Creative expressions are powers of creating or being productive. Stress decreases your productivity, but expressing your thoughts and emotions through creative expressions can help you to combat stress. There are multiple examples of creative expressions including photography, knitting, quilting, painting and crafting. Creative expressions are also being used as a part of a management strategy for various emotional, behaviors, mental and physical health problems. According to the Canadian Art Therapy Association: “Using imagery, color, and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.”
How does it work?
It works using the mechanism of mental distraction, making you focus more on the present rather than the past or future. Creative expressions are used as stress relievers in the same manner as music, gardening, and meditation. It also increases the level of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which makes us feel happy! At the end of the therapeutic exercise you have created something such as a photograph, a quilt, or a note card – which in itself is rewarding.
Here are some simple tips to get you started:
- De-clutter to destress. Try to find stuff in your house that you do not need anymore. It can be anything: old CDs, old clothes, or paper!
- Try to identify your interests. Go back when you were a child: what did you like the most in those days?
- Once you have recognized your interest it is a good idea to practice your hobby with some of the old stuff you have found in your house. You can use this channel on YouTube as a kick-start. It can help you pin down your interest and find ideas to re-use these products. Do not feel limited, though; you can have multiple interests at the same time!
We’re feeling crafty!
How can you add creative expressions to your day?
- Initially try to set a side ten minutes. Pick the least stressful time of your day and start off small. Maybe it’s one row of knitting or three strokes of painting. Start low and go slow.
- Once you are comfortable with your start, you can set aside more time for your activity.
- Remember, your goal is to destress – you do not have to be perfect! All you need is freedom of expression and creativity. Check out this website for some great exercises to get you started!
Let us know about your favorite creative expression and how you are using it to destress! Leave it in the comments or on Twitter @destresslondon.