Wellness in Creative Expression
Updated: Jul 17
There were many instances in my life where I have tried to express myself in order to learn something new, or simply just have fun. I thought of acting or dance many times, but figured it wasn't for me. Then I heard about improv comedy and signed up for classes at The Second City. I had finally found my tribe—the weirdos who were just like me, and had the most fun doing it. I met people whom I love, and along with this newly found creative expression of mine, I also found a voice. This form of comedy presents moments where you find collaboration to be a key component to the success of your performance. You no longer worry about the self, rather you learn to work dynamically within a group setting. After completing a certification in scenic improvisation and performing in small shows for just about two years, I had to move on from it, but miss it tremendously. My heart will always be appreciative of this art form because it has done so much good for my soul, and could have the most direct effect in my search for well-being and who I have become today.
I tend to shift my perspective on life lately towards simple values. I am inspired by Halbert L. Dunn, once referred to as the creator of wellness who spoke to the values of love and altruism in his article, High-Level Wellness For Man and Society. One of the steps in the path towards wellness is the act of creative expression. In this article he writes, "It is a most important element in the bridge between the biological nature of man and the spirit of man. The creative spirit resides within every living person. Creative spirit was once defined as 'an expression of self, adventuring into the unknown in search for universal truth.' With creative expression comes intense inner satisfaction. At the same time, it permits man to contribute of himself to the social group and thus form bonds with his fellow man of love, trust, and security. Creative expression and love of one's fellows satisfy deep psychological and emotional needs in our inner world and simultaneously are radiated outward to bring us to the fullness of life of which man is capable. Through the development and application of these original values in daily life, we will achieve self-confidence and faith in ourselves. This in turn will bring growth of self, development toward fuller maturity, and a balanced wellness of body, mind and spirit."
What I hope to learn by digging further into Dr. Dunn or other researchers of well-being and self-expression is how humans identify and objectify to better understand their own needs for true identity formation. With understanding your true identity, you might be able and willing to do the things that call to you without worry or fear and just be happy. Could we suggest that self-expression identities can be understood through the lens of performance and creative outlets? Might creativity influence individuals’ perception of self, as well as how these processes of self-expression are communicated through a person's chosen format and relate to their emotional well-being? If I examine and explore the messages and behavioral patterns on an individuals’ quest for emotional well-being in relation to “fitting in” or "standing out" when they perform, draw, sing, dance or simply create, maybe I can find a link. There must be a way to find how creative expression is a practical role in society and organizations that will be a focus on well-being.