Drawing, painting, music and writing are all enjoyable creative pastimes that can make us feel good. Creativity is more than just lifting our mood, however, as many studies show that engaging in creative activities can also support and improve our mental health.
In this article, we’ll explain how creative activities can boost your mental health and discover apps that can help you tap into your creativity.
How Creativity Can Boost Your Health: The Science
Creativity can be beneficial to our mental and physical well-being, he said Medical News Today. Activities such as art, writing, dance and music can help with self-expression, cope with trauma, manage negative emotions, ease anxiety, and even support our immune system.
Practices such as reference art and music therapy (non-verbal therapy methods) are also effective in helping to treat trauma, anxiety and mood disorders, to name just a few benefits.
If you want to take up a new creative hobby or learn how your current hobby benefits your well-being, then these creative activities and apps might be just what you want. Thanks to our wonderful world of technology, you can enjoy the following creative activities anywhere on your phone, tablet or desktop.
There’s a reason the trend of adult coloring books has taken off so well. Coloring is a calming activity that can help your brain and body relax, inducing a state similar to meditation in that it reduces the racing thoughts of a restless mind.
You will find a lot awesome coloring book apps on android, but one of the best to support your mental health is Color Therapy. Free on iOS, Color Therapy allows users to paint by numbers or color in pictures freely while listening to a relaxing jukebox playlist. It’s also a social app, which means you can follow and connect with other artists and even participate in coloring challenges.
Download: Color therapy for iOS (Free in-app purchases available)
A study published in 2010 PubMed Central found clear indications that engaging in artistic activities has significantly positive effects on our health. Art gives us a way to express things that we may find too difficult to put into words.
Drawing can also help relieve stress, enhance our creativity and raise our self-esteem, making it a great creative pastime for our mental well-being. If you want to explain websites that teach you how to draw well or simply grab a pad and pencil and sketch, drawing activities can support and improve your mental health.
Sketchbook is an expressive drawing app accessible to all abilities. It is widely available on desktop, mobile and tablet. The free version of the Sketchbook app (available on Android and iOS) provides many styles of pencils, pens and brushes, and is quite easy to use with just your finger, without the need for a stylus.
Download: Sketchbook for Android | iOS (Free in-app purchases available)
3. Creative Writing
Creative writing isn’t just for published authors; is for everyone who is looking for an expressive way to look after their mental health. A study by the Association for Psychological Science explains that when people write about emotional experiences, this can have a significant improvement in their physical and mental health, and can be used to help process trauma.
Not only can creative writing help you express your thoughts and feelings, but it can boost your self-esteem and mood. By creating a fictional world or characters, you can explore themes or feelings that might be challenging, or you can just find a fun way to express them.
Starting or maintaining a writing habit can be difficult, however, which can often happen due to a lack of inspiration. Also, writing should not be an isolated discipline – it goes hand in hand with reading. The more you read, the more inspiration you will gain, along with an understanding of what makes a good story.
Wattpad is a free storytelling platform that combines writing and reading in one place. It’s a great place to try out new ideas, plots and characters and connect with other like-minded writers.
Download: Wattpad for Android | iOS (Free in-app purchases available)
4. Play an Instrument
A study by St. John Fisher University reveals that playing a musical instrument can help strengthen the connection and coordination between the left side (motor functions) and the right side (creativity) of the brain. This means that playing an instrument can support children’s brain development, but it can also improve cognitive abilities at any age.
In addition to this, music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based practice that uses musical interventions to help individuals reach their specific goals in therapy. Techniques used by certified professionals can include stress management, improved communication, better memory and pain relief, among other benefits.
Tools can be expensive, but luckily they exist musical skills you can learn online for free, with or without an instrument. Learning to beatbox, for example, is a fun way to learn how to use your voice to imitate drum sounds.
If you want to pick up a new tool, try Yousician. You can learn guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, or sing through step-by-step video guides designed by music teachers. It’s the closest you can get to being taught by a real teacher, and the app can provide feedback on your performance by recording your playing.
Download: Yousic for Android | iOS (Free in-app purchases available)
As with many other creative activities, dancing is an excellent way to express yourself and lift your mood. It can raise your self-esteem, release endorphins, reduce stress, increase your confidence and improve cognitive function.
Dancing in a group or with a partner can also help build connections and gain a sense of belonging. But if you feel shy, it’s easy to enjoy dancing in the privacy of your home. You can try a fun online dance classplay dance games on your favorite console, or try a dance app.
If you want to dance for fun without pressure, then Just Dance Now is ideal. It is a popular rhythm game that offers a robust library of songs, with varied choreography difficulties to suit all levels. Free on Android and iOS, it’s a great way to dance like no one is watching.
Download: Just Dance Now for Android | iOS (Free in-app purchases available)
Heal your mental health through creativity
Being creative is not necessarily about what you create; it’s also about how you feel when you participate in these activities. If you want to take care of your mental health through creative activities, but don’t know where to start, try exploring the ideas above. Give yourself time and space to find and enjoy creativity without judgment or pressure to produce something.