Why Art and Creativity is essential for your Mental Health

Mental health and wellness is important and the practice of creativity is a way to improve mental health #WorldMentalHealthDay

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I've struggled with mental wellness myself after a series of losses. We had only a small family, but over the course of three years my husband and I went from having four parents, to having one healthy mother, and another in a care home with dementia. I lost my father in law, my father and an uncle. On top of this I also lost friends and a cat. I want to share what I’ve learnt in the hope that I may be able to help you if you're ever in a similar place. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to not be ok. Above all I want to share how I reconnect with the world again. 
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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.

Why Art and Creativity is essential for your Mental Health #MentalHealthAwareness

Many people told me that the best way is to start talking about it if you can manage, but everybody is different and I found it really difficult to hold a conversation without bursting into tears for the longest time. I’ve always been really sensitive and found it made me avoid situations where I’d have to talk to people. My creativity has been the best way I’ve found to express and heal myself.
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If you’re finding things tough and overwhelming I’d recommend you start doing something creative because that frees you too do something that can help you process things in a nurturing way. I found that when I didn’t feel like speaking, I was thankful for my creativity because it gave me a way to express my feelings. I’d say gave me a voice when I didn't feel like talking.
 
Acrylic paints
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So what is it about creativity that's helping? Whether it's painting, drawing, or making something with your hands. I think it's taking you back to the act of play when you’re a child. That's how we learn and develop from a young age and that's how we process things. As adults I don't think we play enough, we are always conscious that we need to be good at things and worry about being judged. Are we good enough?
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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.

Painting dirty pour acrylic paint

Whatever activity you choose doesn’t really matter; whether it’s drawing, painting, crochet or macrame, you should try to do a little bit every day if you can. If you keep waiting for perfection you'll never get going. You simply start where you are and make a commitment to try, no matter how bad your first attempts are. If you have any unused art equipment in the back of a cupboard you can start with those, otherwise you can head to the art shop for a set.
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If you’re not sure what to choose as your creative project you could start reflecting on what you used to enjoy as a child. Many of us enjoyed something that perhaps we were told we weren’t good at, but that’s just one persons’ opinion.
.Creativity for mental health
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I'm starting to redefine who I am, now my story has changed. I do believe that although I have been grieving, it also gives me an inner strength to focus now on being me again; to think about what I want to achieve and to live my best life.  I'm rewriting my story as I go and I hope you will too.
Daisy chain necklace
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So what did you love to do as a kid? It’s time to reconnect with your inner child. Let go of perfectionism, start where you are and go from there. Don't suffer in silence. It's ok to not be ok. If you're struggling please reach out to somebody and talk to family and/or friends/ go to your doctor for help. If you know somebody who is finding things difficult please listen and be there for them. I've added a couple of links below. If you need help please reach out. I'm listening.
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#WorldMentalHealthDay 
 

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Comments

Sparkly Wine Mermaid Tiffany

Sparkly Wine Mermaid Tiffany said:

I call it “getting in touch with your inner mermaid.” ✌🏻💕🧜🏻‍♀️

Sally How Fine Designs

Sally How Fine Designs said:

That’s a really lovely way of putting it. We really do need to nurture our inner mermaid! ✨🧜‍♀️✨

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