Often when we think about the factors that benefit our mental health, exercise is right up at the top along with a healthy diet and taking time to relax. But have you ever made a connection between your mental health and, say, picking up a paintbrush, writing a song, dancing or even sculpting something out of clay?
Your creative pursuits, as it turns out, can be about far more than simply creating a work of art. Using visual art, music and dance to express yourself can also benefit your mental health in several ways (so, perhaps it’s no surprise that adult colouring books have taken off in popularity) that might even inspire you to get creative more often! After all, art’s not always about talent – sometimes it’s just about feeling better about yourself.
Art can relieve stress
No matter what your artistic medium, making a piece of art can actually lower your stress levels by focusing on creativity rather than what is causing you anxiety. Whenever it feels like your mind could use a break, art is a great distraction that allows you to channel and express your emotions, rather than ruminate over a problem.
Creativity can boost those good feelings
What’s better than that sense of accomplishment you get from creating something uniquely by you? How about actually feeling good because of it! Studies have shown that, when you do something creative like paint a picture, your brain boosts its production of dopamine – a chemical that makes us feel, well, good!
Creativity and self-esteem go hand-in-hand
Many of us struggle with issues related to self-confidence and self-esteem – two factors that can certainly impact one’s mental health. If you think back to the last time you finished a creative project, can you recall that sense of accomplishment you felt? When you put effort and passion into something creative and see it through, you may feel a heightened sense of self-worth.
Creativity functions as a healthy emotional release
We’ve all had those moments when stress, anxiety, frustration or even anger is just rumbling around inside us and trying to get out. Of course, there are healthy and not-so-healthy ways to accomplish this; thankfully, being creative is a productive and effective way to channel all those feelings that you have into something positive – especially if you’re having difficulty vocalizing what is upsetting you.
Everyone has the ability to create – so don’t think that it’s out of reach. In addition to making something you can feel proud of, creativity in its many shapes and forms can actively improve your mental health – all the more reason to get started on your masterpiece!
Using visual art, music and dance to express yourself can also benefit your mental health in several ways.