The link between creativity and mental health has always fascinated me. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed getting creative, whether that is through scrapbooking, drawing, writing, digital design, photography, I’m happiest when I’m making something. I’ve also been through periods in my life where I’ve suffered badly with depression. But whether I am feeling good or bad, I’ve always found that getting arty and crafty goes a long way in boosting my mood and making me feel a little brighter. So today I thought I’d share with you some ways which creativity has and continues to improve my mental health.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying just pick up a paintbrush instead of getting professional help. If you struggle with depression, speaking to your doctor is the first step in getting the right treatment for you.
1. Re-focuses the mind
Doing something creative is a great way to distract yourself from overthinking and worrying. If my mind is swimming with negative and anxious thoughts, I tend to pick up a colouring book and focus on making the pages bright and colourful. It’s the perfect activity to release stress and calm the mind.
2. Enables self-expression
Sometimes when we feel depressed, it is hard to articulate how we feel and open up to others. Writing in a journal is a fantastic way to try and make sense of thoughts, feelings and emotions. It puts worries and anxieties into perspective, as leaving words on paper means there is less chatter going on in your mind.
The mental health charity, Mind, have created a beautiful Wellbeing Journal which includes colouring pages, writing prompts and activities to inspire creativity and express yourself a little more freely.
3. Gives A Sense Of Achievement
Making something from nothing is such a rewarding and satisfying feeling. It is a sure way to enhance your mood and you don’t have to be a talented artist to be creative. You can get a kit for anything and everything these days so you can get making something straight away without feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
4. Less Screen Time
Whatever your creative pursuit, whether it is baking, playing guitar, writing, painting, gardening, sewing, it means less time in front of the screens, which is a good thing (unless you watch TV at the same time, hah). You are creating your own positive mood, rather than letting the TV or internet tell you how to feel.
5. Inspires New Ideas
When we feel down, it is hard to feel enthusiastic and think too far into the future. But creativity inspires creativity and the more we do, the more our ideas will flow, discovering different projects to try and new skills to learn. If I have something creative to look forward to, my day always feels that bit brighter.
I find scrapbooking is a great place to start to get those creative juices flowing. Why not have a flick through a magazine and see what inspires you, maybe there is a new recipe or craft you could try?
Have you found that creativity has improved your mental health? What are your favourite creative hobbies? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!