7 Ways I made Art & Music my Therapy
I've only seen a therapist once. I was probably around the age of 10. After my parents got divorced at a young age, they must have assumed I wasn't taking it very well and enrolled me in therapy. I don't remember much of anything at all besides never wanting to go...
I remember being dragged down a stuffy hallway, sat in a chair and forced to talk about emotions that I didn't even feel I had. Being the selfless person I was, I wanted the therapist to feel like she was doing a successful job, she was CURING ME of all of my issues, because that was her job and I didn't feel comfortable not assuring her of that. So I faked my way through therapy is the long story short. I would act like I was doing great and taking the advice of journaling and screaming in my pillow which realistically I wasn’t doing at all.
So yes there were ways that therapy did not help me, but what it did make me realize was that I’m a bottle-upper. I bottle everything up until it disappears and or explodes. Which I realize is pretty unhealthy.
Even though I was 10 at the time, I imagine my reaction to this day, would pretty much be the same. My experience has made me believe that creative minds may handle therapy and mental health differently. While some people of course benefit from talk therapy and going to these sessions, I believe that having a creative outlet can have such a similar and strong effect. Myself being Exhibit A.
Personally, I believe maintaining a healthy mind has to do with distraction. Repetitive, built-up negative thinking is what leads to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Distraction is what gives the mind a rest. Art, music, hobbies, side projects, passion projects... these are healthy distractions.
It’s funny because many times distraction is seen as a negative thing... a kid can’t stop laughing in class, someone in the office won’t stop tapping their pen, but in this case I value distraction.
Distraction from negative thoughts, stress, anxieties and chaos became so important to me. When I'm focused on creating a new piece, my mind goes into another mode. It’s like a "Drift" mode. In Drift mode I'm not thinking about the stress of tomorrow or yesterday. I am completely focused and present.
It’s kind of like when you get lost in a movie or a TV show- you enter a different world. But the difference with creating your own art or music, is that you have the opportunity to get lost in your own abilities and skills, whereas a movie or TV show you’re getting lost in someone else's.
The beauty of getting lost in your own abilities, is that you are becoming more self aware and you are actively showing appreciation, respect, and love for yourself which is a bit more beneficial than getting lost in someone else’s mess.
This is where individuality and self confidence comes in. I truly believe that lack of confidence breaks down your mental health.
Not having goals, breaks down your mental health.
Not using your abilities to their advantage, breaks down your mental health.
Music and art have always come to the rescue in my time of need and I’m thinking they could for you too! So here are 7 ways I found creativity has brought that stability into my life.
7 Ways of Implementing Creative Distraction in your life
1. Everyone that loves music (can’t think of anyone that doesn’t) should learn an instrument. You don’t have to be an aspiring musician or a music teacher to play an instrument! Not only can it improve your mental health, it can teach you skills in patience, empathy, determination and you’ll be that much cooler because you can play an instrument 🤷♀️
2. Everyone that loves art (think of ALL different art forms) should be creating something they can own
3. Set creative projects with goals for yourself
4. When you are at the tipping point of stress is a good time to bring in this creativity. Get your mind in the habit of thinking whenever it’s in overload, there's a creative release for it
5. Ask friends and family for new music recommendations and talk about them
6. Read and write about your projects - share your story to connect and help others
7. Message someone you know or maybe even someone you don't, to talk or respond to something. I am always here to talk, answer DM's and connect with people!
So wherever you are in the process of creating yourself (maybe you need to start some research and brainstorming on what interests you as a first step) remember that you have limitless possibilities as long as you’re staying open minded, aligning your art with your passion, and letting your creativity distract your mind.