Make, Bake and Create
by Carolyn Barber
"Why should we all use our creative power...? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful,lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and and accumulation of objects and money"
Have you ever felt completely absorbed in an activity? Commonly people doing physical exercise like jogging or swimming describe that feeling of being 'in the zone', and that's one of the greatest benefits of exercising. There are plenty of other activities you may get that feeling from - gardening, cooking, crafting - something that means you're fully involved, enjoying the process, and gaining a deep sense of satisfaction.
Repetitive creative motions like knitting, drawing, or writing help activate flow, and are all tasks that create a result. And when you succeed at creating a result, no matter what it is, the sense of satisfaction floods your brain with dopamine, that natural anti-depressant.
This idea of being in flow, and the benefits for good mental health and wellbeing, has been studied by psychologist Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi. The effects are similar to meditation with focused concentration on the present moment, absorbing our minds so we have little sense of time and our thoughts are not wandering off into the past or the future. Creativity reduces anxiety, depression, and stress… And it can also help process trauma.
It really is a win-win that creative activities that make us feel good, really are good for us. So grab a pen and start writing, doodling, or colouring. Get messy with pottery, baking or gardening. Listen to some music, or pick up an instrument. Whatever you decide to do, it’s time to start getting creative!
Our Mental Wealth Academy Summer Online programme has experimented with online creative workshops and courses, alongside mindfulness, discussion events and personal development. Journal Writing, Art and Wellbeing and Enlightened Bellydance workshops have actively engaged over 50 participants in the past 6 weeks.
While there is still time for people to register and catch up with these courses, the programme will be finishing at the end of August when the funding ends. We are hopeful that we can continue the Mental Wealth Academy courses, both in real time in the autumn, but also online.
So this is an opportunity to seek your views on what kinds of workshops or courses you'd like to take part in, in the future. We can then pitch these ideas to future funders.
Please click here to complete this very short survey on the future of the Mental Wealth Academy. Be great to get your feedback!
Click here to find out more
We recognise that this has been an incredibly challenging time, coping with sudden and dramatic changes in our lives, intense feelings, anxiety about the future, loss of contact with loved ones, experience of illness and bereavement.
At the Good Mental Health Cooperative, we believe that connecting with others, and informal arts and wellbeing learning activities, are really important ways to take care of our mental health, and build the emotional resilience we need to get though these difficult times.
The programme takes place mainly through July and August, and includes the following: