Creativity and Mental Health - Find Your Happy Place.

Living a creative life promotes overall health and wellbeing. It's a non-medical way to deal with life stresses, and it's an important part of our mental self-care routine. Get your daily dose of creativity today!

It's common knowledge a healthy diet and regular exercise is good for your body, but did you know getting those creative juices flowing improves your overall health and wellbeing? Regularly engaging in creative behaviour improves your brain function, your mental and physical health, it sharpens your senses, boosts your mood and reduces your heart rate - and the list goes on and on!

We have around 60,000 thoughts a day, and not all of them are good ones, right?  When you're creative the focus shifts from your worries, putting you in a meditative state that calms the mind and brings you peace.

Do you notice how quickly time flies when you're being creative? That's called flow, and it means you're immersed in the enjoyment and process of the activity, with no time or thought for the stresses and worries that weigh you down.

Crafting in groups has many added benefits as well. It builds confidence, reduces feelings of loneliness, isolation and judgement, makes you feel accepted and increases your overall happiness - you find your people!

The theory of cognition suggests being creative is the basis for human life. In other words, it's pretty darn important for your wellbeing, and here's just a few reasons why:

Releases Dopamine:

Dopamine is natures very own anti-depressant, and it's released into your brain in abundance when you're creating. You may not be aware of your increased happiness, but it will drive and influence you towards similar behaviour - in other words it becomes addictive and you want to create more and more!

The release of dopamine helps you stay focused, increases your productivity and keeps you motivated. It also helps counteract feelings of depression and anxiety, it improves your memory and it makes you feel more energised and alive.

Crafting is a non-medical way to stimulate dopamine and make you feel happy, plus you get to make all the pretty things. :)

Boosts Mood:

As soon as I walk into a craft shop or my sewing room my mood improves - the colours, textures and endless inspiration take me straight to my happy place. Running my hands along the fabric bolts, or squishing balls of yarn gives me a sense of peace and calm, and my worries take a back seat as I'm filled with fresh, new ideas and perspective. 

When you're struggling with physical stress or emotional worries, your body craves a way to release the tension. Creating can naturally boost and uplift your mood and transform the emotional and chemical makeup of your body, helping you heal and bring peace to those overactive and often negative minds.

It also helps you express your feelings more clearly. Writing or drawing in a pretty journal gives you space to understand the external turmoil of your life and allows you to look empathically and compassionately at yourself.

Long term, creativity helps you get outside of yourself and leave your worries behind. It's self-care for the soul!

Reduces Dementia:

I remember my mum saying, "nan went downhill when she stopped crafting".  I didn't fully understand this at the time, but her dementia progressed very quickly because her hands and mind became idle. There were no more colours to choose or patterns to try, she was no longer eager to tell us about her current project, and her brain was no longer stimulated.

Crafting involves a lot of concentration, problem solving, skill building, muscle memory, decision making and attention, and all of this keeps your brain functioning at its optimal best - it's like a cardio workout for the brain. 

Crafting is a cognitive exercise, and while it's not scientifically proven, it may help to stave off or at least slow down, the thinking and memory problems that lead to dementia.

Increases Self Esteem:

Creativity allows you to set goals, bring your dreams to life and put your own personality into a wide array of projects. The act of completion rewards your body with dopamine, making you feel good about yourself and your achievements.

Your self-esteem builds as you reach goals or targets, and as you honour and respect your own work. Nothing is perfect and being able to recognise that and still be proud of what you create shows how much you value yourself and the talents you were given.

Things don't always go according to plan, but respecting your work and keeping faith in your abilities, regardless of the recognition of others, will build your self-esteem and increase your productivity so you can continue to leave your creative mark on this world.

Be brave, be resilient, be confident!

Promotes Good Health:

Daily creative routines will support your overall good health. We know it improves your psychological health, but it can also encourage physical activity as well - I might not run marathons, but I can get in a lot of steps by walking around the craft shop or hunting for locations for photo shoots. ;)

Reducing stress is important for your long-term health, and a row or two of crochet or sewing a few seams everyday can go a long way to improving how you deal with anxious feelings, stress and worries. When you let stress get the better of you, your body is at risk of illness and you're not practicing good self-care.

