There is growing scientific evidence that being creative actually improves our mental health and physical well-being. So, what does creativity offer us from a mental health perspective? Here are some of the major benefits.
1. Creativity Helps Express and Manage Emotions
Different studies have shown that artistic self-expression can help people cope with different kinds of trauma. For example, research has found that expressive writing can help people work out their thoughts and emotions and process trauma. While you may feel overwhelmed by negative emotions immediately after writing down a painful experience, the long-term effects are positive, research shows. Many follow-up studies found long-term benefits of expressive writing on mental health.
2. Creativity Elevates Mood and Alleviates Anxiety
Creative expression improves our mood. Research shows that repetitive creative motions like drawing or knitting can increase the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression simultaneously reducing the level of stress hormones. Studies show that calming nature of music therapy and theatre can help reduce anxiety as well.
3. Creative Expression Boosts Your Immune System and Prevents Disease
Studies show that journaling and listening to music can help improve your immune system function increasing the CD4+ lymphocyte count, vital to your immune health. Creative activities help reduce stress hormones and inflammation levels.
For example, creative writing can provide an outlet, helping people with chronic illness to cope with symptoms. Also, the research shows that creative expression leads to relaxation and helps keep blood pressure low, preventing heart disease.
4. Creativity Increases Confidence
Apart from being enjoyable, creative activities can give a boost to your sense of self-worth. Creating something beautiful generates a sense of purpose and pride. Also, studies show that forms of creative expression such as knitting can help cancer patients feel in control, therefore improving their self-esteem and confidence.
5. Creativity Boosts Your Brain Function
Research has shown that being creative helps prevent degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s by building up a reserve supply of cognitive function and delaying future neurodegeneration.
In addition, studies show that journaling, play-acting or making music can help with learning and memorization. For example, one study demonstrated that mental health of older persons who participated in theater performances had improved after four weeks.
Art and creative expression can help you find meaning and enjoyment in life, help you feel better and be healthier. Discovering what inspires you and incorporating outlets of creativity into your life can improve your psychological well-being and physical health.