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The Connection Between Mental Health And Creativity


Some of the most talented, creative, and innovative people throughout history struggled with mental health problems. From Vincent Van Gough and Edvard Munch to Kurt Cobain and Kate Spade, creatives endured a psychological battle with mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Although their works remain some of the most prolific to their audiences, it leaves many wondering whether poor mental health fosters or harms creativity.


Understanding Mental Health

Before breaking down the connection between mental health and creativity, let’s start with the basics. Mental health encompasses a person’s psychological, emotional, social, and behavioral well-being. It affects how you think, socialize, act, and respond to people, places, and things. Your emotional state impacts your perspectives, experiences, and views of yourself and others. It’s an essential part of how you navigate everyday life.

Creativity Defined

Creativity isn’t exclusive to art, music, or fashion. It is best described as the ability to tap into your deepest thoughts, experiences, and imaginations to develop innovative and original ideas. When you understand this definition, you comprehend how it can apply to any profession or area of life.

Poor Mental Health And Creativity

When your mental health is compromised, it can negatively affect your creativity. Emotional issues can result in a lack of concentration, mood swings, brain fogs, and mental blocks. It can alter your perspectives about life, lower your self-esteem, slow productivity, and even cause you to give up on your craft. Some creatives later discover that they suffer from depression, rejection-sensitive dysphoria, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Of course, these outcomes aren’t ideal for creatives. You can’t think straight; you start doubting your ideas, become hyper-focused on pleasing others, and lose the motivation to keep developing innovative ideas. Some creatives turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, including drugs and alcohol. Although it may temporarily boost dopamine, it quickly fades, leading to higher tolerance levels, dependency, addiction, and in severe cases, death.

The Therapeutic Advantages of Creativity

As you can see above, poor mental health doesn’t foster creativity. On the contrary, it’s a hindrance. However, creativity does have therapeutic benefits that can improve your mental health.

Expressing your emotions, reliving traumatic experiences, and trying to unearth the core cause of your mental health struggles isn’t easy. Since these are necessary steps to easing your symptoms or treating your condition, you must find a healthy way to get through the process. Mental health experts encourage creativity as a practical solution.

Drawing, painting, sculpting, singing, writing poetry, posting a blog, building a website, or engaging in other creative activities, can provide a much-needed release. It enables you to express your innermost thoughts, concerns, and fears.

Allowing yourself to tap into your creativity can also provide a mental escape when you’re feeling overwhelmed. As a result, you feel better and sometimes creative magnificent bodies of work that boost your self-esteem, spark your confidence, and reignite your inspiration.

Maintain Your Mental Health

Although it’s common to assume that poor mental health or mental illness can lead to some of the most innovative creations, it’s not true. When your emotional well-being isn’t a priority, it impacts your ability to perform. Being creative comes with many mental pressures, so taking care of yourself is essential.

Setting boundaries, taking breaks when necessary, surrounding yourself with positive people, finding ways to make creating new things fun, and engaging in activities outside your profession or craft are practical ways to maintain your mental health.

Finally, if you believe you have a mental illness, get help. You can research to learn more about warning signs and symptoms, take an online anxiety, stress, or depression quiz, talk with a therapist, join a support group, or enter rehab.

Mental illness and emotional problems can prompt a person to create some of their best work. However, struggling with mental health issues isn’t enjoyable, nor is it something you should welcome with the hopes of having positive outcomes. If you believe your mental health is declining, do what you can to make improvements and seek professional help if necessary so you can avoid living life in physical and emotional turmoil.