Creative Communities and their Impact
Taking part in creative projects and being connected to a community can strengthen mental health. Pair creativity and community together and the wealth of mental health benefits can multiply. Being part of a creative or pop culture community can offer an inspirational outlet for creative pursuits as well as opportunities for healthy social engagement.
Please note that if you or a loved one has a mental health concern, compassionate help from professional licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists, is available and accessible.
Ways that Creativity Helps Mental Health
- Creativity can help you get into a flow state—a state in which you are fully absorbed in something that quiets the mind. A flow state can give you a break from worries and negative thoughts and help you achieve a meditative mindset.
- Repetitive creative motions can be soothing.
- Calming effects of creativity can increase dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps us feel pleasure.
- You don’t have to be an expert to reap the benefits of creativity. Just the process can be enjoyable. Expressing yourself can be an excellent outlet—the outcome does not need to be perfect.
- Reading, watching, or listening to others’ creative works can boost mental health. Music, film, TV, reading, and art can be engaging, stimulating, and calming.
- There can be long-term and short term effects of creativity. For instance, expressive writing about difficulties can be uncomfortable in the short term, but the long-term effects have been shown to be positive.
- Engaging in creativity can enhance feelings of self-confidence.
- Creative outlets can be a good source of non-verbal expression.
- Participating in enjoyable, creative activities can decrease stress and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Simply put, creative activities can be fun—and that’s a sure mood booster.
Ways that Being Part of a Creative Community Boosts Mental Wellness
- Shared interests can serve as a solid foundation for building meaningful social connections.
- A sense of belonging can be a protective factor for mental health.
- Communicating with others about shared interests and sharing creative ideas can give a sense of meaning, motivation, and enjoyment.
- Feeling supported and understood can help boost your outlook and mindset.
- Being part of a community can offer you opportunities to share your opinions and expertise. Helping others can offer us a sense of purpose.
- Community can offer constructive feedback.
- Sharing accomplishments and interesting, creative pursuits—both yours and others—can be a meaningful, enjoyable experience.
- Being part of a creative community can help us form a positive identity.
Benefits of Virtual Communities
In-person communities and virtual communities can both boost mental wellness. While online communities are not a substitute for real life relationships and connections, they can offer an array of benefits. Supportive, positive virtual communities:
- Can offer a forum for discussing topics of shared interest.
- Can serve as a platform for publishing and sharing creative works, like art, music, writing, films, podcasts, comic books, and more.
- Can offer a supportive place for constructive and positive feedback on creative works.
- Can allow people from all over the world the opportunity to connect and participate in creative pursuits.
- Can offer needed connections and feelings of belonging.
- Can be inclusive and offer opportunities for respectfully sharing input and creations from those with diverse backgrounds.
- May release people from rigid roles that they feel in person and allow them opportunities to pursue interests that might not otherwise be possible.
- May offer interactive creative content to promote deep engagement in creativity.
Mental health can be boosted with mindful involvement in positive creative communities. Creative communities can benefit well-being by offering a forum for sharing creativity, exchanging information, building social support, and, quite simply, providing opportunities for fun and enjoyment.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.