When we think of ‘creative people’ our minds tend to conjure up images of artists and musicians. And while of course, these are forms of creativity, they aren’t the only ways to be creative.
Creativity is, essentially, a different way of thinking and this can be triggered from lots of activities including cooking, dancing and sewing. If you’ve ever had to think of a different approach at work or problem solve a situation – you’ve engaged your creative brain.
Us humans are naturally creative, it’s how we developed tools back in the caveman days. But did you know being creative could actually be good for our mental health too?
How creativity supports mental wellness
We have around 60,000 thoughts every day and almost all of them are the same. We are creatures of habit and tend to go over similar things in our heads again and again. Creative activities get our minds out of this routine and into a state of ‘flow’.
This is when you become so engrossed in an activity that time seems to fly by and it can feel meditative. When we’re in this state, our brains release dopamine, a natural antidepressant. This can ease anxiety, stress and even depression.
Even just observing creativity (so going to a concert or visiting an art gallery) is believed to decrease stress levels. Creativity encourages us to reflect and express ourselves, both of which help us develop ‘psychological resilience’ which is key to maintaining good mental health.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you may even consider a creative form of psychotherapy. See our section on arts therapies for more information.
Ways to embrace your creative side
We should all look to embrace creativity in our lives, even if only on a small scale. Here are some activities to try:
- Write a story about how your perfect day would go.
- Take a different route to work.
- Draw your worries.
- Take pictures of everyday moments.
- Try scrapbooking to document big events.
- Cook a new recipe.
- Buy a colouring book (get your kids involved too, here’s a free mindful colouring bookmark!)