It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, or how old you are; everyone has the ability to be creative in one way or another. You might be inclined toward writing poetry or short stories, or maybe you are able to play a musical instrument. Perhaps your preference is dancing, or you enjoy creating artwork on old pieces of wood.
Whatever your interest, it’s important to know that creativity equates to health, as we know that making art in any form is good for you, physically, mentally, and emotionally. A recent article in Medical News Today indicated that artistic self-expression, whether pursued as a hobby or as a career improves our mental health, helps us deal with trauma, and can contribute to the “maintenance or reconstruction of a positive identity.”
Researchers have described in detail the significant impact of the visual arts on the health and welfare of individuals, including those dealing with chronic illness. Painting, pottery, textiles, drawing, and photography have been shown to “fill occupational voids and distract [patients from] thoughts of illness,”
“improve well-being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones,” “reduce depression,”
“Improve flow and spontaneity,” “increase social networking,” and “reduce stress and anxiety.”
Whether you intend to sell your products online as a business, organically grow your Instagram following with visual branding, or simply want to find ways to feel better mentally and emotionally, the creative arts can help you. Not sure where to get started? We have a few ideas for you here.
Adult Coloring Books.
Adult coloring has been around for decades, but has recently gotten mainstream attention and risen in popularity. While coloring in childhood focuses mostly on fine motor control and attention development, adult coloring is about alleviating stress and promoting pleasurable experiences that lead to increased happiness.
How does this happen? When you are in the “flow” of something, meaning you are completely absorbed and lose all sense of self and time, you automatically reduce anxiety, boost your mood, and slow your heart rate. Repetitive creative motions like knitting, coloring, or writing help activate glow, and when you succeed at creating a result, your brain is flooded with dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that increases motivation and happiness and lessens the stress of “adulting” all day long. Choose from one of the many best adult coloring books that include tattoo inspired, curse word calligraphy, and even intricate designs and try a wide range of media including colored pencils, pointed sharpie markers, and jelly pens.
The average person has in excess of 60,000 thoughts per day, and a creative activity such as diamond painting can help focus the mind and improve mental functioning. Such focused effort that also produces a creative work has been compared to meditation because it calms the brain and the body. Like gardening, sewing, and coloring, diamond painting releases dopamine, a natural antidepressant, reducing dress and stress and processing trauma. Like writing poetry, studies have found that art can help people manage their negative emotions to express trauma or experiences that they find too painful to put into words.
Diamond painting is an easy activity for both the young and the old. Like mosaics and paint-by-number, diamond painting uses tiny “diamond”-like gems to create colorful designs, pictures, and patterns. The application process involves three steps that are simultaneously meditative and relaxing. Most diamond kits come with fabric with a printed design chart, diamonds, an applicator tool, and a tub of wax. Diamond painting kits come in a wide range of sizes and styles, allowing creators of all skill levels and ages to find a project that can complete and enjoy.
Creativity goes beyond just making you happy. It can also be an effective treatment for patients with dementia. Creative engagement has been shown to not only reduce depression and isolation but can also help people with dementia tap back into their personalities and sharpen their senses. Connectivity between your left and right brain also means your cognitive functioning improves. Your left brain is responsible for motor functioning, and your right brain focuses on aesthetics.
Rock painting can be not only a fun activity but may also help you hone in on social connections. In recent years, the Kindness Rocks project has emerged as an opportunity to share your creativity with local groups all over the US. Find a rock, decorate it with combinations of paint, markers, and embellishments, and then hide these painted pretties all over your neighborhood. The goal of the project is to put a smile on the face of the finder, allowing you to not only benefit from the creative artwork itself but also connect with others who are sharing in the joy of your creation.
What are some visual art activities that beginners can enjoy? Feel free to share your ideas here.