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Today, October 10, is “World Mental Health Day” – a day that is designed to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world.  This year more than ever it seems that many of us are dealing with mental health issues – and while for some of us these issues may be “minor”, they can still rob us of happiness and result in stress, lost productivity, and physical health issues.

I’d like to talk a little about the importance of CREATIVITY with regards to mental health today.  Scientific studies have shown that being creative helps decrease depressive symptoms, increase positive emotions, reduce stress responses, and, in some cases, even improve immune system functioning.  Who doesn’t want to have an improved immune system right now!!

According to Psychology Today, “One of the most compelling studies was recently conducted by the Mayo Clinic and proposed that people who engage in art activities (painting, drawing and sculpting; crafts, like woodworking, pottery, ceramics, quilting and sewing) in middle and old age may delay cognitive decline in very old age.”  That’s right – in addition to helping fight depression & stress and boost your immune system, creativity is really good for your brain!

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – who coined the term ‘Flow’ – argues that our best moments occur when ‘a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile’.  Throughout history, some of the most successful people have found creative hobbies to be an effective way to deal with stress and to “stretch” their brains. Winston Churchill painted regularly during his time in office, and felt expressing himself artistically proved the ideal way to combat the stresses of a world war. Albert Einstein played both the piano and the violin throughout his career as a physicist, while poet Emily Dickinson was also an accomplished baker.

You know what else is really good for your brain? Being in a community of other creative people!

“A lot of artists work solitary—but when you’re learning or working in a group, a group energy happens. There’s comfort and excitement when people are working on similar activities. A bond occurs.”  says Margaret Carlock-Russo, an art therapist.

These days, working in a group is happening “virtually,” for example with our Silver Linings and FaLaLa Sew Alongs.  In addition to these Sew Alongs, the Members of The Art of Home Club are also sharing their Club projects in our private Facebook group, and making pin cushions that are then being swapped with other members.  Even though these group activities are happening online, they can still be powerful and therapeutic.  If you are interested in a new avenue for creativity, we will be opening up The Art of Home Club next week for new members – click here to get on our waiting list and get some special bonuses!

So next time you think you don’t have time to be creative, realize that you don’t have time not to be creative. Your body and your brain (and your loved ones!) will thank you.

(More information about Creativity and Mental Health here.)