Liven Your Space - A Resource for Healing from Mental Illness
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Creativity and Mental Well-Being

Stress is a common ailment in modern society. It is an underlying factor and cause of many diseases (dis-eases), physical and mental.  According to AARP, "We are just beginning to understand the ways that stress influences a wide range of diseases of aging, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and certain types of disability, even early death," says Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who has been at the forefront of stress research for 30 years. Stress is a cause of heart disease, of which Betsy and I have symptoms. Heart disease, diabetes and cancer, the three biggest killers of Americans, are linked to stress. 
To relieve stress, Betsy's doctor recommended that she take art (painting and drawing) classes. Betsy expressed herself through her artwork, which she did for 40 years. Betsy and I engage in writing and music, other expressive outlets. 
The creative process and the studio at the college that Betsy attended afforded her the ability to socialize as well with people from all walks of life. What she realized is that all people who engage in creative outlets, are doing so to express their feelings and thoughts, through the creative process.  Our innermost thoughts and feelings find an outlet in creative arts, which also, on occasion, bring pleasure to others. So it becomes a "win-win" for all.
Even if you don't think you are creative, there are many ways of expressing yourself. Even daily tasks, like engaging in conversation including web blogging, meditation, dream journals, journal writing, dancing, gardening, interior decorating, woodwork, machine tinkering, computer graphic arts, fashion design, cooking and even expressing yourself through style, which Dr. Leabensohn, says goes back to cave man and woman days.  He believed that people judged others based on their personal appearance.  All of these are ways to express yourself without having to take a class or be formally trained.
So even if you don't believe you are a creative person, expressing your innermost thoughts and feelings through everyday tasks can relieve stress. 
Many of us who are working feel like that we don't have the time to do this. We are only talking about 5 or 10 minutes a day, which may mean giving up excessive, mindless TV watching.
Exercise and body movement is also another creative outlet that relieves stress. Your mind and your body are connected so if one is well, the other has a better chance of staying well.  Body movement can be as easy as stair climbing or walking the dog or chasing the kitten around the house.
Several celebrities are taking the stigma out of mental illness and promoting understanding in general.  For example, Glen Close has a sister with bipolar disease, as did Carrie Fisher.  Glen Close has started an organization Bring Change 2 Mind which encourages the dialogue about mental illness among young people to erase the stigma, prejudice and isolation that is common. Here's a link to her organization website:

Betsy's brother relieves stress by traveling and he's going to Katmandu (and if we ever get out of here, we're going there too):

28 Comments to Creativity and Mental Well-Being:

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Stress is really a silent killer, it drains our energy that can lead to illness. It's sad to know that many people suffer from too much stress, I know not all people overcome stress. Most of the cause of stress is school works and work loads. People having a hard time to finish their work on time because they don't know what to do first. They are pressured by deadlines, that's why the brain is overused and stressed. Thank you for sharing a bright way to fight stress, by simply teaching them how to paint so that their brain will be relaxed and they have a chance to show their creativity.

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I try to attend the classes on all subject so I did not miss any of the class. I hope I pass this exam with good marks this year.
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