Listening to the radio this morning, I was moved by the story of Stewart Hill, a former soldier who was critically injured in Afghanistan in 2009. With a life-changing brain injury, he found art and writing poetry as therapy during his recovery, and, in the process, has found a new identity, purpose and livelihood as his army career was so brutally ended.
His poem ‘Identity’ charts his journey from Sandhurst graduate, through his traumatic injuries, the after effects on him and his family, then his emergence with a new identity as a poet and a portrait painter. His website showcases this amazing talent, and through his work he has helped injured colleagues and other charitable causes by donating paintings, publishing his poems, and speaking at events about his experiences. In his own words:
I am inspired by art, I am alive because of art. I am inspired by life.
Art as a Therapy
There is a whole host of research evidence to show that creative activities are so beneficial for both mental and physical health, Art is even being used in psychiatric wards to calm patients and stimulate conversation, so if you have never tried drawing, painting or writing a poem, why not try one today? Just take five minutes out of your busy schedule, clear your mind, and try a quick sketch, or a few lines of whatever comes into your head. You don’t have to be a Picasso or the poet laureate to feel good about what you produce, and you don’t even have to show anyone else. Stewart Hill had not done any drawing since his schooldays, but on his website now describes the act of painting as ‘feeling alive’.
Take Five and Feel Alive!
Just taking five minutes to flex those creative parts of your brain by doodling or writing down your thoughts will build new connections, and help with reducing stress, increasing productivity, improve planning and coordination skills, and hey, it might even be a bit of fun!
To get more inspiration, why not check out a local art group or creative writing class, you may even benefit from making new connections in your community.
If you feel inspired by Stewart and want to enter a competition with your writing, try supporting a new poetry competition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1. Inspired by the war’s famous poets, ‘A Poem to Remember’ are seeking poetry that honours those affected by service and pays tribute to humankind’s capacity to cope with adversity. You can find out more and enter here
Creative Inspiration from @worksafeandwell
To help get those creative juices flowing, here are a few random drawing and writing prompts. Take five minutes, switch off the phone/email/T.V and get your notepad and pen out. Write or draw the first thing that comes to mind on the following:
- My favourite meal….
- The view from my window….
- Forget me not……
If you are inspired by this post or the links shared, then we would love to see your masterpieces!