It is common knowledge that moving our bodies and eating healthy, unprocessed foods positively impacts our health and well-being. But a fact that is less well known is that creativity and taking part in creative hobbies also supports physical and mental health. Here at The Studio, we are firm believers in the power of creativity, and how taking part in regular creative tasks and exercises is a fantastic tool to take time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, connect in with yourself, and ultimately feel the best version of yourself. No matter what it is - drawing, singing, playing or listening to music, writing, cooking, dancing, gardening - having a creative outlet can work wonders for your body and mind.
But what exactly are the benefits of creativity for health and wellbeing? Keep reading to find out!
1. Meditative / flow state
Have you ever found yourself so engrossed in a task that you become completely focused and even lose track of the passing of time? When we are completely focused on a task, we enter into a meditative state, or a ‘flow state’ - in this state, we are focused purely on the present moment, and this allows the mind some respite from the constant thoughts, worries and anxieties about the past and future. This helps to relieve stress and anxiety, slowing down the mind, and even slowing down our heart rate, making us feel more relaxed and at peace.
2. Increased / improved brain function
When we take part in creative activities, different areas of our brain are fired up and engaged. One example is that studies have found musicians have a greater connection between the left and right hemispheres of their brains than non-musicians, helping to improve cognitive functioning. Creativity engages cognitive processes that contribute to mental well-being, such as perception, memory, learning, motivation, problem solving, and more. Simply listening to music engages and stimulates our brains, and has been found to improve cognitive functioning in people recovering from a stroke. This stimulation of our brains is vital at all stages of life, but particularly useful for supporting us in later life with age-related decline in cognitive functioning, and with age-related illnesses such as dementia.
3. Process emotions and reduce stress
We can use creativity as a tool to help process emotions and feelings, allowing us to feel less weighed down by our emotions and to make sense of our internal world. An example of this is therapeutic art making, where creativity is used to support the exploration of our minds, expressing our emotions and feelings in a way that is constructive and safe. Journaling or automatic writing is another powerful tool which anyone can use to help untangle their thoughts - by externalising the emotions and thoughts we have going on inside of us by writing them down on the page, we are able to make sense of our feelings and release heavy emotions, bringing about a greater sense of wellbeing and calm.
4. Improve the functioning of the immune system
Creativity has been found to boost our immune systems - one study found that listening to music can help to restore the effective functioning in the immune system because of the engagement of certain regions of the brain, particularly the amygdala and hypothalamus. These brain regions are important for the regulation of mood and hormonal processes, and also play a role in the body’s inflammatory response.
It’s clear to see there are a whole host of benefits to getting creative. But, as adults with responsibilities and to-do lists, it can feel like we simply don’t have the time anymore to take up a creative outlet or hobby. We are proud to offer our community a range of creative workshops and events to support your health and wellbeing, giving you an opportunity to get creative, try something new, and ultimately feel amazing in the process.
Join us on Sunday 28th May for a Watercolour Painting Workshop with local floral illustrator, Amanda from Amanda Kirk Designs (https://amandakirkdesigns.com/). In this workshop we will experiment with the medium of watercolour paints and create floral designs, focusing on lavender and roses.
Diana - a local printmaking artist and illustrator - is leading a Linocut Printmaking Workshop on Saturday 3rd June. We will connect with the seasons and nature by exploring the theme of midsummer through the medium of linocut printing, a form of relief printmaking. You can find her on social media here - https://www.instagram.com/dianacatchpole_art/?hl=en.
All materials for all creative workshops are provided and included in the ticket price. These workshops are open to absolutely anyone, you do not need any previous artistic experience or knowledge to take part. To book on to either of these workshops, head to the ‘Workshops & Courses’ section of our website.
Promoting Health Through Creativity: For professionals in health, arts and education, Therese Schmid (London: 2005) p16