When you’re four, a cardboard box becomes a space shuttle and your living room is the moon. For too many of us, by the time we’re 30, that cardboard box is just another thing cluttering up the house. Somewhere along the line, our imagination got snuffed.
Using your imagination and creative juices:
- Engages Your Mind: Activating your imagination engages your brain in outside-the-box thinking. This can prove helpful when problem-solving and working toward goals in recovery.
- Broadens Perspective: Studies have shown that children who engage in imaginative play are better equipped to take on someone else’s perspective. Seeing things from someone else’s point of view can be critical to understanding and healing in relationships.
- Enhances Memory Skills: Our imaginations can help us sharpen our memories. Imagining is often an effective method of recalling specific information on command. For those suffering from brain trauma (which often occurs through substance abuse), imagination can assist with memory rehabilitation.
- Creates Empathy: It can be difficult to relate to an experience that we haven’t gone through ourselves. It’s easy to focus on our own hurt, and glaze over the hurt others have experienced. Researchers have found that a healthy imagination can help with this by enabling us to empathize. We are better able to picture something that we haven’t experienced and gain a better understanding of what the other person is going through.
Tips for Reigniting Your Imagination
To take advantage of these benefits, we must engage our imagination. If you fear you left yours back in second grade, don’t despair. We’ve got some simple tips to help revive your visionary side. With practice, you’ll build your imagination like any other muscle. And as it strengthens, you’ll reap the benefits of a strong mind – capable of more than you ever imagined.
- Watch, Witness, Wonder: To unlock your imagination, start with observation. Slow down and take in the myriad events going on around you. Do some people-watching. Take in nature. Create a story about what you see. (Where is that man in the blue hat going? What are the people in that cab discussing? What did that fat squirrel eat for breakfast?) Your observations can unlock your imagination.
- Remember, Recall, Relive: Revisit those times when you were five and everything around you was alive with imagination. Recall games you used to play and stories you used to invent. These sources can help rekindle your imagination.
- Inquire, Investigate, Inspect: With easy access to answers at our fingertips, it’s easy to become lazy in our investigations. A couple of clicks connects us to any data we need. Don’t stop there. Read additional information. Pick up a book. Be curious about things and don’t let your curiosity be too easily satisfied.
Additional Reading: 5 Building Blocks for a Sober Life of Fulfillment
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