Getting Creative Outdoors: A Path To Peace And Purpose
May 22, 2018 - Guest post by Jennie Benson
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Credit: Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash
Did you know that spending just 15 minutes in nature can make you more creative? Studies have shown that getting outdoors can boost mental health, helping you to refocus on what's important and inspiring creativity.  At a time when we're busier than ever, often sitting at desks or driving everywhere, it's really important to try a new approach to clearing our minds and restoring a sense of peace and purpose in our lives. Happily, nature is generally free and easy to find, so here are some suggestions for how to get creative out there.

Move your hobbies outside

There are few better places to write than beside the water's edge or in the shade of a mighty oak. Even better, if you enjoy painting or sketching, take your materials with you and enjoy capturing the amazing details that can be found in nature. The psychologist Csikszentmihalyi described the process of being immersed in a task - be it creative, sporting or domestic - as entering a state of flow. In this moment, you experience a sense of timelessness, total absorption and satisfaction at completion of the task at hand. This, for many, is happiness. It's also an opportunity to tune out day to day distractions; clarity and a sense of purpose become restored.
Enjoy great food outdoors

A recent paper published by Harvard Health explains the way in which food fuels the brain, and can improve our mood and emotions. Taking your meal outdoors delivers a double benefit - nourishment from within, plus sunlight which helps the body produce the feel-good hormone serotonin. Get creative with a healthy picnic or step it up a gear and enjoy the fun of cooking outside. Often the need to be resourceful when cooking outdoors is another great opportunity for escapism; focusing on the task at hand helps to clear the mind and it's immensely satisfying to create something tasty with such simple equipment.

Walk this way

Studies have shown that participants who walked in natural environments (as opposed to urban) showed decreased anxiety and improved cognitive function. Creative people really benefit from this time with their thoughts, so pull on those sneakers and enjoy a stroll.  Take inspiration from the features of nature around you, let ideas flow into your mind, or listen to a podcast or piece of music which moves you. Not only will it help your mindset, but it's also a great form of low impact cardiovascular exercise and will boost your physical health too.

At a time when we're bombarded by social media, advertising messages and the noise and busy-ness of everyday life, taking time to find a green space is absolutely vital. Everyone benefits from time spent outdoors, but for creative people, in particular, it's a great opportunity to refocus, find inspiration, and become open again to new ideas. Try hobbies you can enjoy outdoors, make your next meal al fresco, or simply walk with the breeze in your face. Seize the moment and step into nature.