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How Being Creative Can Improve Your Mental Health

Creativity is the process of using your imagination in order to make something. Creative acts such as writing in a journal, drawing, or playing an instrument can have positive impacts on your mental health. Creativity produces calming effects on your brain and body, thereby reducing any stress and tension you might have.

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Creative Activities

Many people who engage in creative acts for fun notice the positive effects these activities can have on their moods. If you need the inspiration to get started, then read these ideas of simple ways to spark your creativity. 

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1. Journaling

Journaling is a good way to let out your thoughts or feelings if you don’t want to share them with someone else. You can make journaling a habit by keeping a daily journal, and setting a goal for yourself to write in it every morning or night. However, you will also feel the benefits of journaling by just writing whenever you are in the mood to. Writing about events or people in your life may help you work through frustrations you have, or just help you reflect on the things in your life you feel grateful for. 

2. Creative writing 

Creative writing is different from journaling because it is more focused on thinking outside the box rather than writing directly about your own life. If you need inspiration, you can use writing prompts such as “Write about two people seeing each other for the first time,” or “Write about someone you admire and you think has a beautiful mind.” If you’d rather not use prompts from other people, come up with your own!

3. Drawing or painting 

Drawing or painting can be very therapeutic for your mind. It allows you to focus on something other than your daily problems, and also acts as a stress-reliever. If you find this type of artwork intimidating, begin small by drawing something in your home. Artwork does not need to be a masterpiece for it to greatly benefit your mood and stress levels!

4. Singing or playing an instrument

If you are a lover of music, learning to sing or play an instrument may be good hobbies for you to pick up! Playing music has been shown to reduce stress, build confidence, and develop your creativity. You can start with an easy instrument or see which instruments you might have access to, and develop your love of music from there!

© JanKahanek/ (JanKahanek/

“Fun, Fierce, and Fantastical African Art”

Wanuri Kahiu is a writer and filmmaker from Nairobi who wants to create and curate art that celebrates fun, fierce and frivolous Africa. She says that the majority of narratives that come out of Africa focus on war, poverty, and devastation. She instead hopes to introduce more African art that is vibrant and lighthearted, and that captures the full range of human experiences that exist in Africa. 

« “Because imagine if we have images of Africans who were vibrant and loving and thriving and living a beautiful, vibrant life. What would we think of ourselves then? Would we think that maybe we're worthy of more happiness? Would we think of our shared humanity through our shared joy? I think of these things when I create. I think of the people and the places that give me immeasurable joy, and I work to represent them. And that's why I write stories about futuristic girls that risk everything to save plants or to race camels or even just to dance, to honor fun, because my world is mostly happy.” »

Watch Wanuri’s short films or listen to her full TED Talk and get inspired to create yourself. 

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