Thursday, September 11, 2008
Creativity as Therapy
A few days ago, I found an article which discussed a link between what our hands do and a happy place in our brain. In other words, doing something skillful and useful with our hands sends an 'atta girl' to a part of our brain which, in turn, turns on seratonin, our favorite feel good hormone.
One of the points of the article was that in our modern, push button, touch screen, digital, microwave world, we don't DO enough to trigger this pleasure response. This, they hypothosize, is one of the reasons depression is on the rise in our world. Modern man doesn't take up tools to plow a field or chop wood to heat his home. Modern woman tosses laundry in the machine instead of getting physical feedback from scrubbing each shirt. (I'm happy enough about that, too, by the way.) One of the ways the authors suggested we cope was through crafting and art.
In other words, the act of hands-on creating makes you feel great. Creating something to delight your soul only reinforces the pleasure. The physical act of creating--handling fabric, cropping photos, molding clay, or picking up a paint brush is enough to begin to trigger this pleasure response.
The next time you decide to scrapbook, quilt, garden, needlepoint, cook, make soap, photograph, paint a wall or a canvas, sketch in your journal, or play with words on paper, you are investing in your own well being. Think of the dollars you are saving by not going to a therapist! Go ahead, invest in shiny, new tools, buy more fabric for your stash, stock up on any and all creative supplies. Remember, its for your own good, not to mention the well being of your family. (And more fun than doing laundry on a rock.)