Can creativity positively effect your mental wellbeing? Well, in my humble opinion, yes it can. I have talked about this before in classes and on the socials, how returning to creativity helped me through the COVID lockdowns. For those in Melbourne, you would understand what it was like to live through the lockdowns, as one of the most lockdown cities in the world.
I rediscovered art during this time and found I lent on it to relax me and take my mind off what was going on.
In the art classes I run, often there are comments such as, "where did that 2 hours go?", "I got lost in the painting.", or "This is my happy place, I forget what is happening in my life." "This is my me time to relax and enjoy some quiet time."
Just 40 minutes of art can help to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone in your body. There is a fabulous book, Your Brain on Art; How the Arts Transform Us by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross which goes into great depth. It is well worth a read. You can check out the link under my favourite tools.
Art therapy is now found more in mainstream mental health services as the benefits of art and creativity on wellbeing is being highlighted more and more.
I have found when I run an evening art class, I sleep better that night, participants of the night programs have also commented they have the same restful night's sleep.
If I have had a particularly busy day or really have been under the pump, I take some time out for 20 minutes to half an hour to sketch or dip into some watercolour, it can have a profound effect on my mind, mood and wellbeing. Sometimes, taking a short amount of time can be all you need to shift your mood with a simple sketchbook or a simple watercolour palette, a few brushes and an art book.
Have you found art has helped your wellbeing in anyway? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Lee Cummins is a mixed media artist, workshop and art class facilitator.