Five ideas for using creativity to beat stress
The world is changing rapidly at the moment and adjusting to our ever-changing normals can be a daunting task. The best thing we can do is try to reduce our feelings of stress as much as we can. To get slightly scientific, our stress hormones are essential. Our brains recognise feelings of stress and release cortisol (a stress hormone) which triggers the flight or fight mode. This is an important response, it’s something our brains have learnt to keep us safe in times of danger. Our brains are very clever right? Unfortunately this response kicks in even in circumstances we have no control over. For example we could read a scary news story and it’ll kick in even though our body is in no immediate danger. If we’re constantly being exposed to news stories and other things that make us feel stressed this response starts to take its toll on our immune systems. Our sleep and our blood pressure to name a few. The best thing we can do to help ourselves chill out is to stay present. Focus on the here and now, this exact moment that you’re in is all there is. By doing a creative activity and pouring your energy into that it’ll help you to stay grounded and feel calmer.
We’ve put together a list of creative outlets to relieve stress to hopefully spark some inspiration.
If you play an instrument, pick it up! Play a piece you’ve always loved or learn something completely new and out of your comfort zone. Listening to music and singing along can be so beneficial too. Similarly to when the brain releases cortisol when we’re stressed, when we sing an upbeat, happy song or simply a love song, the brain releases oxytocin which makes us feel good.
Painting, drawing and colouring
If you’re an artistic person at heart and maybe life has had you too busy to pick up and pencil or paintbrush in a while. There is no time like the present and what better reason to create something beautiful than for your own mental health? Taking your time on a piece and concentrating on each single brush stroke prevents your mind from wandering on to other topics and gradually slows any adrenaline or anxiety caused by stress.
Make up a game with your kids
The kids are at home a lot. We’ve come to terms with that. But they needn't be added little stress monsters in our day to day lives. We can learn a lot from our children, they are naturally creative and inventive. Have you ever watched a kid play for hours with virtually nothing but their imagination? There’s a reason they are so carefree, they are lost in their own little world. When we play along with a pretend scenario or a game that they’ve created themselves it also offers us a brief escape too.
Not just typing into your phone. Putting pen to paper is scientifically proven to relieve stress as you're essentially emptying your head onto the page allowing your fears and concerns to leave your mind. Writing is also a great way to get creative. What format do you like to write in? Do you like to tell a story? Do you do a bullet journal? Or maybe you like writing songs. (If you find a rhyme for pandemic we’ll be impressed!)
The great thing about taking photographs is you don't necessarily need to go and explore a new location. Take a walk around your bedroom or back garden and see what inspires you. This is great because by doing this you’re actively looking for the beauty in your everyday environment. Then with your chosen subject why not have some fun editing them in a way you’ve never tried before?
We hope you found these ideas helpful.
We always love to see the fruits of your creative labours over on our instagram page at @letterfestgifts
Stay safe, calm and happy! x