally coming – forecasters are predicting a fine July. But what is the link between weather and wellbeing?
Crowds sunbathing and relaxing in St James Park, London. Photograph: Mundus Images/Alamy
Stow those cagoules! Pretend you like prosecco rosé! Prepare yourself for articles why-oh-whying about men with the least attractive chests walking around with their tops off when everybody else rather wishes they wouldn’t!
The first thing you will notice about this article from Psychology Today by Todd B. Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener is that is is long. The second thing you will notice is that the article is worth reading. The third thing you will notice is that these guys are leading lights in the positive psychology field and know what they are talking about. Enjoy the article.
What Happy People Do Differently
One of life’s sharpest paradoxes is that the key to satisfaction is doing things that feel risky, uncomfortable, and occasionally bad.
For psychologists who frequently fly cross-country, how we describe our career to seatmates—mentioning for example, that we are psychologists—determines whether we get five hours of airborne intrigue or inside access to a decaying marriage or more detail than you can imagine about an inability to resist maple-glazed Krispy Kremes. Even wearing oversized headphones often fails to dissuade
“It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
This famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt was the inspiration behind the title of author and researcher Dr Brené Brown’s latest book Daring Greatly. Daring Greatly encourages us to show up, to let ourselves be seen, to try even… Read the rest...
This week in support of my husband, and possibly against my better judgement, I decided to spend 5 days living below the poverty line spending just £1 per day on all food and drink. This challenge to Live below the line has been set up to to support many UK and international charities who focus on helping to make a real change in the lives of the 1.4 billion people, both here and around the world, who are currently living in extreme poverty. I became aware of and hugely inspired by the blog: A Girl Called Jack and decided to take up the challenge for just 5 days.Take a look at Hugh Jackman’s invitation to take up the challenge:
I chose to spend the week living below the line in order to support the work of Progressio, an international development charity which my husband is proud to work for. There was a part of me which felt that this was a bit of an exercise in “playing at being poor” à la Marie-Antoinette who famously said about… Read the rest...