Drawing, colouring, playing music and writing are all fun creative pastimes that can make us feel good. Creativity does more than just lift your mood, as many studies show that engaging in creative activities can also support and improve our mental health.
In this article, we will explain how creative activities can boost your mental health and explore 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, according to Medical News Today. Activities such as art, writing, dancing, and playing music can help with self-expression, deal with trauma, manage negative emotions, relieve anxiety, and even support our immune system.
Practices such as reference art and music therapy (non-verbal therapy methods) are also effective in helping treat trauma, anxiety, and mood disorders, to name a few.
If you’ve been wanting to pick up a new creative hobby or see how your current hobby benefits your well-being, these creative activities and apps might be just what you’re looking for. 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 adult coloring book trend has taken off successfully. Coloring is a calming activity that can help your mind and body relax, bringing about a state similar to meditation in that it reduces the racing thoughts of a restless mind.
You’ll find tons of great coloring book apps on Android, but one of the best apps to support your mental health is color therapy. Free on iOS, Color Therapy allows users to freely draw by numbers or color in pictures while listening to a playlist of relaxing music. It’s also a social app, which means you can follow and connect with other artists as well as participate in coloring challenges.
Download: Color Therapy for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
A 2010 study published in PubMed Central found clear indications that engaging in artistic activities has significant positive effects on our health. Art gives us a way to express ourselves or things that might be hard for us to put into words.
Drawing can also help relieve stress, boost our creativity, and raise our self-esteem, making it a great creative hobby for our mental well-being. Whether you want to explore websites that teach you how to draw well or simply grab a pad and pencil and get a sketch, drawing activities can support and improve your mental health.
Sketchbook is an expressive drawing app for all abilities. It is widely available on desktop, mobile and tablet. The free version of the Sketchbook app (available on both Android and iOS) offers plenty of pencil styles, pens, and strokes, and is easy enough to use with just your finger—no stylus required.
Download: Sketchbook for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
3. Creative writing
Creative writing isn’t just for published authors; It is for anyone looking for an expressive way to take care of their mental health. A study from the Association for Psychological Science shows 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 does creative writing help you express your thoughts and feelings, but it can also boost your self-esteem and mood. By creating a fictional world or characters, you can explore topics or feelings that might be challenging, or you can simply find a fun way to express yourself.
It can be challenging to start or maintain a writing habit, which can often be caused by a lack of inspiration. In addition, writing should not be a single discipline – it goes hand in hand with reading. The more you read, the more inspiration you’ll 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 test out new ideas, plots, and characters and connect with other like-minded writers.
Download: Wattpad for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
4. Playing a musical instrument
A study from St. John Fisher University revealed that playing a musical instrument can help strengthen communication and coordination between the left (motor functions) and right (creativity) side of the brain. This means that playing a musical instrument can support the development of children’s brains, but it can also improve cognitive abilities at any age.
Furthermore, music therapy is an evidence-based clinical practice that uses musical interventions to help individuals reach their specific treatment goals. Techniques used by certified professionals can include stress management, improved communication, memory improvement, and pain relief, among other benefits.
Musical instruments can be expensive, but luckily there are musical skills you can learn online for free, with or without an instrument. Learning how to beat the drums, for example, is a fun way to learn how to use your voice to mimic the sounds of the drums.
If you want to pick a new instrument, try Yousician. You can learn guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, or vocals with our step-by-step video guides designed by music teachers. It’s as close as it gets to being taught by a real teacher, and the app can provide feedback on your performance by recording your gameplay.
Download: Yousician for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
As with many other creative activities, dancing is an excellent way to express yourself and boost 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 you build relationships and gain a sense of belonging. But if you’re feeling shy, it’s easy to enjoy dancing in the privacy of your own home. You can try a fun dance class online, play dance games on your favorite console, or try out a dance app.
If you want to dance for fun without any stress, Just Dance Now is the perfect choice. It’s a popular rhythm game that offers a solid library of songs, with different choreographed difficulties to suit all levels. Free on Android and iOS, it’s a great way to dance like no one’s watching.
Download: Just Dance Now for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Take care of your mental health through creativity
Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean what you make of it; It is 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 above ideas. Give yourself the time and space to find and enjoy creativity without judgment or pressure to produce something.