Creative People, we know, feel things powerfully. Many Creative People have spent much of their lives suppressing traits of their powerful personality, told by society, family, friends, teachers, bosses, and more that their natural inclinations are “too much” or even “harmful.” In Creativity Counseling and Creativity Coaching, we learn the power, gifts and benefits of our Creative Personalities, and reclaim them. Your passion is your strength, not your problem. And so, for our conversation about the urge to shop, we start firmly from this position: as a Creative Person, you likely feel powerful urges to buy beautiful, useful and exciting things. You are not wrong for these feelings.
In addition to powerful feelings as part of your Creative Personality, you also have powerful impulses. This is an important feature that facilitates your Creativity and your Creative Flow. The amount of energy required, both mental and physical, to innovate, design and put together new concepts, ideas and works is huge, and you need large energies to accomplish this. That is why you have them!
Is impulsivity good for creativity?
In fact, In a study by Brem and Utica (2019) a Creative Person’s autonomous performance improved directly related to their level of impulsively. In other words, the more impulsive a person was, the more creative they were.
Impulsivity is a part of the creative personality.
What we are essentially saying is the urge and impulse to buy, in this case, is a part of you. Let’s accept that together. It is a byproduct of your creativity- which is desirable. It is also, therefor, not going to change. That means fighting or blaming ourselves over it is unhealthy and harmful. However, this is likely the approach we have been given to work with- guilt, shame and suppression- when it comes to impulse buying.
Options for Creative People
Let’s discuss some better options. When you can accept and embrace impulsivity and powerful emotions and innate and important parts of your creativity, and understand that resisting, controlling and fighting with them is a detrimental exercise for you, you have made great progress already.
Redirection Strategies for Creative People
Dholakia, Jun and Chowdry (2019) recommend a redirect for impulsive shopping. In fact, in their study they found that focusing the urge to impulsively buying instead on appreciation for what you already have, participants were significantly less likely to want to spend money on something new. This is an important finding, and pieces of this I would like to borrow and recommend to you, as a Creative Person. Based on my experience and knowledge of Creative People, perhaps we should add one additional component: creativity.
Exercise for Creative People When you Feel the Urge to Shop:
Controlling Your Urges as a Creative Person
It is important to remember, with such powerful energies at work as a Creative Person, to shut them down, dishonor or deny them, such as “don’t buy it” or “you are being greedy/stupid/ gluttonous/etc” is creating an expansive void inside of ourselves which is not sustainable and will ultimately lead to over-something in the future. This is why it is a better strategy to recognize the source of our emotions and redirect them towards something that will feel more satisfying to us long term.
Applications With Children
Creative Children, with developing brains, growing personalities, synapses, emotions and emotional awareness, regularly feel powerful feelings and impulses. While they may need more support in managing them and understanding them, they are entirely capable! As everything with children, patience and consistency is key. Here is wonderful model for managing impulses, recommended by ADDitude (a great resource for neurodiverse families!), called “feeling the “urge monster”):
Find a day, or a half day, or even a couple of hours, to spend following your own urges – walk in the woods, eat a hot fudge sundae, sleep late.
If acting on some of your impulses would be inappropriate, let yourself explore them mentally. Ask yourself, “What is underlying this urge? Is there some way I can honor it?” Suppose you felt like telling off a friend. How could you communicate your needs to this friend without being explosively angry? Could you ask another friend to help you come up with the right words and practice them with you? Follow through on the action. Use this experience to help you connect with your child for the next part of the exercise.
If he is between the ages of 5 and 9, tell [them] you want to talk to [them] about the “Urge Monster,” that thing inside each of us that pushes us to do things we shouldn’t. (If [they are] older, you can talk more straightforwardly about uncontrollable urges.) Share some of your own urges as examples. Tell [the] child that it is important to feed the monster but not to let it control you. Ask [them] to talk about some of [their] urges. Work with [them] to think of ways to control the Urge Monster and to feed it [safely]. 
Celebrating Creative People
If you have powerful feelings, have struggled with impulsivity, and/or have felt stigmatize or silenced by those around you, these could be signs of your Creative Personality. Creative People are more than what they do- Creativity is who you are. If you are interested in learning more about reclaiming your Creative Strengths and living well, here are three steps you can take today:
1) Book a Free Consultation. All new clients to Creatively, LLC are entitled to a 15 min, free creativity coaching or counseling consultation to sit with me and discuss your needs, services available, and we can problem solve and hand-pick the best next steps to help you succeed.
2) Begin Counseling for the Modern Day Creative Person. Are you a working Creative in need of specific support? I offer a range of Counseling Services so you can select exactly what you need, and nothing that you don't. Creativity Counseling offers 30 min sessions to 60-minute sessions, as well as asynchronous support.
3) Join my Artists in Residency Program. This is a Free, Online Community of Artists where you can build support, accountability, and a network of Creative People as a stepping stone towards reconnecting and committing to your authentic, creative self.
“How to manage creativity time? Results from a social psychological time model lab experiment on individual creative and routine performance”. Alexander Brem, Verena Utikal. Creativity and Innovation Management. doi:10.1111/caim.12309
Dholakia, Utpal, Jihye Jung, and Nivriti Chowdhry (2018), “Should I Buy This When I Have So Much? Reflection on Personal Possessions as an Anticonsumption Strategy,” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 37 (2), 260 –63.
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.