Creative Self Expression

Using Creativity to Express Yourself!

Creative Self Expression

A common part of the human experience is having thoughts and feelings one doubts others are having. Living in a human mind can be an overwhelming, confusing, and isolating experience. Especially in adolescence. Sometimes when unable to handle all the thoughts rushing through someone’s brain they turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as using illicit substances, acting out, and taking exc. 

Often when people think of self expression they think of writing in a journal or talking to a therapist or loved one. And these coping mechanisms are fantastic and great ways to express yourself. Today though, I will be talking about how art, in many forms, has been the most productive and life changing way for me to express myself on a daily basis at ease. 

Creative arts may be more accessible to most individuals as well because it can be really hard to find the right words that express how one feels in a time of distress. Tying into my other article the mere acknowledgement of negative emotions can greatly reduce one’s stress. Naming or expressing your feelings is much more productive than pretending they don’t exist. For example, “ A UCLA neuroscientist, Alex Korb, has even conducted experiments that show how the brain can benefit when we express ourselves.  In an fMRI study, participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Then, their amygdala—the part of the brain that plays a primary role in our emotional reactions—activated to the emotions in the picture. Yet, when a participant named the emotion, it reduced the amygdala’s reactivity and lessened the impact of the emotion. The study even found that when we try to suppress our negative emotions, our inward stress and anxiety can get more intense”  so clearly it’s not healthy to deny our emotions and it’s not healthy to wallow in them either (source; https://anb.today/self-expression-and-creativity-managing-feelings/). So how do we express them helpfully with creativity?

 

Here is a fun list of creative idea that can help you express yourself

 

Coloring books;

This is definitely one of my least favorite methods, however it has done wonders for many many people and recently gained a lot of popularity amongst adults. This is a hands on activity that is not directly addressing any negative feelings but rather, almost like a meditation, puts space between someone’s negative emotions and their headspace. By focusing on coloring, people are able to get out of their heads in a healthy way and look at situations from a more rational calm standpoint.

There’s something about absolutely screaming lyrics that resonate that gets things completely off your chest. It’s like getting out a good scream but with extra meaning.”

Clothing and Makeup

My favorite way to express myself is through my clothing and makeup. When I get ready in the morning I have complete freedom to choose how I present myself to the world that day. Sometimes I cut up a bunch of shirts and tights and end up in all black, while other days I end up wearing exclusively neon colors. Whatever I’m feeling when I wake up I express through my clothing. And some days I use my face as a canvas, making cool designs and playing with colors in the same way I would when I draw. It’s like customizing your own character but every morning. Not only does this make you feel good about yourself but it’s a great emotional outlet to start your day.

 

Painting;

Again one of my favorites, painting is SOOOOOOO therapeutic. I’m extremely blessed and able to paint all over the walls in my room. The way I paint is with total disregard to the final product. I’m not painting for it to look good, I’m painting so that I FEEL good. Again, If I’m painting specifically to express myself, similarly to how I get dressed, I use colors and ideas that feel like they reflect how I’m feeling. Also a fun idea is to paint in a way that reflects how you want to feel after expressing how you feel in the moment. This can be a good way to shift your line of thinking away from your negative emotions and hopefully reframe them without invalidating them.

 

Singing/ Making Music;

Singing songs that deeply resonate with me and how I’m feeling has been life saving for me. I know that sounds dramatic but it’s true, and I know so many people at Magnet can relate. There’s something about absolutely screaming lyrics that resonate that gets things completely off your chest. It’s like getting out a good scream but with extra meaning. And if you’re not into singing I would really suggest picking up an instrument or a free online music program where you can start making beats. Making music takes so much thought and time, it makes it really hard to stress about other things when you’re absorbed in a project. 

 

Here’s a few extra ideas;

Drawing

Making paper

Journaling

Writing lyrics/poetry

Making something useful for yourself (like DIY proj)

Making jewelry

Dying your hair

 

Now the most important thing about using creativity to aid your mental health is being sure it’s not damaging your mental health. Often people become obsessed with their artistic endeavors being perfect or even just good the first few times they try. But the truth is your art never has to be “good” to be art. Its purpose is to help you grow and feel good. The aesthetics will follow but are definitely not the priority. I hope this helps somebody get more creative and feel better 🙂