Creativity for Wellbeing: Real Stories

It’s well known that being a little creative is fantastic for mindfulness and can boost your wellbeing significantly, yet all too often we hear of people who are quick to say that they are not creative. Could it be that they are yet to texplore their own creativity? You don’t have to be an amazing artist, super seamstress or even have any creative talent just to dabble and express your creativity!

Some months ago one of our Moodmasters attendees shared their personal experience of creativity for mindfulness;

"So often we hear people say they don’t know how to switch off, well that’s what a bit of creative thinking/playing/dabbling does for me! I engage my mind in something crafty or creative and off I go into my own little chilled world for a bit. It gives me the chance to escape the negative thoughts that consumed my mind and enables me to put my energy into something positive.

As the old saying goes; ‘Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!’ and yes I do hear - 'I tried it, I was rubbish at it!' So what if you’re rubbish at it? Just have a go and make it about enjoying experience and the process, not about having a masterpiece at the end!

One of my favourite creative projects has been getting involved in the 'Kindness Rocks' project. The idea being that you paint or decorate stones/rocks with the aim of brightening someone's day. You can design them in any way you want, finish them with a coat of varnish and then you are invited to leave them somewhere for others to find which will hopefully bring a smile and joy to their day. There are groups across the world sharing their stories of their own rocks and stones creations on social media. It brings so much joy and satisfaction knowing someone has spotted one of your rocks!"

Earlier this week we were reminded of this experience by a heartfelt social media story, of 71-year-old Chris who has discovered his own little creative passion through a very similar experience. 

Chris' Daughter, Rebecca shared their story on a rock painting Facebook group called 'Love on the rocks UK (Hiding Rocks ~ Making Smiles)':

"I have been a member of this group for a while now. I don't post often but follow avidly and follow most rock clubs. I have been painting and hiding stones for a few years in my area although I haven't had much time recently. But this story is about my 70 year old Dad. Has always loved my stones and would proudly show them to his friends and his garden was covered in them.

One day I bought him a set of the paint pens I use when decorating the rocks - 'Have a go!', I said. He declined and explained that he didn't have an artistic bone in his body. True! But in reality - he had never tried!

So there he was, a 70 year old man, post prostate cancer, totally isolating in his little bungalow - getting a bit depressed, sad and bored. Then, he started. A rock appeared. It was basic but amazing. AND HE LOVED IT!

Fast forward 7 months and he has paint, pens, varnish, buys stones, cobs, slates and he paints and paints and paints. He is happy, excited and SO proud. All his friends have rocks, all the neighbours in his complex have them. I have loads!

Rock painting has, without exaggerating, changed his life. I don't know how he would have coped and would still cope during lockdown without this fantastic new hobby."

These two experiences are such wonderful examples of how a simple creative hobby can have such a positive impact on someone's health and wellbeing. Being creative doesn't have to mean 'perfection' and it doesn't have to mean using paints and art materials. Sometimes it can just be about putting pen to paper, using your imagination, or simply just creatively observing the world around you.

We invite you to take a few minutes from your day to think 'creatively' about how you could be passionate about something for your wellbeing. You might even like to speak to your local Social Prescriber about how your interests might work to boost your mindfulness and creativity. We don't need to put limits on ourselves, we simply need to take time to explore our options.

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Photos: Chris and daughter Rebecca, plus some of Chris' creations