The Tie Between Mental Health and Creativity


Abbie Kraus, Staff Writer

As humans with emotions that we tend to bottle up, it is really important for us to slowly pour out our bottle of emotions onto something in a healthy manner that just eases us up a bit. For some, this is crying, exercise, ranting to a friend, the list is infinite for what people choose to do to let pent-up emotions out. 


Coming from someone who lives with severe mental illness, having this outlet is necessary. And for me despite the little factual ties between mental illness enhancing creativity, I truthfully find the utmost level of comfort possible when I express myself through art. As per Oxford Dictionary, the definition of art is the use of one’s imagination to express feelings and emotions. photo eye shadow palette lot


Note how the definition of art does not necessarily include specific examples of every art form out there. For some, art is making music; using instruments and lyricism to express the deepest part of the individual’s personal experiences and the feelings that come from these experiences. Art can even be just putting pen to paper and writing out words that may not even be what is considered journaling. Heck, even I am making art right now just by writing this article; expressing how I feel on a topic that I have a lot of repressed passion for! Any activity that uses your brain and is a way to physically express what is inside one’s self is an art form. 

blue green and red abstract painting

Though there is no sort of definitive tie between the mentally ill having increased levels of creativity, being creative and tapping into that part of your brain has some seriously significant effects on the psyche. Being creative can decrease feelings of stress, anxiety, and even help trauma survivors cope with and express complex feelings that are unable to be properly communicated. As stated by Heather L. Stuckey and Jeremy Nobel in this article on healing and art, “Art helps people express experiences that are too difficult to put into words, such as a diagnosis of cancer.” There is also a tie between patients diagnosed with dementia, and using their still creative brain to further strengthen recognition, memory, and find ways to communicate through expression and usage of these cognitive abilities. Pretty great stuff that creativity can bring us!


You don’t need to be going through something traumatic to struggle with maintaining your mental health. It is very normal to go through rough periods even if you feel there is no “reason” to be feeling a certain way. The frustration of not knowing what is causing your emotions can be a major stressor in itself, further perpetuating what may already be bogging you down. It is always okay to struggle. As we find ways to properly outlet these struggles and find ways to self-soothe, things tend to feel just that much easier. And hey, there is usually some pretty cool result or product we get through it, such as a nice painting, a cool song, or just the satisfaction of knowing you created something and put your feelings into the world is a really beautiful thing. So, for the better of yourself and the fun of it, go out there and make something cool!