Teens, you might not know it but your brain is exploding with creativity and life. Perhaps it doesn’t feel that way. Perhaps you only see the difficult challenges you’re experiencing at this time, having to do with friends, grades, college entry essays, prom dates, and bullying at school. Yet, if you can look past this and instead look at the way that you are in fact growing and changing, you might see the growth that is happening all around you.
First, your brain is bursting with power and energy. It’s incessantly looking for what is new. Typically, teens want to try new things, explore the world, and role-play. Although this also comes with impulsivity and risk taking, on the whole the brain is growing exponentially. Daniel Siegel, Daniel Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, explains that typically an adolescent wants:
More Social Connection: Along with this growth in the brain, a teen wants to be surrounded by connection with others. Too much isolation could lead to risky behavior, poor decision-making, and perhaps even mental illness, such as depression. Strong friendships and relationships with family can support healthy adolescent growth.
Emotional Responses: A teen will have a heart full of emotions. Although this can lead to moodiness, it points to the explosion of life that is happening within.
Creativity: With a fiery mind and heart, full of emotions and curiosity, the teen is likely going to be creative and innovative. Although curiosity can lead an adolescent in directions that don’t support his or her overall growth, that curiosity also supports his or her discovery of self, which is a necessary task at this stage in life.
For this reason, being creative can support the brain’s growth and stimulate new ways of looking at life. Creativity is a way of nurturing yourself and nourishing your brain cells as they continue to multiply.
Creativity involves taking existing ideas or images and combining them in different ways to create something new, such as a new idea, a new way of doing things, new ways of thinking about something or a new creative product or process. To help nurture your creativity, or at least begin to think about your creativity, the following are questions for you to explore for yourself:
- How creative do you consider yourself to be? Why would you say this to be true?
- Describe a few times when you felt creative in your life.
- What creative activity interests you? How can you get started with it?
- How will you give yourself time for creativity?
- When you think of someone who is creative, what kinds of things might you learn from that person about creativity?
- What is one thing that you can do to promote and grow your own creativity?
Another reason why it’s important to nurture creativity is that it promotes seeing your life differently. It promotes turning your past into your power. Instead of seeing your circumstances in the same way and making the same choices, creativity uses the mini electrical connections going on between billions of neurons for seeing life anew. Those spurts of neural growth, maturity, and explosion happening in the brain can bring about a new way of perceiving life.
This can easily take place when you begin to pay close attention to your present circumstances versus unconsciously making similar choices to those you made in the past. The way you begin to find and create new neural connections in the brain – and new experiences in your life – is through the choices you make. With each choice you make, you create a new life. In fact, Siegel writes that the old myths about the teenage brain are not only wrong; they are destructive. Instead, you can use the power of your growing brain to work for you – use the explosion of creativity that’s happening within and create a new life for yourself.
Finally, you can nurture your creativity by making time for creative endeavors on a regular basis. Perhaps you have art class three times per week, or perhaps you paint when you get home from school. You can support the creativity that is naturally taking place within you by being creative through painting, dancing, sculpting, or another art form.