Many people, including parents and their children, found new creative hobbies while staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s a good thing because creativity is good for your behavioral and mental health.
Some families have taken to the sidewalk, making chalk masterpieces to share on social media. Others have discovered new recipes to cook, and some people have taken up starting or finishing that novel that has been hiding in their desks for years.
Experts say that creativity has many mental health benefits, including:
- Increasing happiness
- Easing anxiety
- Helping depression
- Reducing dementia
- Boosting the immune system
- Improving overall mental health
Getting into the groove of a creative project, whether it is painting, knitting, writing or gardening, can make you happier and even lower your heart rate. Your body gets a jolt when you finish a project because dopamine – a feel-good natural anti-depressant in your brain – is released and helps motivate you to the next project.
When your hands and mind are busy, thoughts – we have about 60,000 a day racing through our heads – become more focused. Being creative also helps to relieve anxiety and depression. Creative expression can help people deal with the after-effects of trauma, too. Sometimes drawing or writing allows trauma survivors to express their feelings without speaking.
An active brain can help curb dementia, too. It helps people to tap into cognitive functions, sharpens their senses, inspires hope and gives them confidence.
We know vitamin C helps your immune system, but did you know that creativity can also boost it? Researchers are still studying why this happens, but research shows writing helps increases lymphocyte count, a key component to the immune system. Even something as easy as listening to music helps to increase mood and can put a smile on your face.
Mental health is critical to overall physical health. Anxiety, depression, stress and other behavioral health issues can affect your ability to fight off chronic disease. But ignoring mental health issues can lead to serious health problems, like heart disease and high blood pressure. That’s where creativity comes into play. A creative outlet that gives you contentment can help you feel better. So get out the paintbrush, gardening tools or journal and start creating!