Episode 10 is about creativity and mental health. On examining the evidence, few scientific studies support the widely held assumption that there’s a link between creativity and mental health. While the research says that exercise helps mild to moderate depression, there is no clear evidence that creativity is linked to mood disorder.
Despite this, many activities for the prevention or treatment of mental health conditions focus on creative activities, such as writing. The opportunity to connect with others is what’s important, but what does this mean for writers who spend large amounts of time in their own heads? They often work alone, where there’s a risk that ruminating might get out of control.
Most people suffer from mental health problems at some stage in their lives. In many ways this seems as obvious as pointing out that most people will suffer from an illness at some point in their lives. Life is generally tough and regularly hits us with issues such as grief and loss whether that’s a person or the loss of a job or relationship. No matter how strong you are, there is a chance that something will get you right where it hurts at some stage.
Mental health, like physical health, is on a continuum and dependant on what stress versus resilience an individual had as to where they are on the scale at anyone time.
MIND and Young Minds encourage group creativity; building a network of support and getting in the habit of challenging negative thoughts and ideas.
These are UK based resources, but if anyone wants to add anything local to them that could help others, feel free.
MIND – see the website to find the Wellbeing Being Journal. Journaling helps me when I struggle to find the words when I’m too angry, despairing or confused to know what I think. It gives me a voice.
Your Brain on Fiction published in The New York Times 2012, reported on research that demonstrated that the brain can learn from stories in the same way as if we experienced it.
There are the Headspace and Calm apps that support the practice of mindfulness.
Happy Place; Calm Journal; Happy Journal by Fearne Cotton