Creative Expression is Not Just a Nice-to-have—It’s Essential!
April 5, 2023
We all know how it feels to be lonely, and it’s not a pleasant experience. Human beings are social creatures by nature, and authentically connecting with others provides us with a sense of belonging and a deeper understanding of the world around us. But, connection is not always easy. At The Foundation for Art & Healing, we know that creative expression is an eye-opening path to connection. Although appreciated throughout human history, in modern times, it has often been overlooked.
Do you love getting lost in a painting, humming along to your favorite song, or jotting down your thoughts in a journal? Well, here’s some great news—not only is it enjoyable, but it’s actually good for your brain and your relationships! Creative expression can help you feel more connected to yourself and those around you, leading to improved mental health and a boost in self-esteem.
Get Creative to Boost Your Mental Health and Feel Connected
Our ability to think outside the box and come up with unique ideas stems from the dynamic interplay between two important brain regions—the hippocampus and default network. The hippocampus allows us to piece together experiences, whether that’s reminiscing about the past or imagining exciting possibilities for the future. Meanwhile, the default network is a part of the brain activated during passive or spontaneous activities. When these two brain regions work together, we’re able to spontaneously generate new ideas and then analyze them critically.
The theory of cognition proposes that creativity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s an essential part of what makes us human. Being creative can help us combat feelings of depression and isolation, as well as give us a better sense of ourselves and our emotions. Our signature initiative, Project UnLonely focuses on the transformative power of creative expression in all its forms, including art, writing, and music.
Be UnLonely through Art, Writing, and Music
Did you know that artistic self-expression can actually help you build a stronger sense of self and work through complex emotions? By tapping into your artistic side, you can express feelings and emotions that are sometimes too hard to put into words. When you let your creative juices flow, you can reduce anxiety and stress, and improve your overall well-being. You don’t even need to be an artist to benefit from art. Simply immersing yourself in art can have a positive impact on your brain! Viewing art that you find beautiful increases blood flow to the brain, producing a “pleasure” response which makes you feel great.
Expressive writing has been shown to enhance our health and happiness in many ways. For example, studies have shown that writing can be beneficial in controlling and reducing the severity of pain, and in alleviating depression. When you’re writing, all parts of your brain are actively engaged. Through writing, we can uncover deeper truths about ourselves and connect with others through shared experiences.
Like art and writing, music is another powerful tool that can bring people together. It also promotes trust, empathy and stress relief. In fact, listening to music releases oxytocin in the brain, a hormone that plays a key role in promoting positive social bonds and helping us feel more calm and relaxed.
Forging meaningful connections through creative expression can help us create a happier and healthier future. Check out our Project UnLonely webpage to learn more about how we’re using creative expression to empower people and communities to connect with each other.
Find research studies, articles, media placements, and editorial content that demonstrate how art serves as a catalyst for improved health.
Human Storytelling and Creative Expression
Throughout our history, humans have been driven by the urge to create and express themselves. Creative expression allow us to share our stories, helping us to relate to one another, understand the world around us, and feel less alone.
Feeling Alone at Work?
COVID-19 has drastically altered our workplaces, and feelings of loneliness and disconnection at work have surged. With working from home and seemingly endless nonstop screen time, how connected do you feel to your colleagues?
Mindfulness: A Powerful Tool for Connection
Getting creative is not only enjoyable, it’s good for your brain and your relationships! Creative expression can help you feel more connected to yourself and those around you, leading to improved mental health and a boost in self-esteem.
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Explore the resources we provide to help spark creativity and improve well-being.