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8 Creative Activities That are
Good for Your Mental Health

By Jane Hurst

When you are under a lot of stress or pressure at home or at work your mental health suffers. You might not be able to have a good night’s sleep or you may be depressed. This kind of stress can take years off of your life. Rather than suffer, here are eight creative activities that are good for your mental health and will help you feel better in no time.

1. Knitting

While some might think knitting is repetitive it is not. You need to know what type of stitch to use and how to maneuver the needles. Once you have that figured out you can start knitting scarves, sweaters, and many more items. Knitting can be very therapeutic and you end up with something you can wear or give away. Some people have formed knitting circles that meet once a week or once a month. You can get together with people who have a shared interest. Getting outside and meeting new people can also help lift depression. Once you have gotten good at knitting you can make presents for your family and friends. This will save you money during the holiday. And we all know that giving a homemade present makes the receiver and giver happy.

2. Musical instruments

Playing a musical instrument can calm you down. You can get into a groove where it is just you and the instrument and everything else melts away. Also, playing piano has been linked to better math and reasoning skills. You are not only destressing your brain you are also teaching yourself something. So start playing the piano, violin, guitar, drums, or any other musical instrument. You can usually take classes through your local college’s Community Education department or find a local music store. They usually have lessons there as well.

3. Cooking

Not only will you relieve stress you will be eating better too. Sometimes when we are stressed we eat more junk food or go out to eat more for the convenience. These small conveniences will actually cause more stress as you gain weight and become less active. Finding a new recipe or creating one from a couple of different recipes is healthier and fun. Cooking at home lets you know what you put into the food. You can be healthy or have some fun. Cooking is a creative outlet for a stressful day.

4. Painting

You can create works of art that are expressive and beautiful. Or you can paint your problems and let them go. Painting can be very therapeutic and help with depression. You can paint a picture of yourself from the past, from today, and from the future. This will help you figure out where you want to be and how to get there. It will also show how you have grown. You can remember when you were the happiest and try to figure out why you were so happy. Maybe you got outside more. Maybe you went out with friends. Whatever made you happy, try and fit that into your life again. You will be painting yourself out of your depression.

5. Salsa lessons

Dancing is one of the best stress releases. You can exercise your worry away in a fun environment. Salsa dance lessons at a local dance studio will help you meet new people and have a great time. Making new friends and getting out for an evening can have an adverse effect on depression. Also, you might end up taking other dance lessons with your new friends. Just find a local studio and ask about classes. Most studios have night classes for people who work during the day, or classes on weekends. Your stress will go away as you glide across the floor.

6. Collage

You can make a collage with photos or inspirational quotes, bit of cloth from something that makes you happy. You can put anything into your collage. This is a creative outlet for stressful emotions. Your collage can be bright or dark. Whatever you want to create you can. This is your time to explore your feeling and let go of some harmful emotions.

7. Writing

Creative writing can be a great way to let go of something from your past or relieve stress. You can write in a journal or diary or start an online blog. Writing about something helps put it into perspective and can make it seem less scary or stressful. Sharing your writing with others in a writing group can be therapeutic and helpful in your growth and development.

8. Reuse and recycle

You can create art out of things you love. Something that is old but has meaning to you can be remade into a work of art. Instead of throwing out your old t-shirts you can create a quilt that will bring back memories every time you use it. This is not limited to fabrics. You can create something from an old bed or crib. There is no limit to your creativity.

Jane Hurst is a writer, editor and avid traveler from San Francisco. Contact her at

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