Today is World Poetry Day, celebrating poetry in all its forms. From a couplet to a haiku, limerick or sonnet, poetry helps us express our thoughts, feelings and life experiences. As proclaimed by the United Nations, poetry has the unique ability to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.
This week’s post uses World Poetry Day to introduce the seventh and final theme that can improve your wellbeing – creativity. Creativity – or being creative – is the use of our imagination or original ideas to create something. Here at 15 minute wellbeing, the focus is not on being artistic or creating a masterpiece, but absorbing ourselves in an activity that can stimulate our senses and temporarily help us forget about our problems.
Theme 7: Creativity
Creativity is a key part of being human and can help us grow as individuals, groups and societies. Being creative stimulates the whole brain: when we do something creative, the left logical side and right emotional side of our brains work together and develop our thinking skills. This in turn, improves our problem solving skills. Continued creativity can help us practice these new problem solving skills and help us become more resilient.
Participating in creative activities can improve wellbeing and reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress in those of us affected by mental health issues. Creative activities can also improve our:
- Communication skills
- Stress management
- Connections with others
- Emotional intelligence
- Health management
Despite all these benefits, some people find engaging in creative activities stressful, particularly the pressure to complete an artistic task to a set standard. If we don’t have confidence in our artistic abilities or creative writing skills, the thought of doing something creative may not be so appealing. However, we could think of creativity as a muscle that needs strengthening – the more we practice it, the more confidence we will have. Over time, 15 minute wellbeing will provide different activities that can exercise and nourish our creativity.
There are many ways to be creative – drawing, painting, singing and dancing (among others) – all of which will be featured in the blog in the future. As today is world poetry day, we are going to write a poem. Not just any poem, a rhyming one!
Why is poetry good for our wellbeing?
Practising poetry can contribute to improved wellbeing. It has been shown to be a useful therapeutic tool for people with a variety of mental health issues. Poetry can positively influence our:
- Social relationships
- Sense of purpose in life
- Personal accomplishments
Having a sense of achievement or personal accomplishment can result in a positive spiral. Achievement builds motivation and confidence, which then encourages us to take more positive risks and new challenges to achieve some more.
Poetry can help us make sense of the world and reflect on our experiences – which we already know from the last blog is good for our wellbeing. Writing poetry about stressful and/or negative life experiences can help us process emotions such as loss, anger and frustration.
When we become absorbed in writing (or reading) a poem, it blends in with our thoughts and imagination to rearrange our priorities: immersion in poetry can temporarily suspend feelings of anxiety, boredom or stress. The focus of this task (and all future creative tasks) is to absorb ourselves in the process of creating something new. There will be no marking or rating in any of the 15 minute wellbeing creative activities. The aim is to gain a sense of achievement and improve our wellbeing by creating something.
Today’s activity is writing a rhyming poem. You can write your poem about any topic and it can be of any length, it just needs to rhyme! If you’re stuck for what to write about, use one of the following topics for inspiration:
- Something that has happened in your day
- The plot of a film or TV show you watched recently
- A friend, family member or pet
Click the link below to download the worksheet. You can fill it in using the ‘fill and sign’ tool or alternatively print it off and fill it in by hand.
If you enjoy writing a rhyming poem, or feel that the process of writing poetry has helped improve your wellbeing, please do get in contact and share your poem and/or your story!
I share wellbeing-related research, news and stories on twitter and Instagram in between weekly blog posts so do follow @15minwellbeing on both platforms to keep up to date. As this week’s post is about poetry, I will also be sharing poems and rhymes over the next week.