Doodle your way to a happier life

3 minutes reading time

Over the past year or so, we’ve made big progress in the UK on raising awareness of mental health issues.  Some high-profile celebrities and royals have openly talked about their struggles and put their weight behind campaigns to help put mental health in the spotlight.

We now know that self-care isn’t selfish, and that it’s crucial we take time to nurture our mental health every day.  It’s okay to speak out if you’re finding things difficult, to seek help if you need it, and to build me-time into your daily routine.  If we don’t look after ourselves, it’s impossible for us to take care of those around us.

Getting creative with your mental health

Doing something creative is a really good form of mindfulness; a way to just be in the moment, focus on a single thing and put aside your worries for a bit.  It’s an easy way to just immerse yourself completely in something that will help you to find focus, clarity and calm.

Using the creative side of your brain is known to generate positive energy, or in laymans terms, happiness!  And what’s even better is that positive energy generates more creativity, so it’s a self-fulfilling cycle of healthy thinking.

Creating the everyday

Taking a little time out to do something creative every day is a brilliant way of topping up your mental health.  You don’t need to be an arty-type or expert crafter to get creative.  It’s about opening your mind to trying new things, exploring new ideas and getting stuck into something.  The end result doesn’t really matter. It’s the process that counts.

Here are 5 easy ways you can get the creative juices flowing:

1.      Make time for daydreaming

Create a corner or quiet space where you can go to just think.  Just 10 minutes a day of imagining, relaxing and dreaming will kick-start your creativity.

Being by yourself for a bit, will not only help you switch off from stress and distraction, but it’s also when you’re most likely to be inspired to think creatively. Why not warm up with a bit of doodling or colouring to get your brain focused.

2.      Go with the flow

There is no such thing as perfect, so there is no need to expect your creative output to be of any particular standard. As adults, we’re particularly good at being critical of our own creative efforts and talking ourselves out of doing things that we think we aren’t any good at.

Instead of striving for perfection, enjoy the process of creation instead. Find a creative activity that matches your level of skill and challenges you enough that you don’t get bored.

3.      Try different things

The key to making creativity a daily habit is finding an activity that engages your brain, holds your interest and helps you to relax.  It isn’t always easy to find something that does all 3, so don’t be afraid of trying different things to see what you like.

Writing, painting, crafting, coding and photography all use completely different skills, but they all engage the brain creatively.  Find an activity that works for you.  Maybe set yourself a little daily creative challenge to kick things off, such as taking photos of interesting front doors on your daily commute, or doing a quick sketch of an everyday object.

4.      Get hands-on

We all spend far too much time on screens and electronic devices. Whilst this can give us access to a rich source of creative inspiration (e.g Pinterest for starters), it’s a woeful under-use of other senses, such as touch and smell.

Getting hands-on with something is a really good way of engaging your senses and inspiring new creative connections in your brain.  Gardening and cooking are multi-sensory creative activities.  Even just doing little scribbles using different pens and paper can give you a tactile creative experience.

5.      Look around you

Creative inspiration can come for almost anywhere once we open our minds to it.  When you’re out and about, put away your phone and look up and around you instead. You’ll be amazed at the little details you miss when you’re not actively looking for them.

Train your mind to think creatively by being curious every day. Walk a different route home, ask questions, try and create something new out of the objects you find around you. It all helps to stretch your imagination and change your perspective.

A creative mind is a happy one

The main thing to remember is that being creative isn’t about a level of skill or talent, but about being open-minded and allowing yourself to look at life in a new and interesting way.  By building in a little time to do this every day you can take a big step towards nurturing your mental health and living a happier, more fulfilled life.

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1 thought on “Doodle your way to a happier life”

  1. Paul Knight says:

    Interesting angle and an informative piece. Something I will read to the kids….there’s a life outside of iPads!

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