For those of us who are creatives, we create to live and live to create. The benefits for us are usually obvious but what about people who create only as an avocation or to heal from suffering? I believe that the therapeutic benefits are unmistakable.
In my work as a Health and Wellness Teacher, I have seen the benefits first hand with mentally ill clients. In addition to teaching clients about stress management, meditation and positive psychology I facilitated an art group at a mental health clinic in Phoenix for over three years. People attended to create jewelry, paint, sculpt, draw, collage and some other endeavors.
Even in the midst of emotional turmoil, my clients found a haven from the storms of their illnesses whilst engaging in flow activities that helped them. To see participants find the mindfulness of creativity was inspiring. When people returned week after week to the art group, I could see progress in their emotional resilience.
It’s hard to quantify the psychological and physiological benefits of creative engagement, but studies done on mindfulness have shown indisputable evidence that mindful activities along with meditation lower blood pressure, cortisol levels, tension and emotional distress.
As someone who’s contended with bipolar for the majority of my life, I can attest to the benefits of art and creating. When my depression and anxiety kick in, I find peace and energetic flow in painting, drawing, graphic design, writing or creating music on my guitar or computer. Without the emotional and creative outlets, I would undoubtedly fall much deeper into a pit of despair. Art helps me to shift the freight train of darkness onto a new course of healing.