Guest post submission by Jayna Nickert, MFT on behalf of Focus Essentials:
When your mental health is off it can have far-reaching effects on your mind, body, and life in general. You feel different, your thoughts tend to be more negative, and it feels like there’s something wrong inside your brain. You know these changes are affecting your thoughts, motivations, emotions, etc. Poor mental health can have a negative impact on relationships with family and friends, and even pose problems with school and work. Improving our mental health is something we should all strive for. Whether suffering from a disorder like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety—or simply under stress
—it can never hurt to have some lifestyle habits that are proactive in helping improve mental health and clarity.
Having outlets that make managing mental health easier is truly key for helping your mind stay healthy and operating at its most optimal level. Outlets like sports, yoga, regular exercise, hobbies, pets, and having a creative outlet are wonderful ways to help manage mental health. One of my favorite tools I like equipping my clients with for managing mental health is the use of a creative outlet. Creative outlets are wonderful ways to help anyone express themselves and process what they’re going through. They also offer a calming distraction that can have positive benefits on the brain. Some common creative outlets include:
Painting: With the variety of paints, canvases, inspirations, colors, and textures, the possibilities are endless. This is a creative outlet that can be very soothing for the mind, body, and soul. Not everyone is great at it, but that’s OK. As abstract, realistic or unique as your style of art is, let it be an expression of your inner-self.
Drawing: This is a great way to express your creativity. It only requires a pencil and some paper. Whether you’re sketching a masterpiece or drawing a picture of the life you desire, this practice can have far-reaching positive effects.
Adult Coloring Books: Those who aren’t so keen on painting or drawing may find that adult coloring books offer them the chance to create vibrant pictures without needing to have artistic talent. These can be very soothing and have been found to help improve mental health.
Making Music: Whether you’re writing lyrics, composing music, playing an instrument, singing, or mixing beats the act of making music is a wonderful creative outlet that’s easy to throw oneself into.
Creative Writing: What’s your story, or which story would you most like to create or tell? The possibilities are endless when it comes to the combination of a pen, paper, and your imagination (or maybe just a laptop and your imagination).
Journaling: Sometimes the best way to understand what we’re truly going through and process all that we have going on in our minds is to journal. Journaling can be as creative as you want it to be. You’re free to vent, share your secrets, record dreams, create poetry, or put your fantasies down on paper. It’s really whatever you want it to be.
Sculpting: This is such a fun outlet for anyone who likes to work with their hands and play with clay. Take anything you want and immortalize it (so long as it doesn’t break).
Scrapbooking: Think Pinterest but on paper. Scrapbooking can document the activities of your life, as well as your favorite things. As small or as big as they may be, you can always include a piece of them in your scrapbook to immortalize a moment of time in your life or simply express an aspect of yourself. With the popularity of new, nostalgic, polaroid cameras you can combine two creative outlets and really have a lot of fun with your scrapbooking.
Photography: There’s so much you can do with a camera. Whatever it is in life that inspires you, taking a picture of it that expresses these things can say 1,000 words with one snapshot. Get creative and play around with your camera, angles, lighting, etc.
Sewing: You could design and make your own clothes, or sew something simple like pillows. Whatever you feel like making out of some fabric and thread, you can do it, just put your mind and back into it.
Knitting or Crocheting: It can take a minute (and a whole lot of patience) to get either of these methods down, but once you get into the groove of it, it’ll just flow. You could make scarves, mittens, hats, sweaters, blankets, etc. and even give them away as presents. Or you can just keep them for yourself. Be careful though, this can be so addicting that the next thing you know your entire family and pets will all be sporting your creations.
Acting: Sometimes the best way to dig deep within yourself and express your deep seeded emotions is by playing another character who resonates with you. Connecting with a character or storyline and indulging in some make-believe—crafting the art of the dramatic—can be very healing.
Film Making: What kind of film would you make if you could create anything? Would you make a documentary? A sci-fi film? How about a dramatic short? The world is your oyster when you have the tools to represent your corner of it from your camera lens.
Makeup Artistry: Makeup can transform a person’s appearance and self-confidence. The art of makeup can become very intricate and is truly an art to be mastered. This can be a very therapeutic and soothing creative outlet to engage in. What’s even better is that this process is likely to have far-reaching mental health benefits on those who are blessed with receiving your talents.
Crafting: There are endless crafts you can put your creative energies into creating. From homemade soaps and candles to wreaths, jewelry, and cards, there is really no limit to what you can create and the lives you can touch with these creations.
DIY: Such a fun trend that can really liven up your home. DIY involves taking things that are old and revamping them with either a new paint finish or a complete renovation. There are so many possibilities with this hobby, and it can be fairly affordable resulting in expensive looking creations you can keep, gift, or sell.
Woodworking: If you like to work with your hands, woodworking just may be a hobby you find you enjoy. There are so many great, unique things you can make out of wood with the right tools and a bit of practice.
Culinary Arts: Cooking can be a very soothing activity to engage in. Whether you’re creating an extravagant dinner, baking snacks, or making some delicious comfort foods, there are endless possibilities and ingredients to use. You may even find yourself creating your own cookbook or menu.
Youtube Vlogging: These days nearly everyone has a Youtube channel. Whatever it is that you feel you can share with the world that the world needs, you can create a Youtube channel around it. What would you share with others if you had a platform to do so?
Podcasting: Do you have a passion for a specific niche, topic, or audience? You can create podcasts to share your unique perspective and knowledge (as well as that of your guests) with the world. What would you discuss if you were to create a podcast today?
Blogging: With the availability of free platforms on the internet to express yourself, anyone with a computer and internet connection can create their own blog. Your blog can focus on whatever topic or niche you choose. What type of information would you want to share on a blog for others to read?
Programming: If you’re computer savvy and able to do computer programming, there are a number of things you can do with this to express your creativity. From apps and games to mods, there are endless possibilities. What do you want to create digitally?
While these are all wonderful outlets for really letting your creative juices flow, conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder can hold us back from finding the motivation needed to start, and sometimes finish such creative ventures. This is why it can help to have a mental boost to get you started. Some may choose to take antidepressants or other medications, but with all of the side-effects and the extremely high percentages of people who feel no benefit from these, it’s recommended to look into adding a micronutrient supplement to your diet. Micronutrients contain everything our bodies and minds need to perform at their optimal levels. Extensive research has been done surrounding the benefit of taking such supplements to combat depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and even psychosis, and they work.
If you’re interested in giving your mind and body a bit of a boost, Focus Essentials has the most sophisticated and effective formula of micronutrients on the market today. I highly recommend giving it a try for a month to see how you feel. If you’re not experiencing the results you need to get you diving into your creative interests, you’ll get your money back.
What creative outlets do you prefer to use? Are there any that we’ve left out? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.