Can You Really Change Your Day-To-Day Life By Making Art?!


Some people firmly believe that the rational mind holds the answer to all problems.  But, yet, these problems stick around like glue.

I’m not a doctor of any kind, but I can tell you that 90% of the hundreds of clients I have worked with over the years have a very strong awareness of their problems, an awareness that is rational.  What they don’t know how to do is actually SOLVE them.

That’s where ART comes in.  

no control

I explained to a friend who just loves to be a Devil’s Advocate what my plans were for The Tao of Dana and what I wanted to teach and make, much more specifically, with all this feng shui, energy shifting and design work that I do….

” I want to bridge the gap between what you think you should be doing and what you are actually doing all day in your life.”

Her response made me feel like suddenly I was forced to eat glass:

” That’s what trained therapists and doctors are for. It’s pretty incredible (hint: what she really wanted to say was  impossible) for you to think you can do that.”

That is what prompted me to find a boatload of scientific proof that I was not crazy: creativity does change life significantly.  In fact, in this case, my kind of crazy can make your life so much better!

Rational thinking has its place…sometimes.

Logic, rational good sense, practical solutions: these are all awesome.  If you have a practical problem, a practical solution is fantastic.  If you need your car fixed, you can go to a great mechanic.  Done.

Stickier problems that are less clear-cut- What will make me feel fulfilled? How I can I allow myself to love anyone after I’ve been so screwed over? Why can’t I seem to find the good in things? – these really suck to try to figure out rationally.

Have you tried to “think yourself out of a problem”?

Yeah, not the most fun.

I am always reminded of this slogan from 12 Step programs when I try to figure out a rational solution that never seems to work:

“Your best thinking got you here.”

How did your best rational thinking lead you to the place you are at right now?

My own best thinking helped me get stuck in many places I felt I was “supposed to” be that squashed my wellbeing, working in jobs I was “supposed to” have and dating people I was “supposed to” be dating.

None of them were so awesome!

So, clearly there can be limits to how many cool life breakthroughs can come through “thinking” alone.

Art taps into something much cooler and more profound than regular thought.

Jungian Sue Mehrtens talks about the power of creativity in a way that really touched a nerve:

” From his own experience and his 60+ years of work with patients, Jung came to recognize the importance of fantasy. Rather than dismiss these inner gifts, Jung would have us give free rein to them, faithfully observe them and work with them, via creative activities like writing, painting, drawing, modeling in clay, movement or dance.

At times during the process of inner growth, consciousness can develop a “cramp,” and in such intervals, creative activities become one of the best ways to get the conscious mind to relax. Once it relaxes, we can let things happen and the results show up in a variety of ways, e.g. “an enlargement, a heightening and enrichment of the personality,…”;and/or new attitudes about ourselves,about life, about the problem we had (which generally no longer seems to be an issue or concern).”

Imagine Carl Jung prescribing you some Play Dough and a night at the disco to solve your troubles?

Chances are, he might have. And it likely would have worked!

Art is real, documented, wellness therapy!

I have plucked the bulletpointed list from THIS article on Art Therapy in Psychology Today’s article Yes, Virginia, There Is Some Art Therapy Research, because it just shines: 

  • Several studies demonstrate that art therapy enhances the psychosocial treatment of cancer, including decreased symptoms of distress, improved quality of life and perceptions of body image, reduction of pain perception, and general physical and psychological health (Monti et al, 2006; Nainis et al, 2002; Svensk et al, 2009).
  • Studies indicate a reduction of depression and fatigue levels in cancer patients on chemotherapy (Bar-Sela,et al, 2007).
  • Art therapy strengthens positive feelings, alleviates distress, and helps individuals to clarify existential questions for adult bone marrow transplant patients (Gabriel, Bromberg, Vandenbovenkamp, Kornblith, & Luzzato, 2001).
  • Research with children with cancer indicates that engaging in drawing and painting is an effective method for dealing with pain and other disturbing symptoms of illness and treatment (Rollins, 2005).
  • Research on art therapy with children with asthma indicates that it reduces anxiety, improves feelings of quality of life, and strengthens self-concept (Beebe, Gelfand, & Bender, 2010) (see Art Therapy and Health Care for more information).
  • Evidence indicates that art therapy and other creative arts therapies stimulate cognitive function in older adults who have dementia or related disorders (Levine-Madori, 2009) and may reduce depression in those with Parkinson’s disease (Elkis-Abuhoff et al, 2008).
  • Art making may reduce anxiety and stress reactions as measured by cortisol (Walsh et al, 2007).

Um…. this is huge stuff!!! You can read the entire article HERE and I hope you do.

Can I really use art to solve my problems?

I don’t know for sure.

I do know that it can’t hurt!

I do know after guiding hundreds of people through a creativity-unblocking book known as The Artist’s Way that art illuminates things like nothing else quite can.  You would be amazed at the things that get revealed and sorted out and yes, outgrown, in the course of claiming or reclaiming creativity.

The kicker to all these ideas of the day: control is the opposite of creativity.  Rather than trying to “think” about how to have less control, just make art!!!

And… make your life more artful.

This blog has hundreds of ideas to get you started.   Stretching.  Creating.

The new e-guide – Creating Genius – is all about how creating more lifestyle balance brings you more flow and art and far less stress and stuck-ness.  

You can book a trip today to a foreign fantasyland, sign up for an art class or go see a band you love.

Go. Do. Grow.

And please let me know how it goes for you!!!  Leave a comment below.  This is a big conversation and I want to hear from you… even if you doubt that art or creativity can do a single thing for you!

xoxo Dana



feng shui 101And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101.  Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks.  It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do.  Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow.   Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE…   And, as always, please let me know what happens!

Jeanne October 6, 2014 at 11:36 pm

In my own life, being creative (projects, gardening, blogging, cooking) helps me to solve problems in unexpected ways even when I am not looking for a solution at that moment. I sometimes stop and think to myself,”Hm. (Head tilt.) That’s interesting.” It’s so inspiring and miraculous 🙂 Thanks for reminding me to let it go 🙂 I’m still working on that one!

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