The Benefits of Creative Expression

Creative expression is one of the greatest abilities we possess. When we create things of artistic value, we can uplift our own spirits as well as the spirits of others. We are able to bring our imaginations and intuitions to life through what we create, and we certainly need not fear doing it “badly.” In the 21st century, abstract and avant-garde art is perfectly legitimate, so any attempt you make at artistic expression is valid and meaningful.

There exist art therapists, music therapists, drama therapists and like. It is well-recognized that using the arts can enrich the lives of patients. While clinical psychiatric interventions reign as the norm in mental health care, art therapy helps to humanize these services.

Art classes in schools also serve this same purpose of enhancing the experience of students. Arts education can aid in raising test scores, and playing musical instruments can help with developing motor skills. Learning songs from around the world encourages students to embrace cultural values other than their own.

Here's a more detailed look at some of the benefits:

Manage stress

Integrating creativity in your life can reverse the negative effects of emotional stress. It allows for you to slow down from life’s daily grind, and you can progress at a pace which is comfortable for you.

In order to understand the consequences of stress, it is important to know about the stress response overall and why it occurs. In earlier times, the stress response served a useful purpose as a tool for survival, activating as a fight-or-flight response. For example: if you found yourself in the woods, being attacked by a bear, the stress response would kick in to try and ensure your survival. The body releases a hormone called cortisol, which prompts this response. Once the threat passes, cortisol is no longer produced and the person relaxes again.

However, if stress remains for the long term, a person can overproduce cortisol.   This negatively impacts your physical health in many ways. It can affect your ability to learn, and cause compromised immunity and bone density. It also can lead to weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and also cause depression. Therefore, creativity in your life can improve your levels of both emotional and physical stress.

Confidence

First and foremost, the joy of creating needs to come from within, with any hope of recognition being merely secondary. As you develop your craft, you can learn more about yourself in the process. Your sense of resiliency can become stronger, and your outlook on life can become more positive and empowered.

Experience personal freedom

As you pursue a creative endeavor, you develop your sense of individuality. Instead of feeling forced into trying to blend in with the people around you, artistic expression allows for you to stand out amongst others. As others notice your work, you may experience praise and encouragement. This further affirms that you should pursue your discipline.

Feelings of pride

If you devote yourself to a specific discipline for an extended period of time, you can develop a body of work and/or a set of skills that you can be proud of, thereby helping you to feel accomplished and confident. You also can learn more about yourself and your personal style as you develop your skills

Develop problem solving skills

The process of improving in weak areas requires the ability to problem solve. Problem solving improves your creative skills, and this can lead to confidence that enables you to problem solve in other areas of life as well.

Learning to forgive your mistakes

There is an amount of risk required in creative expression. Inevitably with creating, there are times when you will make mistakes. It may feel discouraging in these moments, but mistakes serve as opportunities for learning. Over time, you develop a higher tolerance for accepting criticism and forgiving yourself.

Communicating your personal values

Creativity can become an opportunity for you to communicate your values and worldview. Perhaps you are inspired by your religion or spirituality, and you want others to feel this as well. Maybe you have a strong political opinion, and you can create work that represents your beliefs. You also can express your interests overall. You may like superheroes and creating fan art around this.  This can help you feel like your work serves a certain purpose.

Socialize and find friends with similar interests

Having a creative interest also allows for you to branch out and find people who share the same interests. Groups can be found on Meetup.com, and there are also themed Facebook groups where people discuss related matters or work on creative projects together. This can motivate and provide encouragement, leading to potential friendships. You can also offer your talents as gifts for others to enjoy, thereby strengthening the friendships you already have.

Experience happiness as you create

Many who have a creative passion report that they lose sense of time as they create. They enter a realm where the inspiration flows, and immense satisfaction and happiness emerges. As you become more skilled, you learn to create work at a faster rate. This allows for the perception of time to slow down and expand.

Develop a sense of humility

Some creative people report a sense of wonder regarding what they create. Some do not entirely take credit for their work, but instead report that they serve as a conduit through which creative expression flows. This can imply a spiritual realm, but not necessarily.

Improved focus

The mental process of pursuing creative endeavors also improves your ability to focus at a high level. This is certainly a mental exercise! You also can become committed to continue learning throughout your entire life, instead of feeling like you “know everything there is to know.” An attitude of humility can also emerge where you recall your mistakes and acknowledge that you have worked hard for what you have accomplished.

There are many different types of creative disciplines that you can take up and explore. Below is a brief list:

Writing

Writing helps you get the thoughts in your mind down onto paper, and can be a release for mental chatter. You can journal about your feelings and day-to-day activities, write creatively with poetry and/or stories, and also blog online and share your work for others to read.

Visual Art

There are many styles of art you can create, and also many forms of media you can use beyond that of a paint brush or pencils. This includes collaging, scrapbooking, taking photos, sculpture and pottery. If you feel shy with painting, wine and paint events are a fun and relaxed way to do some painting.

Music

Music is broadly defined as any creation of sound, and its most basic form is that of drumming. You can learn to play an instrument, try singing at karaoke bars, or create your own songs with a guitar and/or by using computer software.

Dance

Dance is related to music, in that you move your body to such sound. You can sign up for ballroom dancing classes at a local studio, or pursue other styles of dance such as tap, jazz and other modern styles. At studios, you can get opportunities to dance in performances.

Acting

Unleash your inner star! You can pursue theater acting or film acting. This can especially help with overcoming shyness.

Sewing

Making your own clothes with a sewing machine and fabric can allow you to create your own individual style. Knitting and crocheting also are ways to make clothing.  You can also do embroidery, sew pre-prepared needlepoint or latch hook rug designs, or even create quilts with a group of people where everyone contributes a square to the final piece.

Jewelry making

You can go to bead studios to create jewelry, or you can purchase your own materials to create jewelry. Working with metal to make rings and bangles is more complicated, but is a possibility nevertheless.

Cooking

Even cooking is a creative endeavor. You can elaborately prepare food and desserts, which can then be enjoyed at the table with others. This invites active socializing and friendship.

All of these suggestions are ideas on how you can tap into your inner sense of creativity to enhance your life. Creative expression gives life meaning, allowing us to transcend beyond the grind of day-to-day living. It also provides a sense of dignity and can enhance your sense of self-worth. What you create will be different from what others create, and so you will also be able to understand your sense of individuality. All of these benefits combined demonstrate the power of exercising creative expression.