Mental health is incredibly important, no matter who you are, where you’re from, or how busy you are. A creative hobby, ranging from art to photography, can do wonders for your mental and physical health. But why pick up a creative hobby specifically? Are the benefits worth the time?
The Many Mental Health Benefits of Having a Creative Hobby
Picking up a creative hobby is difficult, especially if you have no prior experience with art. However, these 7 mental health benefits you’ll receive may encourage you to pick one up.
1. Creative Hobbies Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Working on a creative project can take your mind off things that may be bothering you and replace it with something that’s much more calming and therapeutic. This is why creative hobbies are frequently used as stress relief for people who have depression or anxiety.
Connecting with the creative process helps the body produce hormones and neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and oxytocin. These reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall mood. Additionally, creativity has been found to increase focus, even in individuals with ADHD.
2. Creative Hobbies Boost Physical Health
Our physical health is influenced by our mental health. When we’re constantly under stress, we can develop physical symptoms like an upset stomach, headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain. When our physical health stresses us out, we create an unhealthy feedback loop.
As long as you’re aware of your posture as you’re drawing and you compensate for a chronic illness that could make an artistic hobby painful, your creative hobby won’t hurt you physically. In fact, the positive feelings you get from your hobby may reduce chronic pain symptoms.
3. Creative Hobbies Enhance Self-Expression
Having a creative hobby can act as an outlet for expressing yourself, allowing you to uncover and communicate emotions, thoughts, and feelings that you’ve hidden inside. A 2016 study found that spending time on creative goals daily is associated with improved expression.
Whether you’re working on creating custom photo books or a beautiful painting, you’ll likely notice a boost in your self-confidence and self-esteem. Taking on challenges and developing a creative skill can help you feel more fulfilled, which makes it easier for you to express emotions.
4. Creative Hobbies Improve Productivity
Getting creative helps to improve our ability to think outside the box and be more imaginative. This boosts our capacity to look at problems differently and come up with more innovative and effective solutions. An improved ability to solve problems naturally makes us more productive.
Harnessing creativity and turning it into something constructive can increase productivity while at the same time reducing cognitive barriers. The accomplishment of completing a creative project can leave you feeling more positive and better motivated to tackle other tasks.
5. Creative Hobbies Connect You to Others
Spending time with our hobbies is one of the best ways to destress after a long day, but these benefits are multiplied if you’re connecting with others at the same time. Fortunately, being creative can also be a great way to connect with other people with the same kinds of interests.
Participating in group activities, such as an art class or music group, can help you to build relationships with like-minded people. If you’re someone who’s interested in business, you can use your hobby to connect with your coworkers or network with professionals outside of work.
6. Creative Hobbies Can Improve Memory
Study upon study suggests that having a creative hobby can be beneficial to brain health. Regularly engaging in creative activities helps keep the brain sharp and improves its ability to recall and process information more quickly. It may even combat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Creative activities also help to build brain resilience, which is important in times of distress, mourning, or significant change. Drawing upon creative problem-solving capabilities during difficult times can be a great way to bounce back with a newfound strength and determination.
7. Creative Hobbies Help Develop Life Skills
Creativity isn’t just used to produce artwork—it can be used to enhance any life skill, such as finance, communication, organization, and so on. Using a creative approach can make conquering challenges easier, helping you to learn and grow with much greater ease.
On that note, creative hobbies can even positively impact job performance. If you’re creative, you’re more likely to help other workmates accomplish their tasks. Creative hobbies also help you recharge outside of work, which helps you recover faster for your next work day.
Engaging in creative activities can help to reduce stress and anxiety, keep the brain sharp, and increase self-confidence. It can also help you to connect with new people, develop life skills, and improve problem-solving capabilities. So why not give a new creative hobby a try?