how to create more and consume less

I’m guilty of this, and I’m sure you are, too: spending your spare moments consuming. Always hungry for what’s next. Scrolling through social media, binge-watching the latest shows, and spending money on the trendiest items. Rarely do I think to create more and consume less.

Capitalistic society tells us that doing these activities will bring happiness and fulfillment. We’re immersed in so much information and content, it makes sense to consume all we can get, right? Let alone during a pandemic.

What’s left out of this equation is creativity. But we’re too busy looking, listening, scrolling and purchasing. We neglect to acknowledge that absence. We try to fill the void with more content, more consumption, more of everything, but that will never truly satisfy us.

Consuming more has us high on immediate gratification, but long-term, we’re empty. We’re not using our abilities to their fullest potentials. We distract ourselves from that truth with all there is to see and consume until we’re completely detached from our true nature and desires.

So, on a daily basis, how can we create more and consume less? How can we regain the balance we’ve lost and make more out of every precious moment? Today, we’ll discuss the benefits of creativity and how to incorporate the mentality “create more, consume less” into each day.

Why creativity?

When we get so busy in stimulating work or distracting content, the last thing we might feel like doing is creating something else. I’m tired, and the world is already flooded with creations, so why add to that?

Creativity actually benefits your overall well-being. Mentally, creating more results in decreased depression, stress, and anxiety, as well as improving flow, spontaneity, and expressing emotions. One study even found that creativity impacted cells in the physical body and improved the immune system. Our mental and physical health see tangible benefits from creativity.

That’s not all. When we incorporate more creativity into our lives, we find it easier to solve problems, overcome adversities, connect with others and form communities, become more authentic with ourselves, and discover a new sense of freedom.

As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons that creativity leads to greater balance and self-awareness. Humans weren’t meant to sit idly by and numb themselves to the world’s influences. We’ve become passive to that all the input we receive, trying to replace others’ words and works with our own voice and right to self-expression. It’s about time we reclaim that and learn to create more and consume less.

The balance to create more and consume less.

When we’re so used to caving into our “impulses” of buying and binge-watching, how can we shift our mindset toward creativity? Not only is it possible to find true balance between creating more and consuming less, but it may also unlock new growth, new discoveries, and new opportunities.

1. Unplug more.

You’ve probably heard this piece of advice too many times to count. The more often we’re plugged into our social media, our computers, our televisions, and every other gadget, we’re zapping the energy and attention we could put toward creative work. There’s plenty of evidence to show how damaging excess consumption can be, and yet it’s still so addicting!

Find what works best for you. Maybe you’ll have a timer to minimize the mindless scrolling, or delete social media apps from your phone, or turn off notifications. Don’t beat yourself up for habitually going back to your smart phone, or having that urge to always click on the lock screen.

Again, I’m guilty of this, too. Instead, give yourself grace in those moments you know you’re overstaying your welcome on social media and Netflix. Allow yourself to go back to these places when you’re truly drained and just need that distraction, but don’t rely only on them.

2. Find your outlet for expression.

We aren’t all going to enjoy the same media of creativity available to us, so take the time to experiment and find what you really love doing. Creation should not be constantly frustrating, nor should it make you feel like you’re not “doing well enough.” There’s no judgment in what you produce: simply free yourself to wherever your mind wanders.

Typical ways of expression include writing (many forms of it, including blogging, poetry, fiction, journaling, and more), music (singing, playing instruments, mixing…), dancing, and visual arts (such as painting, drawing, photography, pottery, and textiles).

But don’t limit yourself to these options! Make and edit videos. Record podcasts. Do DIY projects. Make jewelry. Dapple in graphic design. The possibilities are pretty endless. Don’t be afraid to try activities you might not have otherwise considered yourself doing. Give it time, and you’ll stumble upon something (or many things) that make you feel fulfilled and excited.

3. Fight inner self-doubt.

Do what speaks to you; yes, I sound like a flamboyant art teacher telling young finger-painters to go wild, but that’s the joy of creativity.

Depending on how you know yourself, it’s easy to judge every little creative thing we do. First off, we think we’re not even creative at all, using past examples to “prove” that we cannot be artistic and expressive. We compare our work to others’ creations, seeing how they differ and ranking their worth. We try one form of creativity, but beat ourselves up and criticize our “failure” when we hit a mental block or end up leaving a project unfinished.

Even professional creatives face these inner judgments and self-doubts. We retell the same defeating stories to ourselves until we don’t believe anything else. However, their repetition doesn’t make them true.

ANYBODY can be creative. Art and creativity is subjective. Writing one sentence or painting one stroke of color on a canvas is better than doing nothing at all.

It might feel uncomfortable to think this way when we feel we should always stay in our own box and stick to our “normal.” You might even be sitting in front of a blank piece of paper and have no idea what to do when creativity feels so foreign.

Go to where you have fewer distractions. Take others’ creations as inspiration for your own. Free yourself from other worries occupying precious mental space and escape to your own imagination. This in when it’s encouraged to daydream, to let your mind wander. Create for the sake of creating; this is for you and nobody else.

4. Replace some consumption with creation.

When are you more prone to consumption? Right when you wake up in the morning? The evening after a long day of school or work? A mid-afternoon slump in productivity? Whenever that time is, designate even just a few minutes to creation. Have a blank notebook or other supplies on hand whenever the mood strikes. Also have a list going of ideas that you think up so you’re not completely stumped on where to start creating more.

Since it’ll likely feel unnatural to put “be creative” on a to-do list and fit into an allotted schedule, set the intention for yourself for creativity and naturally find when you might gravitate toward it.

For me, I always love writing in the morning, and it’s now become habitual. The only goal I set for myself was to write something every day: I didn’t force myself to write a certain word count, or write for a specific purpose. I left the goal vague enough to not let structure stifle my expression.

Take those small steps, and eventually you’ll start reaping the benefits of creating more and consuming less. It’s a lost art to most of us, but every day is a fresh start to explore what our souls are craving. Creativity is a sacred act, and I think it’s self-care we should be partaking in much more often.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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