Being creative offers a wealth of advantages, from learning a new skill to expressing yourself. But another highly underrated benefit of creative activities is the fact that they can support your mental health in a huge way. Let’s explore the different benefits for mental health that doing creative activities can offer.
There are many ways to be creative, which is great for finding the right outlet for you. Here are just a few of the many examples of creative activities that you can try:
1. They Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Creative activities have been scientifically proven to help relieve stress and anxiety by promoting a sense of relaxation and an escape from stressful situations such as work or social situations. They can do this by promoting feel-good hormones in our brains, which naturally reduce stress.
An easy to do activity such as colouring in or a custom paint by numbers kit can be even more stress-relieving because they don’t require so much thinking or planning. There can often still be a sense of pressure when it comes to being creative that we put on ourselves for whatever we create to be ‘good’, but to avoid this feeling, we can reach for easier activities. These are also great for those new to creative activities or skills.
2. They Keep You Off Screens
A big source of stress and mental strain for us all nowadays are screens and technology. There is a physical strain on our eyes and therefore brain, and a mental one in terms of the darker side of the Internet with things like trolling and toxic culture. We are constantly consuming digital content through the Internet and social media in our free time. In a modern world, the vast majority of us use technology in our jobs too, so the amount of time we are spending on technology of some kind is ever-increasing.
Creative activities often offer a much needed break from technology, which gives our eyes a rest and allows us to focus on the present moment.
3. They Encourage Positive Feelings
Being creative also encourages positive thinking and feelings, as we’re able to express ourselves and feel happy at the thought of creating something new ourselves. That feeling after creating a painting of a beautiful scene or baking a tasty cake provides a boost and lets us feel proud of ourselves too.
4. They Help You Process Emotions
One of the best benefits of creative activities is that they help us to recognise and process our feelings and emotions. When negative feelings arise in our lives, it is tempting to avoid them through distracting ourselves, doing mindless activities such as watching TV or scrolling through social media or ignoring the presence of them altogether. However, when you proactively practice creative activities when you feel upset, stressed or angry, you have the opportunity to address and process the way that you feel. Whether that’s through writing, drawing or cooking, funnelling negative energy into creative activities can allow you to release them and feel happier.