Many individuals are exposed to daily stressors from their professional and personal lives. That said, stress, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, stress is a fundamental aspect of a person’s survival system as it allows them to quickly respond to threats. But if left unchecked, stress can increase a person’s risk for various health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Also, people who find it challenging to cope with mental or emotional pressure can experience reduced levels of happiness.
To keep any stressors from negatively impacting your well-being, it’s important to manage your stress. An effective way to do that is by engaging in creative activities. Getting creative helps you see the world from a new perspective. Also, tapping into your creativity helps you create works of beauty and refreshes your body and mind.
If you want to learn more about how to manage your daily stress, here are some of the benefits of being creative and a few different ways you can explore your artistic side.
1. Creating Art Reduces Anxiety
Many creative tasks like painting, colouring, and knitting are some simple ways to handle stress. Because such activities help your mind focus, they provide a calming effect on your brain and body similar to what you can experience when meditating. Also, putting your creativity to work allows your brain to release dopamine. This chemical is known as a natural anti-depressant that can improve your well-being.
For individuals who are having difficulties dealing with trauma, art can also provide some relief. According to a study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, painting or drawing allows people to process negative emotions productively. It helps them express themselves when they find it challenging to put what they’re feeling into words.
2. Creativity Increases Happiness
When you do something creative, you become engrossed in it. This concept is also called being in the flow state. According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, engaging in any kind of creative task can help put you at ease. This is because this type of activity puts you in a mental state where your worries and internal chaos are set aside. As a result, it helps boost your mood and slows your heart rate down.
Aside from helping increase your happiness, creative actions that initiate the flow state—like drawing or writing—create tangible results. Once you accomplish something, big or small, you naturally feel good about having done so.
3. Creative Activities You Can Do to De-Stress
There are various activities you can do to engage your creativity. They can be something you’re already familiar with or tasks you’ve been wanting to try. If you’re looking for ideas, here are a few you may want to experiment with:
One of the simplest ways to use creativity to manage your stress is by journalling. This activity allows you to clarify your thoughts and feelings by writing them down. It’s also an affordable stress management technique since you can journal via your computer or with a pen and paper, depending on your preference.
Journalling can also take different forms, and you can explore them all to see what works best for you. For example, one of the most popular forms of journalling is known as a gratitude journal. Taking the time to note down things you’re grateful for allows you to put your focus on what you have rather than on what you lack. This creates a better appreciation of your life and, in turn, boosts your mood.
Additionally, journalling can be a form of emotional release. If you’re going through a tough day, writing about it is an effective way to cope with stressful events. It can also help you process what you’re feeling and find positive ways of reframing your thoughts.
5. Drawing, Painting, and Colouring
Drawing and painting can help relieve stress and depression. These artistic activities also help improve the memory of older adults, particularly seniors with dementia. By actively engaging in art, it allows individuals to express themselves as well as delay cognitive decline.
If you’re not into drawing or painting, you can try your hands at colouring. In recent years, adult colouring books have gained popularity because colouring is an effective stress reliever. One study shows that people colouring complex geometric shapes and patterns have reduced levels of anxiety. This makes the activity an ideal outlet for stress reduction.
Engaging in crafts allows you to be in the state of flow that many people often experience when meditating. Similarly, it can act as a mental exercise to help regulate your focus and emotions. Whether you’re gardening, knitting, or doing origami, concentrating on a particular task can help you relax and improve how you respond to daily stressors.
In addition, crafting provides another avenue for self-expression, creative improvisation, and critical thinking. All these result in slowing down your breathing as well as lowering your heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.
If you want to try managing your stress via creative activities, you don’t need to look far. You can pick up some of your childhood interests like painting or colouring. It can also be an opportunity to find a new hobby. Regardless of what artistic task you choose to do, remember that it’s not about the results but about reaping the benefits of engaging your artistic abilities. So, don’t feel pressured about what you’re creating. Instead, just enjoy the creative process.
Having a hard time managing your stress? Contact MRS V today for an ALCHEMY Session to help relieve some stress!