Why Art and Creativity is essential for your Mental Health
The practice of creativity improves mental health
Mental health and wellness is so important. In life we all have things wrong with us at some point. The mind and its wellbeing are essential to maintain. Once we notice something needs to be done it's an important step. Wherever you are, or whoever you are you may need help at some point in your life. Or you may be able to support somebody else with their mental wellness.
Each time I’ve lost somebody special I do take time to process the grief. I take myself off social media for a while, because for me that doesn’t feel like the right place to be and I need to take a break. But after spending time grieving I realised I needed to break the cycle and get going with my life again. Each time it has happened recently I have felt better sooner, so know that I have learnt how to heal myself without medicine. I'm not saying it will always work for other people, but it is certainly worth trying and if I can help one person feel better it's been worth sharing.
The act of creating something can be quite cathartic, however simple. When we are doing something creative for ourselves that can become our why, even if its only for a few minutes. By re-engaging our inner child, we can free ourselves and release ourselves from the fear of failure and overcome our anxiety for a short while. When you watch small children playing or even creating art work they spend some time doing the activity; they might think well this is absolutely fantastic, they might think that's not how I wanted it to be, but at the end of the session they put it aside and quickly move onto the next thing! When asked if they want their picture, very often they don’t, because it’s not about the outcome. They don’t judge what they’ve done, and we can learn a lot from that.
My advice is to try to return to your inner child, and allow yourself to produce creative marks without the pressure of judging the finished product, simply to enjoy the moment. To enjoy the act of putting the paint on to the brush, mixing the paint with water, mixing the colours and enjoying how they react to one another; simply being in the moment. How does the paint react when you apply it to the paper, or mix it with another colour? Even though we’re not focused on the outcome, it can often lead to a better picture anyway! If we are able to see what happens to try things out. At the end of the day what's the worst thing that's going to happen if things don't go right? Even if it’s bin worthy, we can always make another one!
Putting things into perspective it’s a piece of paper, so it's not the end of the world if things don’t go quite to plan. I think if you look at things in this way we can be freed to be more experimental and if things don't go right, it doesn't really matter. If things go well, that’s a bonus. I like to tell people in my groups and classes that moving forwards is more important than rubbing out, so if you're making a drawing and you want to make corrections sometimes it's good to forget about erasing the bits that aren’t right yet, instead just continue to draw over. This will help you to keep forming what you're trying to represent.
Before long your new marks will cover up your old marks and in the scheme of things the drawing underneath generally doesn’t distract from where you're going. If you start to look at things like that, you have the evidence that you were forming your idea underneath and it shows your progress. Gradually as you draw more your ability and control will improve and so will your confidence.
The final outcome generally also tends to be better, whereas if you are constantly erasing or rubbing out your drawing, its likely that you’ll keep making the same mistakes, so you feel as if you’re going backwards, or certainly not moving forwards very much. So baby steps in the right direction rather than completely starting again is what to aim for.
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