Reasons Why Painting, Crocheting, Cake Making and being Creative are Great for our Mental Health.

Let’s begin by explaining what we mean by being creative because most people think it means creating art or dance or a poem and thats part of it but it’s not the whole story. 

Creativity is broadly defined actually as: the ability to generate ideas, or see alternatives, or possibilities that could be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. It’s about creating something that didn’t exist before. It’s really wide and includes coding, inventing new products, growing new plants and so much more.  We can all participate in being creative thankfully. But why would we want to? What are the benefits?

Being creative in whatever way you chose helps focus our brain to the task in hand and this leads to brain processes that can calm our brain waves reducing overwhelm, anxiety, depression, stress and OCD. There are lots of studies on this but I am sure most if not all of us can relate feeling better mentally when we get creative. So what is the good stuff we get from being creative?

  1. Being creative can put us in a flow state which is similar to being in trance in hypnosis. This means that we become in a focused state of attention on what we are doing shutting down the brain waves that harass us with their constant busy thoughts of what we need to do that day and allowing other parts of the brain to have more space to solve problems and enable us to more creative. In essence we are able to form original thoughts more easily and we are less critical of our thoughts and ideas meaning we are more courageous in our efforts. You could also think of it as shutting the bedroom door after a busy day and taking that big breath that says relax……In a flow state or being in the zone means that we can feel relaxed, productive, happy and peaceful. We are more positive and we can feel that we have achieved something useful- one of the requirements for feeling happy.
  2. Being creative produces hormones including serotonin and dopamine that we need for our good mental health. The more we can release these hormones the better. Dopamine is a natural antidepressant and  is a type of neurotransmitter. Your body makes it, and your nervous system uses it to send messages between nerve cells. It also helps us feel pleasure in things we do such as shopping, eating and sports. All these things can trigger a dopamine release otherwise known as a dopamine rush. Serotonin is also a neurotransmitter that has an important role in many bodily functions. Here we are concentrating on its star role affecting the regulation of our mood in the brain. Its usually thought of as the feel good factor and it really contributes to good mental health.
  3. Because we usually choose to be creative(its difficult to make someone be creative) it means that we have positive emotions, we feel happy and it reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that being creative enhances the immune system too. How amazing is that?
  4. I know when I am painting I am in flow often, quietening my brain, relaxing and feeling happy as I create something I love (usually flowers and nature) and by being happy this then raises my creativity to the next level. The Flow Genone project describes the state of creative flow as”those moments of rapt attention and total absorption when you get so focused on the task at hand that everything else disappears and all aspects of performance both mental and physical go through the roof”.  Hours can go by without us noticing….Research also shows that creativity creates happiness and feeling good about ourselves. This then permeates into the rest of the day meaning we are happier and in a better mental health place than if we hadn’t been creative. Its not just while you are being creative…..

5. We go into trance naturally every 8-10 minutes. Remember trance is only a focused state of attention. We need trance to function. This is why hypnotherapy is good for our brains and mental health as we can go into an extended state of trance. It is similar to doing nothing when we sit day-dreaming, or being in flow or being in a meditative state. Its not the same though. Creativity or coming up with ideas often happens more often when our brain is in these states as it has the space to process. It’s that light bulb moment and can happen when walking, in the shower or cooking for example. All places when we often quiet our busy brain allowing space to think. These states allow greater creativity and being creative is as we know good for us.

6. Being creative is a way of coping with stress and emotional events that happen in our lives. I now know from my therapist training and personal experience that being creative definitely gets me through stressful times. I double down on being creative if I am having health issues or a stressful time. I know it works.   It also enables us to build resilience in difficult times. Creativity can be for everyone and can take many forms. Just choose whatever makes you smile because thats where you will get the most benefits.

7.Being in nature affects our creativity in a positive way. Studies have shown that disconnecting from tech devices and going out for a walk in nature increases creativity and problem-solving by 50 percent. Nature provides emotionally positive inspiration for creativity when we connect with it. This is a really good reason to step away from the computer to take a walk in the garden or local nature space. 2 hours of time a week spent in nature have been shown to improve mental health and our wellbeing. I know that I often have my best ideas when walking my dog in the local woods or by the river. My brain relaxes and inspiration just fizzes out.

Practicing creativity should be part  of our wellness regime similar to having a healthy diet and exercise. Even if we do not think of ourselves as artists or creative people, we all can express ourselves and be creative and we should because it’s good for us in so many ways. 

So what small thing could you do this week to be more creative?

To see more of my work please visit

I also work as a mental heath therapist so please get in touch if you would like more information on this

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