Cut It Up and Make It New – A Step-by-Step Guide to Transforming Negativity into Creativity

Harness the power of collage to overcome negative thoughts and limiting beliefs
How can we transform our negative thoughts? If you’ve ever felt you’re not good enough or something you want isn’t for you, this activity is for you. But don’t worry! You’re not alone. These negative thoughts or self limiting beliefs happen to most people at some point – including the most successful entrepreneurs and creatives. And it doesn’t need to define us. This simple but powerful exercise we shared in our recent Community MeetUp helps transform your negative thoughts into something new and exciting.

What You Need

Paper and pen (or a device if you prefer typing*)
A glue stick
A blank sheet of paper
Coloured paper, magazines or images

The Process

Step 1: Acknowledge Your Feelings
Write down all the negative thoughts, comments and limiting beliefs that you’re struggling with. This can be challenging, but it’s a crucial part of the process. It’s about recognising and confronting these feelings. To prepare yourself, imagine these thoughts as balloons — gently touching them and bouncing them away as you write them down — rather than letting them settle. *If you’re typing your thoughts, print what you’ve written.

Step 2: Cut or tear up your thoughts

Step 2: Cut It Up
Once you’ve written down all these thoughts, take your scissors and cut them or rip them up. Take your time and really listen to the sounds of your scissors on paper or tearing. This is one of the pure joys of collaging! Destruction! There’s also a lot of symbolism here as you’re letting go of these limiting beliefs. A gentle reminder though: remember it’s not about erasing these thoughts, or feeling bad about having them as it’s normal, but transforming them into something new.

Step 3: Start making your collage, layering the thoughts into a new pattern

Step 3: Make It New
Now, take a piece of paper: it could be coloured, white, black, found or torn out from a magazine or book. Anything will do as long as you can stick paper to it. Start glueing down your cut or torn-up pieces of paper to create your collage. With this activity, I don’t like to think too much about this process and simply enjoy the sticking process, but you can arrange the pieces first if you like. You can also add new words and images, your own or from a magazine. The layout and how it looks is entirely up to you!

Step 4: Reflect
Take a moment to look at your artwork. It’s a tangible representation of your feelings transformed. This collage is a reminder that even from negativity, something beautiful and positive can emerge.

What are the benefits of this exercise?

Creativity: It sparks your creativity, proven to reduce stress and boost mood.
Mindfulness: The act of acknowledging, writing, cutting, and rearranging encourages you to stay present and mindful.

Turning negative thoughts into a collage is more than just an art project. It’s a way of connecting with our inner selves, acknowledging what is holding us back and finding our own path. Exercises like this are one of the ways that Common Exception fuses mindfulness and strategy, creating a more joyful and mindful approach to work. Let’s cut up the negativity and make something new together!

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