public domain -Pixabay

Cloud with silver lining, Public Domain – Pixabay

There’s a theory that all human emotions boil down to fear and love. For every situation that we face in life, there are two basic response paths. Unlike computers though, we’re not binary – humans are more complicated. Although we can’t control most of what happens to us, we have a lot of agency in how we respond.

Are you positive?

Although positive thinking gets a bad rap sometimes, there’s a lot of scientific research that it works, for everything from preventing heart attacks to reducing stress to living a long life.

Less well known is the role creativity can play in dealing with life’s difficulties. The good news is you don’t need to be a rock star or famous painter to take advantage of it.

The trick is to look hard at whatever situation you are facing and turn it around in your head until it catches the light.

Lost your driver’s licence? Now there’s no excuse not to get on your bike and get fit. Stuck at home self-isolating with too much toilet paper? Now you can write the great Australian novel. Forced out of your comfort zone to do a job you would not have chosen? Now you might meet the person of your dreams.

Creativity to the rescue

Without being ridiculous about it, you can turn pretty much any bad situation upside-down with a creative mental approach.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades but used that time to turn himself into a statesman. Alzheimers sometimes unlocks the inner child in serious people who have lost contact with that side of themselves. Even a cancer diagnosis can open another door, revealing what is truly important in the time that remains.

When one door closes…

Professional artists know that limitations (size of canvas, deadlines, budget limits) can be strangely freeing, and we all have an artist inside ourselves somewhere, trying to get out. The trick is to apply artistic thinking to your life and dilemmas. How can you turn whatever it is to your advantage?

If you look hard enough, every cloud really does have a silver lining. As Shakespeare’s famously miserable creation Hamlet, Prince of Denmark said, ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’

 

David Lowe