Why mindful creativity? Nancy Fellows of Creatful explains more about the correlation between creative activities and mental wellbeing.

Mental-health issues occur in all parts of our society. The knock-on impact increases social isolation, addiction, self-harm, suicide, criminality, homelessness and more.

The pandemic has put increased pressure on NHS mental-health workforces, meaning the already long waiting lists for support are now even longer. Many people are willing to take responsibility for their own wellbeing but don’t necessarily have the tools to do so.

Only 1 in 8 adults with a mental health problem are currently getting any kind of treatment. 1.6 million people are currently on waiting lists for mental-health support in England. But why are we talking about this on a creative blog?

The most common treatment offered to those with mental-health problems is psychiatric medication. Recently NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommended that mindfulness should be utilised before medication. Mindfulness is just one form of meditation, and is described as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

Mindfulness in its purest form can be difficult for many people to achieve, especially those already challenged with mental-health problems. Intrusive thoughts and external distractions can seem even louder when you try to focus on the present moment, the nothingness of right now.

As a result, mindfulness practices are usually paired with something to focus the mind on, such as an object, a sense, a thought or a feeling.

Creative acts have been proven to help focus the mind, and the impact of getting into a creative flow on the brain has been scientifically compared to meditation.

You know that feeling when you are immersed in a project and you lose time? You are so focused you forget to make that phone call or grab a snack? That is creative flow. When you are in that flow your brain is functioning in an optimal way. Your brain is so focused on the current task, the right now, that nothing else matters.

Humans are complex, we need many things to thrive; shelter, balanced diet, exercise, sunshine, social interaction, financial security. I believe we also need creativity.

Whatever your creative pursuit – whether it be music, crafts, drama, art – know that immersing yourself in it doesn’t only feel good, it’s actually good for you.

Nancy Fellows believes that all of society should have access to creativity outlets.