The Happy Wellness Room
Creative expression is emotionally and mentally healthy and vitally essential to maintain well-being. What a person creates, and the medium they chose, is not nearly as important as their personal expressions of their thoughts and emotions. Because the expression of self is person-centered instead of symptom- or condition-centered, virtually everyone can benefit from some form of creativity, including those with severe mental illnesses, diseases, or disorders. The essential part of creativity is the process itself: seeing the goal, choosing the medium, applying the techniques needed to achieve the goal, and following through to completion; “The process of expressing oneself is often more important than the finished product” (Smyth & Noble, 2015, Creative Therapies section). The aim of art therapy is to elicit processes of change, development, and acceptance, using art in a purposeful and methodical way in the treatment of psychosocial problems and mental disorders. (Schouten, et. al., 2015, Introduction)
People are looking for more effective ways to help manage stress and mental illness, and Western medicine’s archaic approach cannot keep up with the rise in numbers of those who need treatment and go without it.
Creativity is stress-reducing and relaxing. It offers a temporary escape from responsibilities and pressure, a way to take a mental vacation and recharge. Creativity helps those suffering from mental and emotional illness, PTSD, and stress; it helps people achieve and maintain their well-being while also connecting and communicating with others. Art therapy, creative outlets, and creativity are vital for people to express themselves, their emotions, and their thoughts (Ceausu, 2018). Ceausu also claims “one of the basic needs of people is to express what they feel. Art, like any other technique used for artistic expression, cannot be separated from emotions” (p. 204). Dayna Wood (2014), the founder of Integrative Counsel, expands on this concept by explaining, “the very act of creating… reduces anxiety, depression and pain, decreases blood pressure, strengthens immune functioning and improves attention and concentration” (Creativity & the Brain, Creative Expression). Creative outlets facilitate the release of stress that builds up during necessary activities and day-to-day responsibilities. In a 2019 study, Kaimal (2019) explained a session as short as 45 minutes resulted in “significant improvement in symptoms of stress, anxiety, mood, and creativity” among caregivers of cancer patients (p.150).
Art and creative expression are also an essential part of the community. Art satisfies the human need to belong to and identify with a group (Ceausu, 2018). The effects of shared art spread like ripples in a pond, touching everyone connected to that individual and the art made. Creative outlets are an integral part of society and help us feel more comfortable with like-minded people and help us communicate with those who are not. Creativity is essential for individuals, families, groups, communities, and cultures.