Creative therapy

I’ve noticed recently that, when I’m stressed and/or depressed, I seek solace in creative outlets. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, and I’m a firm believer that creative activities can be very therapeutic.

Writing, of course, is my main creative outlet but when I’m down, my writing doesn’t flow. It feels as if ideas are falling over themselves in their rush to reach the paper, and I find it difficult to manage any structure or continuity. Interestingly, these aimless jottings occasionally lead to something more cohesive, or they may inspire a ‘missing’ scene or piece of dialogue in whatever I’m working on at the time.

Drawing was a childhood pastime that I honed in my teens and twenties. I used to draw a lot, but I fell out of the habit in my thirties and have lost confidence in any skill I may have had. I tell myself that skill is less important than the cathartic and distracting practice of simply drawing, but these days my inner voice is very persuasive in preventing me from seeking out my pencil and paper.

I love to take photos. I have three cameras – two are digital, the other takes 35mm film – and I also have a fairly decent camera on my phone. Photography used to be a semi-serious hobby: I had a tripod, and for a while I briefly experimented with black and white film, filters, and different lenses. Nowadays most of my photos are taken with my phone, for convenience (because it’s always with me), but I often yearn for a day out with my camera. There is something wonderfully calming about strolling around in search of an interesting image, whether it’s in the countryside, at the seashore, or in the middle of town.

This afternoon, I spent half an hour on the beach with my phone, taking shots of the sand, sea and promenade. It worked wonders for my frame of mind, and I returned home feeling calm and relaxed.

These are just a few of the photos that I took today:

I love the sea, and a walk along the beach will always relax and rejuvenate me and it often inspires me, too. Taking photos at the same time is the perfect form of creative therapy for me.

What’s yours?

 

 

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About johannanield

Welsh author of a contemporary British romance trilogy
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8 Responses to Creative therapy

  1. edyta1979 says:

    I have really enjoyed reading your article. I am a MA Design student in photography, but I am designing a photography and craft based new art therapy tool. Please let me know if you could contribute with my survey.
    grafikus.till@gmail.com
    Thx Edyta

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  2. Kate says:

    I admit, lately, I’ve been going back to origami. Mostly, I like doing something that turns off my head for a time, it quiets it, and lets me focus on something different for a little bit. Writing, I must admit, never feels like therapy to me, because it’s harder for me to get into that zone where the focus is the writing part of it. Mostly, I *think* too much about writing for it to be therapy, I think. (HA, that *thinking* thing.) Don’t know if that makes sense.

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    • johannanield says:

      It makes a lot of sense, insomuch as I agree that any pastime that requires too much thought or effort would not feel particularly therapeutic to me. The whole idea is to have something that turns off your head and quietens your thoughts. I’ve never tried origami, so I’d probably find it hard to get into the zone when trying to do that. Origami is a gorgeous skill to have; did you find it easy to learn?

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      • Kate says:

        Well, like anything, it takes some practice. I’m still not an expert, but, solidly in the intermediate ranks. There are some basic forms, and some very easy beginner-type models, and then things get increasingly challenging. One thing to know is that while there are some standards to terms, the instruction pictures are very different from book to book, so you have to learn to fill in the gaps, or spend time understanding the author’s style to navigate. the more intricate the model, the more attempts it takes to get one model looking remotely like it ought.

        Many things I can now fold from memory, but, that is rather like knitting or other things you can do without paying much attention, it becomes rote, so, not much on the “therapy” side. That’s where trying to find new models to learn comes in, because those require focus, and will take your full attention.

        i have made some origami jewelry, and some Christmas ornaments, and I make little models for my coworker’s (about 200/year) and friend’s birthdays.

        Perhaps its time to start exporting to Wales… 🙂

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        • johannanield says:

          It sounds as complicated as it looks! I imagine, though, that once you know what you’re doing then it’s probably a very relaxing past-time. Plus you have the added bonus of creating something intricately lovely to look at! I didn’t realise you could make jewellery that way; what a great idea! You must be very popular with your friends and co-workers 🙂

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  3. emmahevezi says:

    i definitely know what you mean about creative therapy. i write when i feel sad or depressed but i also take photos there is something particularly special about walking around with a camera 🙂 when you get home and examine what you have taken there is something slightly magical about the whole process.
    thankyou for sharing your ideal creative outlet.
    mine would have to be either bracelet making or writing. it is the way that i can let all of my feelings out and share them with those around me 🙂
    thankyou for sharing keep smiling

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    • johannanield says:

      You’re right: there’s something magical about the whole process, and that’s probably what’s so uplifting about it.
      I’d like to try bracelet making, one day. A few friends are gifted with that skill, and they’ve created some beauties.
      I like the idea of using creative outlets to turn negative feelings into something positive, especially when you can share the result with others 🙂
      Thank you for sharing, too 🙂

      Like

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