Creativity and Mental Health: How a Creative Practice Helps Us Take Control of Our Lives
Want to create change in your life? Start a creative practice.
The idea that you — regardless of your circumstances — have the power to choose your outcomes is a powerful mindset shift.
In his new book, “12 Notes: On Creativity and Life”, veteran musician Quincy Jones highlights how creative practice can help us discover our agency.
In an environment riddled with negative factors and where he had very limited control, music gave Jones a rare and necessary opportunity for him to exert power.
He writes, “I never had any control over my living situations, my nightmares, the angry folks who still called me the N-word, and no control over my future (or so I thought). However, nobody could tell me what tempo to begin my composition in or how many substitute chord changes I could play around with. The deeper I delved into composition and trumpet playing, the more I began to see what was possible, personally and musically.”
That should make us think carefully about the value of making art. The value isn’t the art itself, but the process of discovery it affords us. That discovery can catalyze growth in other areas of our life.
Jones continues: “The increasing amount of exposure to an idea that I could steer my life in a positive direction was enough for me to cling to and fight for. Subconsciously, the sense of hope slowly began to permeate other areas of my mind, body, soul, and created space for an unexpected amount of potential… My thoughts were no longer consumed by purposeless activity, but by dedicated curiosity. It was as if someone had lit a flame within me and I could finally see what had been lurking in the shadows.”
A creative practice helps us practice creating our lives.
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