Five Ways That Creativity Restores Mental Health
Faceted glass window in a funeral home in Maryland.

Five Ways That Creativity Restores Mental Health

     In addition to counseling, I am blessed to have a job that allows me to be extremely creative. I design stained glass windows, mainly for churches. Although it is challenging, I enjoy the process (or at least the end result) of designing a large stained glass window.

“I admit that sometimes I catch myself just staring at a window where the colors harmonize really well. It soothes and delights me.”

     I love the colors. I admit that sometimes I catch myself just staring at a window where the colors harmonize really well. It soothes and delights me. Here are a few of the reasons that I believe that I enjoy being creative:

1. Stimulates the Whole Brain – Recent studies show that creative process uses many regions of the brain including the left and right sides. Three specific regions used are the Executive Attention Network, the Imagination Network, and the Salience Network. The executive attention network allows you to focus on a subject with laser beam precision using the outer regions of the prefrontal cortex and the posterior region of the parietal lobe.

  According to Randy Buckner and colleagues, the imagination network is involved in “constructing dynamic mental simulations based on personal past experiences such as used during remembering, thinking about the future, and generally when imagining alternative perspectives and scenarios to the present.” It utilizes deep areas inside the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe along with specific regions in the parietal cortex.

     The salient network monitors external events and the internal stream of consciousness. It determines which information is most helpful to the task at hand. This network involves dorsal anterior cingulate cortices [dACC] and anterior insular [AI].

2. Releases emotions – Creativity allows you to release emotions whether it is through writing, singing, building a piece of furniture, cooking, painting a picture, or telling a story. Creativity is a way of organizing your emotions and expressing them. It allows you to process what is going on at a deeper subconscious level.

3. Produces energy – Although it takes a great deal of energy to be creative, once you have finished or during the production, your passion is stirred. You feel a surge of delight and satisfaction as well as a need to create more. You have many other ideas that stem from that initial creative thought.

4. Initiates more opportunities – As a result of the new creation, more opportunities become available. Someone enjoys your new song, and asks you to sing it at their wedding. Someone likes the way you explained or articulated your review of a movie, and they offer you a job.

5. Allows for more connections – By having your creative thoughts put into some form (art, music, dance, writing, construction, etc.), you are able to connect more with others. If you have an affinity for history, then your creative reconstruction of a Victorian home may cause others to seek you out to discuss their love of antiques.

Published by Vincent Ketchie | Marriage Counselor

Vincent Ketchie, LPC is a marriage counselor, but also counsels men and teenagers. He is married to Laura. They have a son and two dogs. His favorite verse is "I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives within me..." Galatians 2:20

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