We live in a society where we accept feelings of stress and anxiety as the norm – and often tell ourselves it will get better over time without actually making an effort to enact change.
However, while we may not be able to avoid anxiety and stress altogether – there are certain steps we can take to reduce the impact they have on our lives. For example, creative outlets prove to be an excellent way to do just that!
Why is having a creative outlet important?
As mentioned above, having a creative outlet is important as it provides you with a healthy distraction from stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions. Whether you spend an hour or several hours on a project, this time is always well spent, as it means you are spending less time with negative thoughts.
Furthermore, many scientific studies have found that engaging in creative hobbies can also improve our mental health. This is because they may help you to find a new way to process your emotions and express yourself, which is useful if you otherwise find it difficult to open up. Hobbies also instil within us feelings of pride and self-worth, especially when we reach a specific milestone or finish a project, which can again mean that they’re a great way to boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Hobbies that tap into your creativity.
There are many different creative hobbies that you can explore in order to better your mental health and well-being. This includes.
Running your own blog is a great way to tap into your creativity, as it encourages you to improve your writing skills and think outside of the box in order to captivate your audience. Furthermore, it also provides you with a great way to explore your interests and share your knowledge, insight, and skills with others. Finally, blogging can also be a great side hustle or even a full-time job if you’re willing to put the work in.
2. Learning to play an instrument.
Listening to music is often described as therapeutic. However, it is important to note that playing an instrument can have a similar effect on your mind and mood. This is because music is “proven to increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which are linked to improving mood” and relieving negative emotions. As you become a more adept musician, you can even begin to write your own music, which can again provide you with another way to express yourself and share your feelings with others.
3. Pottery Painting.
If you’re looking for a creative hobby that is a little more low-key, you may want to try out pottery painting. While it does require some investment in order to buy the poetry, paints, and other supplies, it’s another hobby that can quickly turn into a side hustle, providing your painting skills are up to scratch.
Again, there are many studies that have found painting is therapeutic, which means it can be great for your mental health while also giving you the chance to unplug from the stress of everyday life. For example, many people find that taking some time to quietly paint or focus on this kind of project also gives them time to think.
If you’ve ever participated in any form of therapy, you’re likely already aware of the mental health benefits associated with journaling. For example, writing down our feelings often helps us to compartmentalise and understand them, as opposed to simply burying them. However, this can also turn into a creative outlet. For example, while you may typically view journaling as a “stream of consciousness” exercise, where you write down everything that comes to your head, it could also become a creative writing exercise.
Instead of simply free writing, try to find new ways to put your thoughts onto paper, such as through poetry or a combination of words and sketches. Remember, your journal is your safe space – it’s not something that you have to share with the world, so you don’t have to worry about producing something “good.” Instead, just focus on getting your thoughts written down, even if they may be negative.
5. Cooking & baking.
Whether you prefer to come up with your own recipes or follow tutorials online, cooking and baking are perfect examples of hobbies that are both creative and practical. After all, not only are you trying something new each time you experiment with a dish or add a twist to an old favourite, but you’re also learning a practical skill.
As such, home cooking and baking is not only therapeutic but an incredibly valuable life skill, whether you’re cooking for yourself or the entire family. It could even give you an excuse to bring your loved ones together for regular dinner parties or meals. In some cases, it could also be a great way to save money, as you prefer to cook in the kitchen than dining out!
While you may only feel comfortable dancing when nobody is looking, it is a great way to connect with your body and can, once again, help you to express yourself in a new way. Furthermore, as feelings of low mood, stress, and anxiety are often linked to our lifestyle, dancing (or other creative forms of exercise), can be a great way to transition into a healthier lifestyle.
This comes with the added benefit of improving your confidence in more ways than one. Firstly, it can improve your relationship with your body so that you are no longer facing insecurities each time you look in the mirror. However, exercise also encourages your body to produce more serotonin, which, as discussed above, is one of the key hormones behind feelings of happiness and elation. As such, it can be an effective way to combat stress and anxiety.
Remember, you don’t need to attend a formal class to dance – simply stick on your favourite music and dance the night away!