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How creativity can help the mind

October is Mental Health Awareness Month and at DAIS we are looking internally to promote mental health within our team and externally, by sharing how creativity can help everyone’s mental health. Our mental health impacts us every day, our relationships, our work and our lives and it’s so important we prioritise it.

As a creative agency, we work with creativity every day and are passionate about the creative work we do. But we also need to find time in our day and week to do creative activities that are not based on a brief or have a deadline.

How are creativity and mental health connected?

Extensive research has been done to discover how creativity benefits mental health, and shows that it can increase positive emotions, reduce stress and decrease anxiety. As kids, we were constantly exercising our creativity, using our hands to create objects with Play Doh!, constructing buildings with Lego and imagining scenarios and characters with all kinds of toys. It becomes more difficult to find time for creativity as an adult, but it’s so important for our mental health.

When we’re creating something, we tend to get lost in it, as we are so focused on the task or activity and begin the state of creative flow.


What is creative flow?

According to the Flow Genome Project, creative flow is when you are completely absorbed in an activity, when you get so focused on the task that everything else disappears and all performance, both mental and physical, improves. Our brainwaves slow down, and original thoughts are better able to form. We are less critical of our ideas and more courageous, and our brain releases the chemicals that make us feel good – endorphins, serotonin and dopamine.


How does creativity benefit mental health?

When we focus on something that is challenging and enjoyable, we make new neural pathways, increasing connectivity in the brain. With the release of the chemicals that make us feel good, we also have an enhanced sense of well-being and motivation.

Creativity and being in creative flow helps you find peace and calm by blocking out external stimuli, creating a similar experience to meditation, mindfulness and yoga.


How to get creative

Think back to when you were a kid, perhaps there was a creative activity you enjoyed the most, or maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t got around to – you could start there. But there is an endless list of ways to get creative, so here are a few to get you started:

Start with one that appeals to you, carve out time in your day or week and get creative and benefit your mental health.

At DAIS, we have implemented two games in the studio to play both individually and together – a mini arcade game and a full studio game of Risk. It’s been a great way to add a different kind of creativity into our work life and a fun addition to our work culture. As well as encouraging some ‘friendly’ competition between team members. Discover more about our team, here.

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