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Creative Expression as a Tool for Managing Stress

By Brandy Browne

Ever notice how being creative takes you to your peaceful place? Maybe you find your zen by moving your body in the form of dance. Maybe you write, paint a picture, take photos, go shopping for that perfect dress to suit your style. Author and educational consultant Kendra Cherry (2020) explains the endorphins you feel, “Art therapy is a technique rooted in the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being” (retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-art-therapy-2795755#:~:text=Art%20therapy%20is%20a%20technique,and%20work%20on%20social%20skills.). In other words, that music blasting  in your Air Pods can literally make you healthier…

Virginia Harris (2018), Jefferson Center grant writer, conducted a literature review of over 100 studies, and found the following, “Music engagement can decrease anxiety and calm neural activity. Visual arts therapy can be a refuge from the intense emotions associated with illness. Movement-based creative expression can relieve stress. Expressive writing can help one to process life events and can positively impact mental health” (retrieved from https://www.jcmh.org/how-flexing-your-creativity-can-benefit-your-health-2/#:~:text=Music%20engagement%20can%20decrease%20anxiety,can%20positively%20impact%20mental%20health). It doesn’t take a formal degree in art to reap the benefits of art therapy, however. Here are some inexpensive ways to flex your creative side without breaking the bank:

5 Ways to Extend Creativity

  1. Put on music and dance. Working up a sweat and getting down with your sassy side releases major endorphins, which will provide an instant improvement in mood and rush of energy. 
  2. Take a walk. Whip out your cell phone, or bring along the camera, and record evidence of all the beautiful things you find in nature. 
  3. Bust out the cookbook, and prepare a beautiful meal worthy of a cooking show. 
  4. Try journaling…it can be in response to a prompt you find online, or just write whatever comes into your head. 
  5. Host a fun party with your friends…make wreaths, front door decor, or visit a paint party where everyone leaves with a painting. 

Final Thoughts

Indulging your creative side will assist in providing emotional release, which in turn promotes positive mental health changes. Art is a powerful tool to fight anxiety, depression, and high stress levels. Tapping into your artistic side can be as simple or complex as you desire, and the benefits are immense. 

Sources

Cherry, K. (2020). How art therapy is used to help people heal. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-art-therapy-2795755#:~:text=Art%20therapy%20is%20a%20technique,and%20work%20on%20social%20skills

Harris, V. (2018). How flexing your creativity can benefit your health. Retrieved from https://www.jcmh.org/how-flexing-your-creativity-can-benefit-your-health-2/#:~:text=Music%20engagement%20can%20decrease%20anxiety,can%20positively%20impact%20mental%20health

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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