Picture this: It’s 2pm and you are sitting at your desk. There’s a big deadline looming, so you are employing all the usual tactics. Three cups of coffee, spin in the ol’ office chair, afternoon snack, quick Instagram break. Nothing is working. The screen is still blank and you’re just not feeing that elusive spark of motivation. Now, that all too familiar sense of panic is setting in (or could it be nausea from all the spinning and caffeine?).
There’s no shame. We’ve all been there. What if there were a way to limit those moments, or better yet, prevent them from happening? It’s not brand new information that participating in painting and art activities improves creative skills. However, what if we told you it also helps strengthen critical thinking and problem solving skills, with benefits lasting long after the activity has ended?
While creating, you must think conceptually to bring your inspiration to life. You know, the whole “You can dream it, you can do it” mentality. However, once that process begins, you encounter curveballs. The “simple” idea you began with suddenly isn’t so straightforward once the brush is in your hand. As you mix colors, your subconscious mind is working furiously. Like Picasso famously said, “I begin with an idea, and it becomes something else”. Your initial idea is transforming throughout the process, and your brain is reacting accordingly. Without consciously realizing it, you are thinking outside the box, leaving your comfort zone and creating new possibilities.
The more you practice, the more these new skills become second nature. Your brain is a muscle, and responds well to training. Through consistent challenges, you are strengthening your critical thinking and analytical skills while teaching yourself to think outside the box. Whether you’ve painted once, or a thousand times, it’s never the exact same experience. You’ll get something new out of it, each and every time. And those lessons stay with you, long after the activity completed.
So flash forward to that 2pm at your desk. If you had challenged your brain with art, you might already be finished with your project. Maybe not. But when you’re feeling stuck, take a piece of scratch paper, grab a pen, and say yes to doodling! A little creative challenge goes a long way.
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