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  • Writer's pictureAngela Belcher


The Vital Role of Creative Expression in Mental and Emotional Health

Creative expression is emotionally and mentally healthy and vitally essential to maintain well-being. What a person creates, and the medium they choose, 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. As Smyth & Noble (2015) note, “The process of expressing oneself is often more important than the finished product.”

The Benefits of Creative Expression

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). People are increasingly seeking more effective ways to manage stress and mental illness, and Western medicine’s traditional approach cannot keep up with the rising number of individuals needing treatment.

Creativity is stress-reducing and relaxing. It offers a temporary escape from responsibilities and pressure, providing 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) 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.”

Creativity’s Positive Impact on Health

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.” 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 that a session as short as 45 minutes resulted in “significant improvement in symptoms of stress, anxiety, mood, and creativity” among caregivers of cancer patients.

The Community and Social Benefits of Art

Art and creative expression are also essential parts of the community. Art satisfies the human need to belong to and identify with a group. 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.


Creative expression is a powerful tool for maintaining mental and emotional health. By engaging in creative activities, individuals can reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being. Whether through art therapy or personal creative outlets, the process of creation allows for the expression of emotions and thoughts in a way that words often cannot. Embracing creativity not only benefits individuals but also strengthens communities and fosters a sense of belonging and connection. Let's recognize the importance of creative expression and make it a regular part of our lives for better health and well-being.

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