Sunday, July 29, 2012

Creative Outlets and Depression


Today, I have noticed that I am in a bit more of a funk than usual. Then I started to examine what was happening in my life.  I am disappointed that my son won't be able to fly in for the weekend. And although that is impacting me to some extent, it isn't the end of the world. Physically, I'm much more fatigued then usual. Perhaps this is a clue. 

So what isn't happening because I'm too tired. Ah, I know. I'm not journaling, sketching, painting, cooking, knitting... I basically have not been having a creative outlet for the last couple of days.( I'll let you in on a secret. I write blogs on good days and program them to pop up on specific days). According to many psychologists:

 "Lack of a creative outlet has been shown to trigger many psychological states such as depression, stress and apathy"

I know that I always see an improvement in my mood when I do something creative even if it is coming up with a new dish in the kitchen. I didn't think of myself as a particularly creative person when I started this process. But truth be told looking back over my life, I have always been working on crafts. It is only because I was discouraged in the beginning that I never dabbled much in the fine arts. However, don't let the past dictate the future.  

It doesn't matter if you have never thought of yourself as a particularly creative person in order to express yourself. You don't have to create a masterpiece or a symphony; you don't have to share what you make with anyone. It is the act of expressing yourself and making something that comes out of your feelings or mood that can be helpful to you. 

Here are some creative outlets that you can try:

Writing: Multiple studies have shown that writing about the troubling events of life can help you to deal with your feelings. According to the  1999, Journal of Clinical Psychology, writing for 15 minutes per day for just three days, concerning a traumatic experience caused people to feeling happier. If you comfortable, you can share your writing with your therapist or someone you trust.

Painting: Get watercolors or acrylics, some brushes, an art pad of water color paper, or art board or canvas is all that is needed to begin painting.

Sketching: Grab an art pad, pencils, colored pencils, eraser, and perhaps charcoal and then pick your subject. Then you are ready to begin.

Music: If you use to play an instrument, now may be the time to dust off that instrument and start playing again. If you don't play an instrument, it might be the time to start learning an new instrument and take those lessons that you use to dream of. As for me, I need to get a new stand for my electric keyboard so that I can begin playing more consistently. Balancing on a chair is too difficult.

Photography: Cameras are so much easier to operate than they use it be. Even a beginner (like me) can get some great pictures. If you have a digital camera and/or a computer, it can be fun to use some unique editing. With some cameras you can even make movies.

Other Activities: How I lit my creative flame was through collage. It took the pressure off me of having to draw or write (I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist). After I did this for a while I began to feel comfortable with my art. I then started to branch out into other things like scarpbooking, writing poetry, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, and creative cooking.

Just the other day I was at my friends gallery watching him work. He is a fine artist and he was adding a bit of collage to his work. I was surprised to see this in a fine artist but his work is outstanding. It gave me hope that even on days that when I participate in collage, I am really working on art.

Remember it is the artistic outlet that is important not necessarily the end result. The materials for your projects don't necessarily have to be expensive. I've gotten lovely yet inexpensive sketch books and journals on sale at Barnes and Nobles. Below you'll see my friend, Frieman's, creation made from recycle trash that he made as a requirement for an art class. Explore your creative side; let your inner child play. And who knows you might discover a hidden talent. 

A piece of art Frieman Stolzfus made using collage and recycled materials


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