Feeling good and positive strengthens your immune systems, lowers your blood pressure and helps your body heal naturally. If being creative takes you to your happy place, then make it a part of your daily self-care routine and reap the rewards of a more happy and healthy life.

So basically, creating is good for your mind, your body and your soul. You will find your happy place, reduce dementia and maintain overall health and wellbeing. You'll feel more self-confident, self-expressive and it gives your self-esteem a well-deserved boost.

For some it's an emotional response and a way to get those thoughts and ideas out into the world, for others it's a passion that needs to be fed. Whatever the reason, just remember...creating is fun, it's loaded with health benefits and it's good for you! Make sure you get your daily dose of creativity today!

I'm embarking on an eight unit Uni course on Creativity and Mental Health, which is an introduction to a four year degree. I'm not sure if this course is the right fit for me yet, but ultimately, I would like to share my love of crafting with dementia patients and mental health sufferers, to help promote positive stimulation and authentic expression. I'll keep you posted!

Happy quilting :)
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  1. A very Needful Health Bulletin !

    1. Thanks Linda. I hope you get your creativity fix today :)

  2. I really needed to read this today. I believe this is so true. Nothing brings me more contentment than to be into a project while time passes me by. Before I realize it, hours have passed. That's when I know I am doing my best work. So satisfying. Like you, the colors are so stimulating to me. Creativity moves me. Inspiration is everywhere. Thanks for writing this. I think you may be onto something in this course work. Good luck with your degree. Sounds like you may have found your future.

    1. I'm so glad crafting takes you to your happy place Dot. My days in the sewing room just fly by, and I'd love time to slow down so I can achieve more and more. I'm hoping this course works out, but it may be a little more than I'm looking for. The introduction units are very inspiring though, and I'm thinking of reaching out to our dementia centre for guidance and a game plan :)

  3. This is all so true. I'm 83 and have done crafts all my life. Within the last 8 months, I've lost 2 of my sons. One with a massive heart attack and my youngest with ALS 2 weeks ago. I know that keeping myself busy with sewing, quilting and surrounded by loved ones has kept me sane (barely) through this terrible time. My younger sister suffers from dementia and stopped crafting about a year before it started. Connection? I have no idea but I do believe always that keeping your mind busy has been an answer for me. Thanks for your blog ... You and your fellow bloggers bring light and creativity into our lives.

    1. I'm so very sorry for your loss Rosemary. Sending you big hugs! I'm so glad you have family and crafting to bring you some comfort at such a difficult time. I'm sure your boys would be very proud of your wonderful work and your talent.
      There's no proven connection but I'm also seeing dementia signs in my mother. She gave up knitting and dressmaking a couple of years ago, co-incidence or genetics? I hope I'm just like you and still crafting and keeping my mind busy into my 80's.
      Take care x

  4. Yes I completely agree with everything you've written. Crafting is so good for the mind and the soul.
    Good luck with your course and finding the right fit.

    1. Thanks Anorina. I think the degree is more than I'm looking for, so I'm researching other options as well. The intro course is interesting and covers all things (craft, music, dance etc.), very motivating :)

  5. Hello Rose from a cold England, Thank you for this blog post, I really wish I could have read something like this over 11 years ago. I had two serious breakdowns after a year of ill-health. I seem to have come to the same conclusion as you as far as crafting is good for you, body and mental health. I'm starting again from scratch. I do hope your course is what you're looking for. What a beautiful career goal, good luck to you. Thank you so much for this blog post, I'm sure it will help a lot of people. Regards Mandyxx

    1. Hi Mandy, I wish I could send you some of our hot weather :). I'm so sorry this happened to you. I hope your health has improved and you're feeling good. Crafting is an amazing tool for picking us back up and making us feel positive. I'm so glad your finding your happy place.
      I'm hoping I'm on the right track with this Uni introduction course (I'm loving it so far). I am looking into other ways too, so I'll see where this goes :)


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