Creative Mind Over Mental Health Matter
I’ve always drifted toward some form of art in times of need, creative endeavours have been an invaluable aide through many tough times in my life, and my inspiration for art can usually be found outside....
Being creative takes the focus away from daily stresses and for as long as I can recall I have found creative sustenance amongst nature. When i was very young, in times of stress, I would often draw, badly, but that didn’t matter, it was the action of transporting the visual in my chosen landscape into something resembling a tree, flower, insect, focusing attention on something........and then one day I was introduced to photography by my maternal grandfather, he was my greatest childhood influence.
When i was 9 I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a camera of my own, something I considered very grown up and was the greatest gift, at that point in my life, that I had ever received, and it changed my life immeasurably. The creative manifestations of photography have been crucial to survival of the most life altering situations that I have found myself in, be it domestic abuse, a 2 year recovery from a RTA and a fight where my opponent was the big C. I'm convinced that my creative spirit had my back every time.
Moving on 45 years from my first foray into photography and the tech has changed but the therapeutic properties of a day spent photographing, whether it be in a natural or urban landscape, haven't diminished, losing oneself in this creative force for good tempers the mind and is food for the soul, a genuine boost to serotonin levels. Now more than ever I reach for my creative therapy.
In some respects I was well prepared for life in lockdown, that isn't to say my mental health didn't suffer because, like many people, it did. Being creative has been a huge help in navigating this particular journey. Saying that I have been incredibly lucky in that, very early on in the pandemic I found that utilising my creative muscle (and you don't have to be a trained artist) has definitely aided lockdown survival. In a remarkably turbulent year being creative has saved my soul...
Being creative creates a challenge that shifts focus away from the trials of life to something extremely important, self preservation, and fosters conditions for personal evolution and sharing the therapeutic properties of creativeness with other people becomes equally important and often returns the benefits. It's a wonderful thing... it hinges on joy and exploration of self expression which helps to recalibrate the brain to such things occurring naturally, and that can only be a good thing.
During the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns I have made a point, like many others, of sharing my images on social media, swapping my analogue for a phone camera means that the results are instant, today more than ever that is incredibly important, I shoot, edit, share, particularly to Twitter and this platform is where the images have held the greatest influence and they have created friendships with people that I would have likely never met, and brought about creative collaborations with other photographers, artists, writers, and sculptors that have had a profound impact on everyone involved. Art is everything. Being creative is everything.
I also have my digital images transferred to prints. In times of stress when it's not possible to escape into nature, just perusing the photographic memories transports one to your very own utopia....